North Carolina Pre-K Shows Benefits All the Way Through Age 14

Two years ago a team of researchers at Duke University published a study of North Carolina’s “More at Four” pre-K program, a state-funded program for “high-risk 4-year-old children, with risk defined as annual family income at or below 75 percent of the state median, limited English proficiency, disability, chronic illness, or developmental need.” Here are the results:

The authors concluded that all the way up to grade 5, children continued to show benefits from the program (which has since been renamed “NC Pre-K”). Today, the lead researcher, Kenneth Dodge, reports that the benefits continue at least through middle school:

Our new analyses, about to be released as a working paper, show that the positive impacts of NC Pre-K … continue through grades 6, 7, and 8. There is no fadeout. In fact, the impact grows. By eighth grade, for children in counties with average funding, NC Pre-K has reduced the likelihood of placements into special education by over one third. We find positive impacts for every group of children we studied, including economically disadvantaged as well as advantaged children; African American, Hispanic, and white non-Hispanic children; and children whose mothers are well-educated as well as those whose mothers are less well-educated.

The findings are clear: The more funding that North Carolina invests for NC Pre-K, the better children will fare as they get older. The benefits from that investment will not fade out but will grow over the lives of these children.

A second program, “Smart Start,” which is targeted at providing services to children ages 0-4, also showed benefits, but they were much smaller. If these results hold up, it means that pre-K programs have yet another good program to model themselves after.

The real hurdle, of course, is high school, which is where the benefits of programs like this typically fade out. In another three or four years, we’ll have data on that too.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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