“PreK” has recently become one of education’s biggest buzzwords. So much so that when President Obama took the stage to give his sixth State of the Union address, PreK got top billing—and politicians on both sides of the aisle applauded.

And no wonder. The Abbott Preschool Longi­tudinal Effects Study—a seven-year study of New Jersey’s universal PreK program—links preschool with positive gains in literacy, math skills, and more. And a long-term study by Harvard University’s David Deming indicates Head Start graduates are more likely to finish high school than siblings not in the program.

Bolstered by data like this, 30 states have moved forward with preschool-for-all initiatives. San Antonio launched “Pre-K 4 SA,” one of the nation’s most comprehensive programs. New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, pledged to place 73,000 4-year-olds in full-day classes. And the 2014 federal budget gave Head Start a $1 billion boost. Still, from finding funding to defining “effective” programs, there’s a lot left to do. Let’s get to work.

Image: Photo by Robert Benson

 

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