All of the good arguments for Pre-K education seem to be dropping like flies.

One of principal arguments of Pre-K advocates is that it will ensure future academic success for students. But a recent study from the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University shows that any benefits of Pre-K soon disappear.

Peabody studied Tennessee’s state-funded Voluntary Prekindergarten program, which began in 2009 and particularly caters to children from low-income families. The study discovered the following:

  • In both the behavioral and academic arenas, preschool attendees were better prepared to enter kindergarten than their non-preschool classmates.
  • By the end of kindergarten, the non-preschool students caught up to their preschool attending peers, leaving no difference between the two groups in terms of academic achievement.
  • By the end of 1st grade, preschool attendees were found to be behind their peers in a number of non-cognitive/behavioral measurements.
  • During 2nd and 3rd grade, students who had not attended preschool were actually performing better academically than preschool attendees, particularly in math.

Universal preschool has long been touted as the silver bullet which will close achievement gaps and set children on the path to success. But studies are increasingly beginning to show that preschool has minimal, if any, benefits for children. Is it time to hit the pause button before more states charge ahead to fund preschool for all?

Image Credit: Tired Feminist