State spending on preschool more than doubled between 2002 and 2016, from $3.3 to $7.4 billion (constant 2017 dollars). However, a range of research also shows that many early childhood programs do not have positive long-term effects. For example, the Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten Program showed some positive effects for children as they finished their pre‐k school year; but, these positive were largely gone by the end of kindergarten. Program quality likely affects whether programs benefit children and recent investments have focused heavily on quality improvement. To learn more, read “Accountability for Early Education” on

—Education Next

Last updated August 14, 2018