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ERIC Number: ED517008
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 43
The Cost Savings to Special Education from Pre-Schooling in Pennsylvania
Belfield, Clive R.
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Providing education for young children is an investment in their future. It can also benefit all members of society, because of the spill-over effects from having a better educated population. The critical question is: How much should a society invest in pre-schooling? The focus of this research is on only one of the benefits of pre-school: the cost-savings that arise from reduced placement in special education. Studies have found that pre-schooling programs significantly reduce the rate of special education placement. Across the US, over $80 billion is spent annually on special education (approximately one-fifth of all public spending on education). Given this substantial commitment, it is imperative to invest wisely and efficiently; even very minor improvements in how resources are allocated could free up millions of dollars. This report calculates the likely savings in special education budgets from expanding pre-schooling for Pennsylvania. The report is structured as follows. In Section 2, pre-schooling provision in Pennsylvania is described; two policy scenarios are set out to expand provision--making pre-school available either to all children or to a target group which might benefit the most. For each policy, the impact on pre-school is described, and the total cost of such a policy is estimated. Current provision and funding of special education across the state is also described. Section 3 reviews the evidence on the extent to which pre-schooling programs reduce special education. This evidence is then used to model the reduction in special education requirements for Pennsylvania. In Section 4, the expected cost-savings are set against initial investment costs and against the total expenditures on special education. This allows for adjudication as to whether expanding pre-schooling would yield economic benefits to the state. Sensitivity analysis is also performed to see how the amounts of cost-savings might vary. Finally, Section 5 gives a concluding summary. (Contains 10 tables, 1 figure and 16 endnotes.)
Pennsylvania Department of Education. 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333. Tel: 717-783-6788; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Build Initiative
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania; United States