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ERIC Number: EJ910554
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
What Happened When Kindergarten Went Universal?
Cascio, Elizabeth U.
Education Next, v10 n2 p62-69 Spr 2010
Existing research provides little insight into the relative merits of universal programs and those targeted to specific groups. While there have been several recent studies of the short-term effects of universal preschool programs in the U.S., there is no evidence to date on long-term consequences. Some studies suggest that Head Start has lasting effects in reducing criminal behavior and increasing educational attainment, but this program is much more intensive than any universal program is likely to be and serves a very disadvantaged population. In the absence of direct evidence on the types of preschool programs now under consideration, this study attempts to shed light on the likely consequences of a new universal program by estimating the impact of earlier state interventions to introduce kindergarten into public schools. These interventions present an unusual opportunity to study the long-term effects of large state investments in universal preschool education. Results indicate that state funding of universal kindergarten had no discernible impact on many of the long-term outcomes desired by policymakers, including grade retention, public assistance receipt, employment, and earnings. The author finds no positive effects for African Americans, despite comparable increases in their enrollment in public kindergartens after implementation of the initiatives. These findings suggest that even large investments in universal early-childhood education programs do not necessarily yield clear benefits, especially for more disadvantaged students. (Contains 4 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia; Florida; Oklahoma; United States