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Report Urges More Spending on Preschool Programs

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Washington

A lack of funding in the present for programs such as Head Start could cost taxpayers even more in the future, a new report says.

"The Future of Children: Long-Term Outcomes of Early-Childhood Programs" was released here last week by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation's Center for the Future of Children. The report by the Los Altos, Calif., foundation analyzes more than 25 years of research and reviews 144 national and international pre-kindergarten programs, including the federal Head Start program, which began in 1965 to start children on their educations before they entered kindergarten.

Children who attended early-childhood programs are less likely to drop out of school and to commit crimes, the report says, and do better in math and science than their other peers.

At a news conference here last week to release the report, Barbara Reisman, the director of the national Child Care Action Campaign, a child- and family-advocacy group based in New York City, urged members of Congress, governors, mayors, and school boards to adopt its recommendations.

Report's Recommendations

The report calls for:

  • Investing the necessary funds to ensure quality early-childhood programs;
  • Linking such programs to health services that provide screening and immunizations;
  • Designing programs of good quality; and
  • Investing resources strategically.

Ms. Reisman touted the long-term economic benefits of spending on early-childhood programs, adding that it costs less to send a child to Head Start than it does to keep a criminal in jail for one year.

"We [taxpayers] can pay now, or we can pay more later," she said.

For More Information:

Copies of the report are available free from Lisa Aguilar, Center for the Future of Children, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, 300 Second St., Suite 102, Los Altos, Calif. 94022; (415) 948-3696.

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