If every California 4-year-old had the opportunity to attend preschool, the state would reap $2 to $4 for every dollar spent on early-childhood education, concludes a report released last week by the RAND Corp., an independent research organization based in Santa Monica, Calif.
“The Economics of Investing in Universal Preschool Education in California” is available online from the RAND Corporation. ()
The costs of providing preschool—estimated at $1.7 billion a year—would be offset, the researchers say, by reduced spending on special education, less grade retention, less crime, and a more productive workforce. The study looks at the potential benefits of a universal preschool program, rather than a program targeted only at children with a higher risk for educational and behavioral problems.
According to the analysis, the state would “break even” when a child enrolled in preschool reached age 14.