Enrolling in prekindergarten programs can sharply reduce the special education enrollment rate among at-risk students, a new report finds.
The study, from the University of Pittsburgh’s Early Childhood Partnerships Program, focused over a three-year span on 10,000 Pennsylvania children raised in poverty and enrolled in programs covered by Pre-K Counts, a state program that provides full- and half-day prekindergarten programs for disadvantaged children.
Of the children studied, only 2 percent were later enrolled in special education programs. The historical special education placement rate for high-risk children in participating districts had been 18 percent, the study says.
Funded through a $1 million Heinz Endowment grant, the report also found that all at-risk children made gains in early learning and development in a range of subject areas. Children across all ethnic groups represented in the study made significant gains, the report found, and 80 percent met state competency standards for transition into kindergarten.
A version of this article appeared in the November 04, 2009 edition of Education Week as Pre-Kindergarten Gains