During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Obama once again called for renewed and vigorous funding of universal preschool programs at the state and national level–a favorite policy of the president that nevertheless is opposed by most education experts.
“Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education,” said Obama. “I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.”
Contrary to the president’s statements, research does not indicate that greater funding of early education efforts would be a worthwhile investment for the nation’s children. Experts from the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution and the Reason Foundation have all told The Daily Caller that there is very little evidence for the claims made by universal pre-K supporters. (RELATE: Obama pushes universal preschool despite shaky evidence)
While children enrolled in preschool tend to develop more quickly than their peers, the gains don’t last. By fourth grade, children who enrolled in preschool are no more intellectually or socially advanced than their peers, according to studies.
There is also scant evidence that expanding early education programs would have a noticeable reduction on crime or poverty, as liberals often claim.
Still, the evidence has not stopped Obama from frequently demanding increased funding for federal preschool programs like Head Start, as well as state efforts. Funding for pre-K was a major policy proposal in previous SOTU addresses as well as in other speeches the president gave throughout the year. (RELATED: Obama skirts Congress, funds pre-K through Obamacare)