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theschoolboards
06-10-2011, 09:54 AM
From Chicago Sun-Times (http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/5870982-418/study-benefits-of-preschool-pay-off-well-into-adulthood.html) by Lindsey Tanner:
Preschool has surprisingly enduring benefits lasting well into adulthood, according to one of the biggest, longest follow-up studies of its kind.

Better jobs, less drug abuse and fewer arrests are among advantages found in the study that tracked more than 1,000 low-income, mostly black Chicago kids for up to 25 years.

The ongoing publicly funded program focuses on language development, scholastic skills and building self-confidence. It involves one or two years of half-day preschool, and up to four additional years of educational and family services in grade school. Preschool teachers have college degrees and are certified in early childhood education, and parents are encouraged to be involved in the classes.

The study tracked nearly 900 children into adulthood who attended the program in the early 1980s, and compared them to almost 500 low-income Chicago youngsters, most of whom didn’t attend preschool.

The results were published Thursday in the online version of the journal Science. They bolster findings from similar, smaller studies and show that high-quality preschool “gives you your biggest bang for the buck,” said Dr. Pamela High, chair of an American Academy of Pediatrics committee that deals with early childhood issues. She was not involved in the study.

Among the study results:

—80 percent of the preschool group finished high school versus 75 percent of the others;

—Nearly 15 percent of the preschool group attended a four-year college, versus 11 percent of the others;

—28 percent of the preschool group had skilled jobs requiring post-high school training versus 21 percent of the others;

—Average annual adult income for the preschool group was about $11,600 versus $10,800 for the others. The low average incomes include zero earnings for those in prison and close to that for adults who were still in college or studying elsewhere.

—14 percent of the preschool group had abused drugs in adulthood versus 19 percent of the others;

—48 percent of the preschool group had been arrested in adulthood and 15 percent had been incarcerated, versus 54 percent of the others arrested and 21 percent incarcerated.

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