MA Reporting Gains Due to Preschool Expansion

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In 2014, Massachusetts was one of 13 states to receive funds for expansion through the Preschool Development Grant program. A recently released study reports positive impacts on young children’s early academic performance, especially in literacy and math skills.

From Education Dive:

Gains were strongest among children whose home language was not English and who didn’t have any prior early-learning classroom experience, according to the researchers with Abt Associates, who compared a sample of children who entered the Preschool Expansion Grant program in 2016-17 with a group that just missed the age cutoff date for that year. Effects on vocabulary were smaller, but still significant, while effects on executive function were not significant.

Collaboration between the districts and the preschool centers allowed them to “quickly implement multiple quality components,” according to the study. Early educators also had access to professional learning opportunities, coaching and paid release time for planning, which contributed to a “rich learning environment for children,” the researchers wrote.

A growing concern is what happens when the grant funds dry up? The loss of federal funds may have a strong impact on the quality of preschool education in states like Massachusetts. Some are taking a stand, such as  Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who has allocated $15 million over the last year for universal pre-K.