Early Childhood Education

 

This summer and fall, expect New Mexico’s gubernatorial and legislative candidates to speak about “early childhood education” a lot.A lot.Preschool-related government programs are treasured by Democrats and the left in the Land of Enchantment, and enjoy a substantial amount of support from New Mexico’s Republicans.The problem is, solid evidence supporting preschool’s value is quite weak.The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, the Rio Grande Foundation’s sister think tank in the Sooner State, recently released an analysis that should be required reading for candidates pledging their fealty to New Mexico’s “Early Childhood Care and Education System.” Author Greg Forster, a Friedman Fellow with EdChoice, found that when it comes to research on preschool, “the better the studies are in scientific quality, the less likely they are to find benefits.” He quotes the Brookings Institution’s Russ Whitehurst, who in 2014 noted that “not one of the studies that has suggested long-term positive impacts of center-based early childhood programs has been based on a well-implemented and appropriately analyzed randomized trial, and nearly all have serious limitations in external validity.” In addition, “the only two studies in the list with both high internal and external validity … find null or negative impacts, and all of the studies that point to very small, null, or negative effects have high external validity.”

READ MORE: An Honest Debate on Preschool? | Errors of Enchantment