Panel: Early Childhood Education Innovations and Their Consequences

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Marriott Balcony B - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  William Gormley, Georgetown University
Discussants:  Erica Greenberg, Urban Institute and Amy Claessens, University of Wisconsin, Madison

A Reanalysis of the Impacts of the Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten Program
Tyler W. Watts1, Greg J. Duncan2 and Mariela Rivas2, (1)New York University, (2)University of California, Irvine

The Returns of an Additional Year of Schooling: The Case of State-Mandated Kindergarten
Jade Jenkins, University of California, Irvine and Maria Rosales Rueda, Princeton University

New Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Full-Day Preschool on Children and Their Families
Allison Atteberry1, Daphna Bassok2 and Vivian C. Wong2, (1)University of Colorado, Boulder, (2)University of Virginia

Do Magnet Schools Help to Prolong Pre-K Effects?
Karin Kitchens, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, William Gormley, Georgetown University and Sara Anderson, West Virginia University

In recent years, early childhood education reformers have succeeded in enacting significant reforms at the state level, including pre-K expansion, the establishment of universal pre-K programs, better alignment between  pre-K and K-3 curricula, the establishment of full-day kindergarten, and mandatory kindergarten attendance, among others.  These reforms have received growing attention in the literature.  Nevertheless, questions remain about the magnitude of effects and the circumstances under which these promising reforms are most likely to be effective.

                On this panel, we use rigorous empirical evidence to consider three of these reforms:  mandatory kindergarten attendance, the establishment of full-day preschool, and the establishment of a universal pre-K program.  Each paper uses large data bases and strong research designs to examine the effects of these reforms, including longer term effects and/or effects on multiple outcomes of interest.

                Paper # 1 – "The Returns of an Additional Year of Schooling:  The Case of State-Mandated Kindergarten."  In this paper, the authors use pooled time-series cross-sectional data to examine the effects of mandatory kindergarten on student achievement.  Data, for all 50 states, come from the BLS, the NCSL, and the Digest of Education Statistics. They use a difference in difference test to estimate program impacts, taking advantage of the fact that states differ in whether they enacted this reform and in when they enacted the reform.  They find that the adoption of mandatory kindergarten boosts kindergarten enrollment by 5 to 7 percentage points.

                Paper # 2—"New Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Full-Day Preschool on Children and Their Families."  In this paper, the authors study a Denver area school district.  They present results from a randomized experiment, taking advantage of a lottery system for determining entry to a full-day preschool program, as opposed to a half-day preschool program, to estimate the impacts of full-day preschool on a wide variety of cognitive and behavioral outcomes for children.  They also examine effects on parents, including parental employment, child care costs, and maternal stress.  Preliminary results indicate that a full-day preschool program has meaningful advantages over a half-day program.

                Paper # 3 – "Do Magnet Schools Help to Prolong Pre-K Effects?"  In this paper, the authors utilize data from a well-studied universal pre-K program in Tulsa, Oklahoma to assess whether students who attended pre-K are more likely to take advantage of attractive magnet school options.  Using OLS and multiple imputation, they ask whether pre-K alumni are more likely to apply to a magnet high school and whether they are more likely to be accepted by a magnet high school.  They find that students who attended a magnet middle school and students who attended pre-K are somewhat more likely to enroll in a magnet high school.  This is important because of research that suggests positive benefits from attending a magnet school.

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