From an editorial Friday in the (Durham) Herald-Sun:
For two decades or more, North Carolina has been a leading state in trying to level the playing field for children as they enter kindergarten and embark on their school journey.
Proponents of the early education programs have long heralded their demonstrated success, and the benefits have been especially clear in the very first years of elementary school. But skeptics have questioned the long-term impact, and pointed to studies that suggested similar programs had little lasting effect.
Now, researchers at Duke University have concluded a study that shows the benefits from Smart Start and NC Pre-K endure over time. The research, published this week in the journal Child Development, “found the programs’ benefits did not fade with time, as in some early childhood intervention programs,” Duke said in a news release on the study. “Instead, the positive effects grew or held steady over the years.”
Researchers also found lower odds that children would need special education or be held back during elementary school.
The research comes as early-childhood-education advocates face continuing struggles to ensure funding.
“These are investments worth making,” Dodge said.
We agree wholeheartedly.