In an editorial yesterday, the New Bedford Standard Times stated its support for expanding access to high-quality pre-k for students in Massachusetts. Following a visit from members of the Pre-K for MA coalition, the paper’s editorial outlined a number of reasons why support for expanded access to Pre-K is so important.
“More than 1 in 4 students in the [incoming New Bedford] kindergarten class are far more likely to be behind their peers in number and letter recognition, in vocabulary, and in the number of books they’ve had read to them,” according to the editorial, citing the 26% of incoming New Bedford kindergarten students who did not attend pre-k. “Critically, they are also likely to be behind their peers in understanding why they are sitting in a classroom, how to get along with others in a school environment and what discipline looks like in a social setting.”
The editorial also highlighted another study that followed children from preschool to age 27, showing that “rates of incarceration, arrests, out-of-wedlock births, dependence on social services and participation in special education are all lower for those who know what school is all about before they get to kindergarten. Likewise, those subjects earned higher salaries, were far more likely to own homes and second cars, and scored higher on achievement tests.”
The cost-benefit ratio, as noted in the editorial from the report, found a $7.16 return to the public for every $1 invested into the early childhood education program.
Noting the cost of the proposed program in Massachusetts under state Rep. Alice Peisch’s bill, the Standard Times still threw its support behind the measure. “At a payoff of more than 7-to-1, though, this is money well spent. Implemented over five years, it would be responsibly spent, as well.”