From the Manhattan Institute: “The Covid-19 crisis has dealt a substantial blow to the child-care industry and stymied the expansion of public prekindergarten.
As America recovers, policymakers will have to make tough choices with limited budgets. Progressive politicians, including President Biden, have called for an unprecedented expansion of federal investment in early education, arguing that it would boost women’s participation in the workforce and that the long-run academic benefits for children would yield economic dividends.
The first claim is well supported by existing research. The second does not withstand scrutiny. Although there are some frequently cited studies of early childhood interventions that have shown remarkably positive results, they were conducted based on interventions and in environments that bear little resemblance to the policy proposals currently on the table and hence have limited utility in informing contemporary debates.
Moreover, a deeper look at the most rigorous and representative research on the effects of early education for children provides more cause for alarm than optimism. Expanded child care likely benefits deeply disadvantaged students. For other students, these programs may have no impact, or have a negative effect on cognitive or noncognitive measures. These findings are consistent with—and likely partly explained by—recent advances in our understanding of neuroscience and child development.
You can read the entire study HERE.