Archive for the ‘prek’ Category

Evaluating the Impact of Pre-Kindergarten for 3 Year Olds

August 22, 2016early childhood, osborne, prek


Early childhood is a crucial period for healthy development. Children who experience a stimulating, lower-stress, and loving environment in their first five years typically have better social, cognitive, health, and economic outcomes throughout their lifespan. A key early indicator of future success is whether a child shows up to Kindergarten ready to learn; meaning by age five, the child has the necessary cognitive, developmental, and social-emotional skills that will allow the child to learn and reach her full potential. Unfortunately, children born to parents with lower levels of education or resources typically are less well prepared for school, and the gaps in outcomes that exist at school entry are mirrored throughout their schooling career and into adulthood.

A key policy lever to better prepare children, particularly disadvantaged children, for school is pre-Kindergarten (pre-K). Although the results are mixed, the research generally suggests that children who experience high-quality, center-based pre-K are better prepared for school than their counterparts who do not have pre-K. Several states have adopted universal or widespread public pre-K, in response to this evidence.


Austin Independent School District (AISD) is one of the first large school districts in the nation to push further and offer public pre-K to 3-year-olds (PK3). The hope is that two years of high-quality preK will better prepare students for Kindergarten than only one.

CFRP, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, CFRP director and Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences, are evaluating the impact of the PK3 program for AISD.

The partnership will launch the first evaluation in the nation that will determine whether children who experience two years of public pre-K (at ages 3 and 4) are better prepared for Kindergarten than their counterparts who experience pre-K only at age 4.


Related Publications and Posts:

Title Type Date
What Do We Know About Pre-K? Brief 2015 October
Pre-K is Good for Kids and For Texas: Short-term Savings from Pre-K Estimated at Nearly $142 Million Annually Brief 2015 April
Early Lessons Learned from Building Local Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems in Texas (Journal of Applied Research on Children) Journal Volume 5 Issue 1 (2014)
Early Childhood Education is Linked to Greater Success in School News Post 2013 May
Full listing of CFRP Early Childhood publications Various Various







New Brief: What Do We Know About Pre-K?

October 12, 2015early childhood, prek

Young kids listening to teacher

Growing evidence from evaluations of state and local public prekindergarten (pre-K) programs across the country have demonstrated that effective pre-K programs can improve child outcomes. Studies suggest that high-quality pre-K programs produce both short- and long-term benefits for children, such as improved kindergarten readiness, reduced rates of grade retention, and less participation in special education programs. Additionally, high-quality pre-K programs can contribute to narrowing the achievement gap through building increased academic skills among disadvantaged groups.

CFRP’s new policy brief, What Do We Know About Pre-K?, explores evidence from public pre-K programs around the country, providing insight into how the expansion of high-quality pre-K could benefit Texas kids and narrow achievement gaps in Texas.

Click for the full version of B.019.1015 | What Do We Know About Pre-K?.

Click for more about CFRP’s Early Childhood research.

TWEET THIS!: New @CFRPlbj Brief: What Do We Know About Pre-K? Look at the evidence


New Brief: Short-term Savings Associated with Texas Pre-K Nearly $142 Million Per Year

April 29, 2015early childhood, prek


Recent analyses of data from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) show that economically disadvantaged children who attended a Texas public prekindergarten program (Texas pre-K) are less likely to be retained or participate in special education programs in first, second, or third grades. CFRP compared rates of retention and special education services among economically disadvantaged first, second, and third graders who either attended Texas pre-K or did not, and examined the associated cost savings.  In the 2013-2014 school year, Texas spent $127 million less on special education programs and nearly $15 million less because fewer kids were retained. Add these savings to the mounting evidence that children who attend high quality prekindergarten programs have better academic outcomes, are less likely to drop out of high school, and are less likely to use public services compared to children who do not attend prekindergarten, and Texas pre-K is a program that has a substantial return on investment for Texas kids and the state.

Click here for the full brief: Pre-K is Good for Kids and For Texas: Short-term Savings from Pre-K Estimated at Nearly $142 Million Annually (B.016.0415).

TWEET THIS!: New @CFRPlbj Brief: Pre-K is Good for Kids, Good for Texas

TWEET THIS!: Short-term savings from Texas pre-K $142 million per year