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Should You Send Your Kids to Pre-K?

I have three kids in Pre-K. It is an article of faith to me that it is a good idea – at least for our kids – and I barely remember my wife and I spending a lot of time debating whether to send our kids to Pre-K. Like most of us, I’m always merrily looking for articles and data that support the wisdom of my thinking.

Today I have New Jersey to thank. New Jersey says it is forking out more than $11,000 a year per child in Pre-K and they are glad they are: the number of kids who repeat first grade has been cut in half in poor districts that offer two years of Pre-K.

Would you get the same data in suburbia? I don’t know but I suspect so. What kids really learn is who they are, how they fit in and how they are going to deal with different people and places. We can’t teach that to our kids at home.

For differing reasons, a lot of parents are going in the other direction. Fewer and fewer children are getting an early start on their education. States cut nearly $30 million in funding to preschools last year, leaving one-quarter of 4-year-olds enrolled in Pre-K programs. Jim Axelrod found how an investment in early education can pay big dividends.