Minnesota newspapers have been covering a Wilder Research study that I helped conduct. Here are some of the news articles:
- Kids not ready for kindergarten cost Minnesota schools $113 million a year
- Unprepared kindergartners cost districts millions
- Study: Lack of early education costly
- New study estimates unprepared kindergarteners cost Minnesota K-12 school system $113 million annually
Bush Foundation commissioned the report because several experimental and quasi-experimental studies have shown that disadvantaged children and society benefit greatly from quality preschool experiences, but the costs and benefits had not been tallied for the K-12 system specifically. Temple and Reynolds (2007) provide a good overview of the larger costs and benefits. Schools incur costs when students repeat grades or drop out before graduation ($66.4 million annually); when student behavior problems and low achievement lead to teacher absenteeism, turnover, and extra compensation ($28.9 million); when English Language Learners enter kindergarten with no educational introduction to English ($11 million); and when schools are forced to combat delinquency ($6 million). Expanding quality preschool experiences in Minnesota would likely reduce the $113 million shouldered annually by the state’s K-12 education system.