The Importance of High-Quality Pre-K in Massachusetts
A study from MIT found that Boston's preschool system has a significant, positive impact on children
In the midst of a robust and unprecedented national conversation around early childhood investments, a recent, landmark MIT study has provided another strong, research-based argument in favor of investing in our youngest learners.
The study is of particularly high value. That’s because researchers conducted it as a randomized, long-term analysis, which is considered a “gold-standard.” That analysis ultimately provided strong evidence in favor of high-quality preschool.
Specifically, the study found that Boston’s public preschool program produced a number of positive outcomes for children, including a significant, positive effect on student behavior and improved academic performance. The effects were also consistent across income and racial groups.
Results like these help explain why many business leaders, myself included, are energized by the bipartisan support for investments in early childhood. Locally, more than 75 CEOs and Senior Executives statewide advocate for early childhood education as a workforce development priority through the work of the newly formed Massachusetts Business Coalition for Early Childhood Education.
Nationally, ReadyNation is leading on this work. Its nearly 3,000 business leaders have long championed evidence-based solutions that can help our youngest learners acquire the early academic and social-emotional skills that will set them up to thrive down the road. The foundational cognitive and behavioral abilities children can learn in high-quality pre-K programs—like those found in Boston and elsewhere—will help these young people grow up to be prepared for success at work and in life.
As business leaders focus more on these matters, we can point to this new study as another in a growing list of resources that demonstrate the need and opportunity for early education investments. These resources also helpfully illustrate success stories about children who have completed preschool. Those stories help frame the power of high-quality pre-K in human terms.
Investments in high-quality early childhood programs can help build the workforce of the future by providing a safe and enriching experience for children while ensuring workers can fully engage in today’s economy. Those investments also provide needed support to an industry comprised of small businesses in our communities, primarily run by women and particularly women of color. I hope that our state, and our nation, will continue to focus on these issues, and make early childhood education more accessible, affordable, and of high quality.
JD Chesloff is President & CEO of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and a member of ReadyNation