Benefits, Costs, and Explanation of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program

Lawrence Schweinhart


The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study is a study of the effects of a high-quality preschool program for children born in poverty. Randomly assigning 123 children to program or no-program control groups, the study has had little attrition on a variety of measures from age 3 to age 41. It found evidence of preschool program effects on children’s readiness for school and their subsequent educational success, economic success in early adulthood, and reduced number of criminal arrests throughout their lives. These benefits add up to a large return on public investment. This study combines with the Abecedarian Study and the Chicago Child-Parent Centers Study presented in this session to provide strong, robust evidence of the lasting effects of high-quality preschool programs on young children living in poverty. The continuing challenge is to take such programs to scale so that all preschool programs for young children living in poverty have similar effects.

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