Here is a link to a paper about the benefits of preschool for disadvantaged Americans. In a nutshell; college degrees increase to 23%, employment at least 2/3 of the time goes up to 75%, and only 4% were on the forms of public assistance the study was looking at--I presume that this would refer to TANF and the like. For comparison's sake, about 25% of adults have college degrees, and about 92% of adults have worked full or part time in the past two years.
Their method? They did so by implementing an incredibly low student-teacher ratio of 3:1 to 6:1, and they found a 4-5 point IQ advantage at age six months that did not widen over the course of the study.
What does this mean? Either better nurture and nutrition helped these children as infants, or the study used the wrong control sample and the results are meaningless. Not exactly any argument for making government preschool universal, as President Obama desires, especially given that I'd guess the cost would be about half a trillion dollars annually. (look at the student-teacher ratio and do the math yourself)
This is another case where the proper thing for government to do is to ask "where are we discouraging traditional family life, and how can we stop doing so?".
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