New Early Learning Research Finds Multigenerational Gains for Participants
May 31, 2019

With at least 18 new and returning governors making issues such as child care and pre-K part of their campaign pitches to voters last fall, there is significant momentum on early learning policies. Advocates in Colorado recently celebrated the passage of full-day kindergarten, while over 10 additional Network organizations identified early learning as a priority in 2019 legislative sessions. 

While some of the findings on early learning have been mixed, new research from the University of Chicago offers additional fodder. A new intergenerational analysis from economist James Heckman on the participants of the well-known Perry Preschool Project shows that the benefits of early learning have long-term “significant, positive spillover treatment effects” for disadvantaged children and society.

The research finds that targeting disadvantaged children through high-quality opportunities and home visits–programs similar to what PIE Network member Stand for Children Texas has been using since 2015–has several positive effects, including some that spread over multiple generations:

  • More likely to graduate from high school
  • More likely to hold a job and have higher career earnings
  • Development of character skills such as SEL
  • Children of participants less likely to be suspended from school
  • Children of participants more likely to complete high school and be employed full-time

Advocates who want to learn more about the research can find the full report, including a toolkit of resources available for download, here. For those wanting to connect with other advocates working on these issues, please reach out.



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Chris Nikolic

Chris is PIE Network's Associate, Research and Advancement

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