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Volume 29, Number 6
November/December 2013

Fading Out or Catching Up?


One of the central arguments made against increasing public funds for preschool, like President Obama’s $75 billion Preschool for All proposal, rests on the “fade-out” effect. Researchers have repeatedly observed that the cognitive gains children make from attending preschool—whether measured by IQ, vocabulary, or math and reading tests—appear to fade out by the time they finish the primary grades, if not sooner. Some policymakers have used this observation to argue that if preschool has such negligible impact, public funds should not support it.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.