Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Putting aside whether Wall Street has something up its sleeve, is looking for publicity, or the state is getting a bum deal, the story I posted on Monday regarding Goldman Sachs' investment in Salt Lake City's pre-k program indicates that it sees pre-k as a good investment. In fact, the investment is predicated on the expectation that pre-k will save the district money in the long term, as special education and other special service needs decline.
Congress, however, apparently sees things differently. In his State of the Union Address earlier this year, President Obama announced his intention to drastically expand pre-k education by giving states grants to do so themselves. Since then, the Department of Education has reallocated $370 million in Race to the Top funds toward funding pre-k. But fully funding the initiative will require far more money (full initiative here). Congress, for the moment, is balking. Not that we should take education advice from Wall Street, but if its economists and analysts are correct--and on this point I am pretty sure they are--the federal and state governments would save money by ponying up the initial investment in pre-k. By investing in one or two years of high quality pre-k, Congress would stand to save money on the next 13 years of education in which a student needs fewer special education and other services.