Pre-K in the South: The Region's Comparative Advantage in Education

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Related Research

Pre-K in the South Update: Preserving the Region's Comparative Advantage in Education. Southern Education Foundation. (2010).

Suggested Citation

Suitts, Steve. Pre-K in the South: The Region's Comparative Advantage in Education. Southern Education Foundation. (2007).

2007 - The report documents the various economic and educational gains that the South can realize over time if states expand their investments in state-supported, high-quality pre-K programs for three- and four-year old children in the state. The report includes the findings of several studies undertaken during the last five years on both learning gains and cost-benefit ratios from pre-K programs in different Southern states.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • Pre-K produces a larger rate of return than almost all traditional economic development investments. In Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, the cost-benefit rations for public investments in high-quality pre-K were as large as $1 to $8 when both direct and indirect benefits were included in the calculations. 
  • The South Leads the rest of the nation in pre-K enrollment with 10 of the region's 15 states comprising the tow 20 states for highest pre-K enrollment of three- and four-year old children in the nation.
  • The South has led the nation throughout the decade in establishing and maintaining high standards for state-supported pre-K.
  • Pre-K is the South's best comparative advantage in education and arguably one of the most important economic investments for advancing the region's quality of life and improving its economy over the next 30 to 50 years.

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