Universal Preschool May Do More Harm than Good
A growing body of empirical evidence suggests that universal preschool programs fail to improve a range of outcomes for participants. New studies of large-scale preschool programs in Quebec and Tennessee show that vastly expanding access to free or subsidized preschool may worsen behavioral and emotional outcomes. In the absence of compelling evidence that subsidized preschool provides an important public good, the subsidies should be reduced, not increased. Policymakers should recognize that expanding subsidies for preschool is unnecessary, provides no new benefits to low-income parents, and would create a new subsidy for middle-income and upper-income families, while adding to the tax burden for Americans.