UC study: by Third Grade, Preschool benefits disappear

More bad news for Meathead, aka "Rob Reiner". He's trying to push through a free-preschool-for-all proposition in California. That would probably eventually result in mandatory preschool. Past coverage starts here. There's been a massive TV and radio propaganda effort, and it might have paid off among voters who are unable to investigate all the downsides and hidden assumptions of Reiner's statistics.

As proponents of universal preschool in California kicked off their campaign with news of an upbeat poll, a study on the lasting effects of preschool indicates many of its benefits may wear off by the time students reach third grade.

The University of California study, parts of which will be released today at a Sacramento conference, focuses on non-English-speaking children who went to preschool. Students who had gone to preschool gained a head start on literacy and language skills that gave them a leg up through third grade, according to the study by UC Santa Barbara professor Russell Rumberger, director of the UC Linguistic Minority Research Institute.

Rumberger's national study comes as the universal preschool camp, led by Hollywood movie director Rob Reiner, campaigns to convince voters that all 4-year-olds would benefit from a year of free preschool and that every public dollar spent on universal preschool would result in future savings on education, crime reduction and social services.

Other studies, among numerous attempts to assess the impact of preschool in general, have established that universal preschool gives children a boost in kindergarten and beyond.

The Reiner camp hopes to increase attendance to at least 70 percent of all 4-year-olds. The campaign is starting on a high note with results from a statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California showing that 63 percent of likely voters support the initiative...
However, Reiner's popularity is pretty low, so maybe the voters will have second thoughts once they realize who's agenda all those cuddly commercials have been promoting.


This pre-school initiative is of course aimed mostly at non-whites, especially Blacks and Hispanics, whose measured school performance lags.

But the evidence is already pretty strong, and growing stronger all the time, that identifiable population groups, e.g. racial/ethnic groups, differ, on average, in a number of ways, and that many of these differences have a significant genetic component. When you measure aspects of human performance across (large) population groups, you discover these average differences. And one measurable aspect of human performance is analytical intelligence, which is the best predictor of school success. For this, the available evidence shows that when you measure intelligence, e.g. via IQ tests, there are observable differences across population groups, and that these differences appear to have a significant genetic component. So it is not surprising that it is again confirmed that attempts to ameliorate this gap (Whites and Asians seeming to be, on average, more intelligent than Blacks and Hispanics) by pre-school etc, have no lasting benefit.