The study was launched at the request of state lawmakers two years ago, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. At the time, there were dire predictions about the long-term viability of the lottery-funded pre-kindergarten and HOPE scholarship programs.
University of North Carolina researchers followed a random sample of pre-k students during the 2011-2012 school year. They used pre- and post-tests to measure how much the 4-year-olds learned and classroom observations and teacher surveys to assess classroom quality.
State officials have seen some early data from the researchers, said Kristin Bernhard, education policy adviser to Gov. Nathan Deal.
By almost every measure — including language and mathematics — the researchers found that students who went through Georgia pre-k fared better than their national peers, Bernhard said.
“It is extremely important that the people understand that this pre-k program is not baby-sitting, that it is preparing young people for school, and that it makes a difference on achievement at the end of the day,” said former state Senate Education Committee Chairman Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody.
“I believe it’s very important that each member of the General Assembly receive at least an executive summary of this report so they see how important this program is for the future,” Millar said.