Their short answer appears to be no. They reviewed a number of studies of the benefits of various programs, including Head Start, and found the studies to be too small or out of date, and that the
outcomes were reported in non-standard ways which had the effect of positively biasing the results.
They found that the benefits which the children got from these programs faded over the first couple of years of school, as other children caught up.
They also wondered, if the programs were designed to close the developmental gap of disadvantaged children, why were these benefits to be removed by giving every student the enrichment.
Anecdotally, I can support the virtues of preparing your children for school. Using Samuel Blumenfeld’s How to Tutor, I taught both my son and daughter to read before they each turned 5 years old, and it made a difference. Both are exceedingly bright (no bias there), both are college graduates (my son with a PhD), and both run small businesses (my son is a Behavior Analyst, and my daughter owns Papermoon Ballroom Dance Studio). But this early teaching was MY responsibility (and joy) as a parent.
However, with $75 Billion in start-up funds, and $50 Billion a year projected (expect it to be over-budget), Universal Pre-School sounds like yet another federal boondoggle / tax money black hole. And, with the controversy over Core Curriculum and Agenda 21, having the children earlier for indoctrination is a scary thought.
Action Item: Defeat the proposed plan for Universal Pre-School. Work to prevent any piecemeal or backdoor attempt to install this program. Repeal any existing programs, such as Head Start, which appear to be of little or no lasting value. Reducing the Budget Deficit is more important than Make-Work programs for teachers, especially when the benefit has not been proven.