The Cost of High-Quality Pre-School Education in New JerseyReport as inadecuate




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Education Law Center

This report calculates the full cost of providing well-planned, high quality pre-school for children in New Jersey, as required under "Abbott vs. Burke" (153 NJ 480 1998). The evidence on how high-quality pre-school improves the academic performance of children is compelling. After a rapid expansion over the last decade, many children in the Abbott school districts in New Jersey now have an opportunity to enroll in high-quality programs. However, the Abbott pre-schools face a number of challenges to ensure that the program remains high quality. The most important challenge is to ensure that the teaching force consists of highly qualified teachers who are paid adequate market wages. Fundamentally, high quality programs need to be fully funded. Based on a full analysis of the resources required for pre-school the authors' analysis suggests that it would cost $12,736 per child to ensure high quality pre-school in the Abbott districts. This cost is approximately 6% above the amount currently spent. The additional funding is necessary to ensure that new teachers can be hired and that existing teachers are retained. In estimating this figure, the authors identify two key issues regarding the optimal investment in pre-school across New Jersey. First, the additional increment in investment is not significantly above the rate of inflation. Therefore, making sure that the rate of change of prices is calculated accurately is important to ensure that the program is adequately funded. Second, it is important to ensure that the workforce is efficiently structured and that future wage increases are anticipated. The authors conclude that the Abbott pre-school program has grown rapidly over a short time period such that many of the pre-school staff are new to their positions. Retaining these staff will be important to ensure program quality. But retaining these staff will also put pressure on costs: many of these teachers may have offers from other schools and districts as the labor market changes; and as these teachers gain more experience their salaries will rise correspondingly. It is likely that upward pressure on wages will necessitate additional funding. (Contains 17 tables, 2 boxes, and 42 footnotes.)

Descriptors: Preschool Education, Labor Market, Costs, Court Litigation, Educational Quality, Academic Achievement, School Districts, Teacher Qualifications, Teacher Salaries, Financial Support, Educational Finance, Expenditure per Student, Instructional Effectiveness, Public Schools, Private Schools, Models, Program Effectiveness

Education Law Center. 60 Park Place Suite 300, Newark, NJ 07102. Tel: 973-624-1815; Fax: 973-624-7339; e-mail: elc[at]edlawcenter.org; Web site: http://www.edlawcenter.org





Author: Belfield, Clive; Schwartz, Heather

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=5342&id=ED504894







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