Report questions results of NM lawmaker's pre-K study | KOB 4

Report questions results of NM lawmaker's pre-K study

Patrick Hayes
Updated: July 24, 2020 05:24 PM
Created: July 24, 2020 03:21 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A new report takes a closer look at a recent study that says New Mexico students do better in school after attending prekindergarten.

Katharine Stevens, who works for American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank based in Washington D.C., said a study from our state’s Legislative Finance Committee fails to take some things into consideration. 


“The problems that I see with the Legislative Finance Committee’s report on New Mexico and pre-K aren’t unique to that report,” she said. "And the fundamental problem is that people confuse correlation with causation.”

The study tracked students who attended pre-K in 2006. According to the state, hose students graduated at a 6.5% higher rate than students that did not go to pre-K. 

Stevens says the student’s success has less to do with pre-K, and more to do with good parenting. 

Her report, which analyzes the study, says "... Parents who are focused enough on their children’s education to voluntarily send them to school at age four are probably also more likely to push those same children to graduate on time when they reach high school.”

"The only way you can tell that pre-K rather than parents are causing this effect is by designing a study where all the children that attend the program essentially have the same kind of parents," Stevens said.

Only a couple of states have done adequate studies looking at pre-K, according to Stevens.

Moving forward, she hopes policymakers find a new way to see if the program is working. 

"We only make ourselves feel better when we promote and support programs that we think work but that don’t," she said.

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