Colorado Preschool Program is Effective & Should Be Expanded

High-quality preschool puts children on a path to success. It provides a positive start to school and is the first step on a journey that prepares students to reach their full potential, enriching their lives, and strengthening our state’s workforce and its economy. This is why we should continue the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP).

Decades of research has shown that preschool and programs like CPP are effective at improving school readiness and closing achievement gaps for at-risk students. Colorado Preschool Program students catch up with or exceed their non-at-risk peers on measures of school readiness. When compared to other at-risk students, CPP students score 10 to 15 percentage points higher on CSAP/TCAP tests and are less likely to be held back in early grades and placed in special-education programs. CPP graduates in Denver Public Schools scored at or above the level of the rest of the students on the 11th-grade ACT test. The positive aspects of preschool extend to future generations as students go on to raise their families in better circumstances, helping to break the cycle of poverty.

Colorado Preschool Program Funding Has Not Kept Pace With Need

Based on demographic and educational data, the Colorado Department of Education estimates that CPP is funded to serve only about 6 out of 10 eligible 4-year-olds. Although the state has made strides recently to close this gap, in school year 2014-15, CPP is serving only 15,869 out of 27,072 of the 4-year-olds estimated to be eligible. The legislature and governor should make the needed investments to ensure that all students in Colorado who are eligible to participate in CPP have the opportunity to do so. Over the long run, there are few investments that would be better for our children’s and our state’s future.

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