By William Huntsberry
Attending state-funded prekindergarten substantially reduces the likelihood that students will end up in special education programs later on, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University.
The study examined 13 years’ worth of data from students enrolled in More at Four, a state-funded program for 4-year-olds in North Carolina. By the third grade, the researchers found, children in the program were 32 percent less likely to end up in a special education program. Children who were part of Smart Start, a health services program, saw a 10 percent drop. Combined, the two programs accounted for a 39 percent reduction.