“Detroit’s One-Child School Readiness” Study Illustrates Tax-Payer Savings

On Wednesday, April 25th, The Fisher Foundation issued a report stating that Michigan tax-payers save $100,000 for every Detroit child that is fully prepared when they enter kindergarten. The “Detroit’s One-Child School Readiness Dividend” study calculated the economic value per child of preparation from birth for long-term educational achievement. This study was commissioned to assist policymakers, community leaders, and nonprofit organizations understand the social and fiscal benefits of a child’s early educational readiness.

The study, performed by the Wilder Institute, also found that state taxpayers save $39,500 for every Michigan child that is prepared for school. The Fisher Foundation has estimated that taxpayers could see savings of $7.2 million for every 1% gain in educational readiness among the estimated 7,200 Detroit kindergarteners. Michigan’s budget would see $55.3 million in savings if all of the state’s estimated 140,000 kindergarteners were prepared for school.

67% of the savings will cut state government expenses such as criminal justice costs, public assistance and child care subsidiaries; 29% of the savings will affect social aspects such as increased output of employed parents. The additional 3% is recycled to schools through reduced special education programs and grade recurrence costs.

Researchers at the Wilder Institute based their calculations on data that assessed school graduation and consumption cost from the Michigan Department of Education, poverty rates from the U.S. Census Bureau, and crime statistics from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data. Forty years of research has also concluded that early educational exposure (e.g., pre-school) reduces the likelihood of behavioral problems and the need for special education. It also increases graduation and employment rates and reduces the likelihood of incarceration.

The full report is available from the Fisher Foundation.