McCourt School of Public Policy
Graduate and mother standing on a beach acing the sunset

Tulsa Pre-K Alumni Enroll in College at Higher Rates

September 2022 — A study of 4,033 Tulsa students who entered kindergarten in the fall of 2006 shows that students who participated in the school district’s pre-K program in 2005-06 are much more likely to be in college today. Pre-K boosts both two-year and four-year college enrollments. These findings are reported in a forthcoming paper “Universal Pre-K and College Enrollment: Is there a Link?”, which will be published in the AERA Open in 2023. The lead author is Professor Bill Gormley.

Children in a classroom playing

Tulsa Pre-K’s Benefits Exceed the Costs

September 2022 — A team led by Tim Bartik of the Upjohn Institute has estimated that the benefits of Tulsa’s universal pre-K program exceed the costs by 2.65 to 1. Researchers used high school graduation data and college enrollment data, extrapolated to adult earnings, to calculate the benefits. The study can be found in a new working paper published by CROCUS and the Upjohn Institute A Benefits-Cost Analysis of Tulsa Pre-K, Based on Effects on High School Graduation and College Attendance.”

Young woman at a voting booth

Early Childhood Education Promotes Civic Engagement

September 2022 — A good predictor of whether young adults register to vote and actually vote is whether they attended preschool years earlier. These findings, from a study “From preschool to politics: Early socialization in Tulsa” published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly, show a link between pre-K attendance in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2005-06 and voter registration and voting today, mediated by stronger cognitive and socio-emotional skills. The lead author is Karin Kitchens, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Virginia Tech.

Child coloring in a butterfly with an orange crayon

Third Graders Do Better If They Attend Pre-K

September 2022 — Most studies find that pre-K boosts student performance in the short run but that differences between pre-K alumni and other students diminish over time. A recent study of disadvantaged students in Tulsa shows that 3rd graders who attended preschool have stronger cognitive and self-regulation skills than other children. The lead author of this study is Anna Johnson, Associate Professor of Psychology. For other studies by the same team, see “When Does 1+1 Not Equal 2?”, “Sustained Preschool Benefits Into First Grade”, and “Predictors of Skills for Dual Language Learners.”

Pre-K Program Benefits Still Evident In High School

September 2022— A CROCUS study of Tulsa’s universal pre-K program found that pre-K alumni do better on several key indicators than a comparable group of students who attended neither pre-K nor Head Start. The study, published in the journal CHILD DEVELOPMENT “Does early childhood education help to improve high school outcomes? Results from Tulsa” (PDF), followed students through the end of their junior year in high school.  A new working paper reports a positive link between Tulsa pre-K attendance and on-time high school graduation. Sara Amadon of Child Trends is the lead author.

Board in classroom that says

Magnet School Research in Tulsa

August 2021— Racial disparities in school discipline practices are widespread. Often, Black students are three times as likely to be suspended as white students. Tulsa’s magnet middle schools have eliminated these differences, though its traditional middle schools have not. See a new study by Karin Kitchens (Virginia Tech) and NaLette Brodnax (Georgetown University), “Race, School Discipline, and Magnet Schools,” published in AERA Open.

The “sustaining environments” hypothesis predicts that pre-K’s positive impacts on children are more likely to be sustained if reinforced by nurturing and stimulating environments K-12. Tulsa’s magnet middle schools fit that description. See a study by Karin Kitchens (Virginia Tech), William Gormley (Georgetown), and Sara Anderson (Child Trends), “Do better schools help to prolong early childhood education effects?” published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

CROCUS celebrates two decades of Pre-K research in Tulsa

December 2020— In the fall of 2001, Georgetown University’s Center for Research on Children in the U.S. (CROCUS) launched a pioneering study of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s universal pre-K program, which provides high-quality pre-K to all 4-year-olds irrespective of income. (see a one page summary of that research). Journal articles, policy briefs, and news reports can be found (above) on this website.

Center for Research on Children in the U.S. (CROCUS) – Since its founding in 2001, CROCUS faculty and students have worked on a variety of projects relating to children and public policy. Many of them have focused on early childhood education, including pre-K, child care, and Head Start. A joint venture between the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Department of Psychology at Georgetown University, CROCUS is directed by William Gormley (University Professor, Professor of Government & Public Policy) and Deborah Phillips (Professor of Psychology). Over the years, funding has come from: the Foundation for Child Development, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts (through NIEER), the Spencer Foundation, the Stranahan Foundation, the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation, and the National Institute for Child Health and Development.