These days, if kids learn all they really need to know in kindergarten, it means they’re a year behind their preschool-educated peers. Fortunately for children in NYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio managed to secure $300 million in state funding to provide free prekindergarten citywide. Although the mayor’s pre-K proposal carried the day, the public education debates in New York echo nationwide controversy over which policies promise the best long-term outcomes. Sociologists wonder, who benefits most from programs like Head Start?

Though policy debates continue, the positive impacts of preschool have been known for a long time. These programs prevent learning difficulties, promote healthy development, and decrease the likelihood of incarceration for urban and low-income kids.
One caveat to this trend, though: a rapid expansion in pre-K access might also mean increased misdiagnoses of ADHD in young children.

For more on how children’s mental health labels change when institutions change, check out this recent TSP Reading List post on autism.