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October 17, 2001

Early Childhood Educational Intervention and Long-term Developmental Outcomes—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(15):1835-1836. doi:10.1001/jama.286.15.1833

In Reply: We agree with Dr Thompson that one should be cautious in drawing causal inferences about the effects of early childhood program participation in our study. As we noted, biases due to nonrandom program assignment are a threat to the validity of the estimated effects. However, based on the matched-group alternative-intervention design, the pattern of findings, and the many statistical analyses we performed to address alternative explanations, we are confident that participation in the Child-Parent Center (CPC) Program from ages 3 to 9 years was the source of the group differences at age 20 years. Preschool participation demonstrated the greatest impact. Relative to the comparison group, it was associated with a 29% higher rate of high school completion, a 33% lower rate of juvenile delinquency, and a 41% lower rate of special education placement.