An experimental preschool program for low-income students, funded by Goldman Sachs, is drawing criticism. The program is geared toward helping underprivileged students in Utah, but it makes money for investors based on the number of “at-risk” students who avoid special education in kindergarten.
While some are calling the program a success, reporter Nathaniel Popper’s article, “Success Metrics Questioned in School Program Funded by Goldman,” uncovered questions regarding whether the program actually achieved the success that was claimed.
Nine early-education experts who reviewed the program for The New York Times quickly identified a number of irregularities in how the program’s success was measured, which seem to have led Goldman and the state to significantly overstate the effect that the investment had achieved in helping young children avoid special education.
Goldman said its investment had helped almost 99 percent of the Utah children it was tracking avoid special education in kindergarten. The bank received a payment for each of those children.