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'Stone Soup,' Pre-K Edition

U.S. News & World Report -- Goldman Sachs drew criticism from an unexpected source last week – early childhood experts questioning the investment bank's role in financing a Utah preschool program. In 2013-14, Goldman Sachs and philanthropist J.B. Pritzker paid for 595 children to attend preschool. In return, the state of Utah agreed to pay the investors for every child from that group who avoided special education placement as a result of attending preschool. Of the 595 kids, 110 were identified as at-risk for needing special education, but only one received special education services in kindergarten. So the state of Utah paid the investors nearly $270,000. The problem, say early childhood experts, is that Utah's approach radically overestimated the savings in special education costs due to the preschool program – and, as a result, likely overpaid the investors.