NEW BRUNSIWCK, N.J. (AP) — A new study finds that children who attend state-funded preschools in New Jersey’s poorest cities outperform peers who don’t through fifth grade.

The National Institute for Educational Research at Rutgers University has been following children who attended the preschools.

The kids who went to the preschools had previously been found to have performed better in kindergarten and second grade.

The new report finds they do better on standardized tests and are less likely to be classified as special education students.

Advocates say the results give the state a good reason to expand the free preschools. There was a plan in 2008 to offer the free schools to low-income 3- and 4-year-olds who do not live in the state’s poorest cities, but it has never been funded.

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