Early-Childhood Education, Obvious? Yes. Moving In The Right Direction? Maybe Not…

This week’s TIME column looks at early-childhood education.  Some data being released next week is cause for concern. But more generally the issue is pretty obvious, so why is it so hard?

When a little girl, who I’ll call Tina, arrived in a pre-kindergarten program in Washington, D.C. she was unable to recognize any sounds or letters.  By the time she left for kindergarten she knew all her letters and more sounds than D.C.’s standards require. Now, six years later, Tina’s teachers say she’s “on a roll” in school.

There are plenty of legitimate debates about what works in education, but the importance of early-childhood education is not one of them. High-quality early-childhood programs help kids in school and in life. Why? Research shows that good programs can improve a variety of outcomes and University of Chicago economist and Nobel Laureate James Heckman points out that dollars invested early are higher leverage than later remediation. But it’s also common sense. Tina’s teachers say that until she learned behavioral and participatory skills she was simply unable to engage with and benefit from instruction at school. It’s good for parents, too, because good programs teach them about how to be involved and advocate for their child’s education.

So why aren’t we ensuring that more students and families at-risk of school failure get this sort of support? A forthcoming report from the National Institute for Early Education Research…

Early-childhood education can be expensive.  But you know what’s free?  Clicking here to read the entire column via this link.

One Reply to “Early-Childhood Education, Obvious? Yes. Moving In The Right Direction? Maybe Not…”

  1. If indeed it is agreed that education should start earlier than it courrently does in the US, why isn’t that being done? One mentions cost. Certainly cost keeps increasing, but if we are, as many in both sides of congress, the richest country on earth, why is it that we cannot afford to educate all our children equally, the way many countries do today, and why do we fail to begin earlier?

    Is it that taxes are wasted on useless endeavors? Or, by refusing to pay taxes, or to raise them, we curtail opportunities that the country’s wealth ought to enable us to support?

    Has anybody bothered to evaluate whether things have improved over the last 50 years, during which the country’s wealth has certainly grown spectacularly?

    Let’s be honest with ourselves and support education for our children and for everybody else’s children. I just read in one blog that $1 invested in education produces a return 10 times greater than the investment.

    Let us support education, as we surely can, for every American child, and we will all reap the benefits.

    Rene Pouteau / Tutor Doctor

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