Georgia’s Preschool System Gets High Marks, proclaims the LA Times. Georgia provides full-day preschool to all four-year-olds, regardless of financial need. The program, which started in 1995, is very popular. But the academic gains fade away in a few years.
Although research shows clear academic gains through kindergarten and first grade, the advantages fade in second and third grade, said Gary Henry, a policy studies professor at Georgia State University who has been studying the state’s preschools since 1995. . .
Pat Willis, executive director of the Atlanta-based nonprofit Voices for Georgia’s Children, has concerns about the program’s effectiveness. Despite a threefold increase in 4-year-olds’ participation in preschool in recent years, the state has reaped few benefits on national assessments of students’ knowledge.
“Georgia really isn’t reading very well compared to the nation’s fourth-graders,” she said. “Surely we should be seeing a difference” by now.
Californians will vote June 6 for a $2.4 billion a year universal preschool measure that provides less for disadvantaged children than Georgia’s full-day program. It’s being sold to voters as a way to boost school achievement and lower the crime rate. It’s an empty promise.