Pre-k for all?

Education reform has proven unpopular with teachers’ unions, a key Democratic constituency, so President Obama’s second-term education agenda will focus on preschool and college aid, writes Joy Resmovits on the Huffington Post. “Teacher quality measures have all but dropped off the administration’s billboard agenda . . .  and after Tuesday’s speech, both teachers’ unions issued effusive statements.”

Amy Wilkins, a vice president of the Education Trust, criticized the president’s call for two years of pre-kindergarten for all students.  “The equity agenda was missing from the first term and it’s also missing from the second term,” she said.

” . . . the thing for me that’s missing is the recognition that some schools, some families, some kids need more help than others,” Wilkins said. “When we have a tight budget … poor kids need pre-K first.”

Obama said high-quality preschool saves $7 for every dollar spent. That number comes from the Perry Preschool Project in the 1960s, which involved poor black children with low IQs  and dismal prospects and included weekly family visits by well-educated teachers. (The Perry kids did poorly in school and life, but not as poorly as the control group.) Head Start hasn’t produced lasting benefits. Preschool programs for middle-class kids do not improve school readiness.

Obama’s plan is expected to resemble a Center for American Progress proposal to provide two years of pre-kindergarten to every child, “paid for with federal funds matched by state spending, to the tune of $10,000 per child,” reports Resmovits. That could cost up to $100 billion. “It is unclear how the president would pay for the program while not increasing the deficit, as he promised Tuesday,” she concludes.

First, fix Head Start, argues Education Gadfly.

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Comments

  1. Once again our federal government doesn’t realize that not every kid is ready for the ‘Pre-K’ environment. At the age of 4-5, some kids (regardless of ethnic/socio-economic background) are just NOT ready emotionally to handle nursery school and Kindergarten.

    It’s like the age cutoff limits for entering first grade…students who are born before August 1st in any given year are going to have an advantage over a student who is born after August 1st in terms of physical and emotional growth (as a general rule).

  2. Crimson Wife says:

    Reminds me of the famous saying that the definition of insanity is to do more of the same thing that’s not working. K-12 education needs to be fixed before we start extending it to preschoolers.

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      Yes, this.

      K-12 and higher ed are failing large chunks of our population and are incredibly wasteful both financially and in human terms – but lets expand it!

      God help us. What a bunch of idiots.

      The tell is in this part…… “paid for with federal funds matched by state spending, to the tune of $10,000 per child,” reports Resmovits. That could cost up to $100 billion. “It is unclear how the president would pay for the program while not increasing the deficit, as he promised Tuesday,” she concludes.

      because our broke ass states, who are unable to adequately fund public employee pension programs, will be able to come up with the matching funds even on the slim to none chance that Obama can get congress to pay the federal share.

      Head start is just another employment and daycare program dressed up as benefiting children when its purpose is to benefit adults.

      Obama is truly the president for all those who believe unicorns can poop jellybeans.

      • Be careful! That last sentence alone probably has you on some sort of watch list now. Good luck flying next time you try to get on a plane… The TSA will make special note to ‘randomly’ pull you over for a ‘full cavity search’.

  3. Why bother with improvements when you can advocate pure & simple handouts to the teacher unions, and make the evil Republicans look like child-hating meanies at the same time? Improvements are hard, and what’s a few hundred billion between friends?

  4. Many countries don’t start formal schooling until 1st grade. What ever became of parents really raising their own kids? You know, talking to them, reading to them? My MIL who had a HS education taught all of her 9 children basic reading, writing and numbers.

    • The idea is to make things so that they aren’t allowed to anymore. You have to send them to government schooling before they can even walk! It’s never too early to learn propoganda. Teach the kids, change the world (in your favor).