Educational Supplement: the Value of Pre-K

My older sister went to pre-kindergarten; I didn’t (yes, that could explain A LOT). I had a vague idea of what preschool is, but if I had to describe the difference between it and, say, the average day care program, I’m not sure I could.  But the more I learned about early education and what it can do, the more it seems worth considering for a wider range of students.  If public education is one of the pillars of our democracy as a way to provide opportunities for all, then perhaps pre-education is as important a step as any.  That early interaction makes a significant difference as suggested by the Perry Preschool Study, which, now in its fourth decade, found “that adults at age 40 who had the preschool program had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than adults who did not have preschool.”

 

To read more about today’s guest, Sara Mead, and to read some of her articles, see her web page:

http://www.newamerica.net/people/sara_mead

 

To find out how your state ranks in terms of pre-K quality and funding, see this report from the National Institute for Early Education Research:

http://nieer.org/yearbook/pdf/yearbook.pdf

 

Here is the “Pre-K Curriculum Guide” published by the Al Shankar Institute which was referenced in today’s interview:

http://www.shankerinstitute.org/Downloads/Early%20Childhood%2012-11-08.pdf

 

And, just to recap the guests we’ve had as part of this ongoing education series:

 

Joel Klein, Chancellor of New York City Public Schools:

http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/mediarelations/ChancellorsBiography/Chancellors+Bio.htm

 

Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education at New York University

http://www.dianeravitch.com/

 

Paul Griffin, Founder of City at Peace

http://www.cpnational.org/ourhistory.htm

 

Howard Gardner, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education:

http://www.howardgardner.com/

 

Rafe Esquith, fifth grade teacher and founder of the Hobart Shakespeareans

http://www.hobartshakespeareans.org/

 

With $100 billion dollars being infused in the nation’s education system as part of the new economic stimulus plan, some of the ideas our guests have been kicking around are likely going to be put to the test, so to speak.  There is no shortage of opinion about these matters, which also means, we have no shortage of guests --- and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has no shortage of “advisors” (in any other department, those advisors might be called lobbyists).  Either way, stay tuned for more perspectives in the future!

 

-Ariana