In another thread, we had a kindergarten teacher say this (bold mine):
I am a kindergarten teacher in a school where the vast majority of
students live below the poverty line. My Head Start pre-K graduates not
only have pre-academic skills, but, more importantly, understand how to
listen to a story as a member of a group, how to solve interpersonal
problems (i.e., how to take turns with a special object), have greater
mathematical understanding, and have a far greater vocabulary in both
their birth languages and English.
I have NEVER questioned the value of
Pre-K. Frankly it's a luxury to be able to do so.
I don't have any
idea which I'll vote for, 1A, or 1B, because I've been too busy teaching
to do my research, but I'll definitely be voting for something that
increases access for the families I serve, who, although working and
contributing in so many ways, cannot access quality early childhood
education for their children.
Followed by SWK who said this (bold mine):
K Teacher, there is no doubt that children who come to kindergarten from
a high-quality preschool are better prepared for kindergarten. That is
not up for debate. The issue that I raised is that that preparation
fades by 3rd or 4th grade, hence the "fadeout."
I agree with Lynn
that the point of providing subsidized preschool for low-income children
is not to better prepare them for kindergarten per se but to better
prepare them for lifelong learning. And there's no evidence that
participation in high-quality preschool has any effect whatsoever on
long-term outcomes for the participants.
I think we would all be
better served if we provided health care, dental care, and nutrition for
low-income children and job-training and parental support for their
parents. As Lynn wisely points out, we need to address the causes and
effects of poverty. Preschool is no silver bullet despite how much
advocates infer that it is.
Poverty, my friends, is the issue.
We can have 6-hour "academic days"for preschoolers (that would be 1B). Add in (at some point) wrap-around services.
But it will NOT solve the problem. Some help might be better than none, for sure.
But then again, help from birth to five might be better than none (that would be 1A).
Which is better? Which will serve more low-income tots? Who knows? The answer is... no one.
But we need to stop thinking it's about "education" and not about society.