Early childhood education has many benefits and there is the potential for many significant outcomes if universal preschools were put into place. Some feel that children who start kindergarten without previously attended preschool sometimes lack certain skills such as social and communication skills and an inability to follow routines. There were also studies done that found attending preschool could help to close the achievement gap in the grade school years. A child’s first few years of life are most important, and they absorb the most during those years. By providing universal preschool, all children would be benefiting, especially those who are in at-risk families or part of the lower class. As a society, we have a responsibility to help the children in our communities and provide them with the education they need in order to help them succeed in life.
Statement of Issue: Many minority children and children from low-income families enter kindergarten without the academic skills they need to succeed. Math and reading abilities at kindergarten entry are powerful predictors of later school success. Research shows kids who start school already behind are unlikely to ever get caught up to standards. Hispanic and African American children are anywhere from 7 to 12 months behind in reading and 9 to 10 months behind on math when they enter kindergarten. Access remains extremely low to high-quality early education do to a couple of problems. First, rates of access to early education vary widely as a function of children’s socioeconomic backgrounds. Secondly, the quality of most early education programs is not high enough to substantially improve academic readiness. Considering the tremendous potential for high-quality preschool to improve children’s outcomes, this policy brief will consider how a universal publicly funded pre-kindergarten program in the United States could decrease both disparities in access to early learning and achievement gaps at kindergarten entry.
The first comprehensive overhauls of the Head Start standards were published in 1975. However, the Head Start standard was required to update in 2007 to assure they were align with the most recent Head Start reauthorization. Head Start is the nation’s largest pre- kindergarten program. The Head Start program has served 32 million students since 1965. In 1965 Head Start programs was a summer program throughout local public schools. Moving to a full year and full day program is one change that head start has made. The new proposed time for students in Head Start is 6hours per day and 180 days a year compared to students doing 3.5 hours a day and 125 days a year. Extending the day longer to me is an excellent change. Extending the day gives children
In the best of cases, the returns on a preschool education compared to the cost of enrollment is nearly seventeen times, an enormous benefit for a relatively low cost. (Schweinhart) This number comes from the results of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project, a 40 year long, completely comprehensive look into how the addition of a preschool education positively impacts students from low income, urban families. The findings included, among other things, a 14 percent employment rate increase and $5,000 average annual wage increase in children who were able to attend a preschool compared to their less educated peers. Other benefits included included an 11 percent increase in homeownership, 17 percent increase in the ability to own two or more automobiles, 26 percent higher likelihood to own a savings account, 35 percent decrease in violent crime, and a 27 percent increase in likelihood to have the custody of children. (Schweinhart) These numbers would seem to indicate that preschool enrollment is an incredible value for the health and stability of a community, however all of these benefits may take decades to fully
The achievement gap is a serious issue that schools everywhere face. Poor and impoverished students do not have access to the same educational amenities that more privileged students do, which puts them at a disadvantage in school. Since the achievement gap is created early on in a child’s life, Alberto Ochoa believes that preschool is the best way to stop the gap before it has the chance to form (1). It makes more sense to try stop the gap from happening, rather than doing damage control once the gap has already had time to form. Preventing the gap from forming means sending children to preschool so that they are both cognitively and emotionally prepared to succeed in kindergarten and throughout the rest of their educational careers. Unfortunately, not every parent is able to send their child to preschool. Taking inflation into account, the average cost to raise a child born in 2013 is estimated to be approximately $304,480 (Garth 1). This large figure only covers necessities: food, clothing, shelter. It is not surprising that many parents cannot spare the extra cost of sending their children to preschool. Universal preschool would allow children to attend preschool, even if their parents cannot afford it or they do not qualify for the government funded Head Start program (Greene 1). The numerous benefits of
The true long-term effectiveness of early intervention programs such as Head Start is difficult to measure. The “Early Children Education Program” paper by Janet Currie provides various studies to which all present either weak statistical significance or some other potential factors that may have influenced the long-term outcomes. This is mainly due to poorly designed studies such as non-randomization. Inconclusive evidence of a true long-term effect of early intervention hinders well-supported arguments for public policy to fund these programs.
Under a state funding formula adopted in 2008, the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), the Abbott Preschool Program was to be phased-in by 2014 to all children in an additional 84 high-poverty school districts, and to all low-income children in all other districts
The Heritage Foundation report noted that 45 early childhood education programs already existed, costing an estimated $45 million each year, and that many of the programs are “duplicative and ineffective, failing to serve the needs of children from low-income families” (Burke and Sheffield, 2013). In addition, the evidence showing that the public sector is a good provider of early childhood education is lacking. The 2001 Gilliam study reviewed state-run preschool programs and found that “less than half of the current state-funded preschool programs have, or are currently conducting, impact evaluations of the effectiveness of their programs” and that “of these
“Research shows that young children’s earliest learning experiences can have powerful long-term effects on their cognitive and emotional development, school achievement, and later life outcomes” (Mead, 2012). The literature reveals that a strong collection of research exists that indicates children who attend high-quality preschool programs have better health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes than those who do not
Preschool programs are designed specifically to make sure that children are ready for kindergarten and will be able to succeed in school by third grade. All preschool programs have three characteristics in common. They are governed by high program standards, are open to 3 and 4 year–olds, and focus on school readiness. The term universal preschool means that preschool programs are available to any child in a given state, regardless of family income, children’s abilities, or any other factors (Colker). Like Kindergarten in most states, the concept of the Universal Preschool Movement is to have a voluntary program, unlike compulsory elementary.
It is a well-known fact that low-income children are falling behind their high-income counterparts due to restricted access to high-quality preschools and education. "Researchers estimate that half of the achievement gap in high school can be attributed to children’s experiences before age 5” (Olinsky, 2014). Having access to high-quality preschools increases the likelihood that a low-income student will graduate from high school, attend college, and earn higher wages as an adult. Although forty states have already adopted federally funded preschools, this should be mandatory in all 50 states and be available to all children “regardless of their background, start on a more level playing field, thereby combat inequality for the next generation of Americans” and “will give all children more of a fair shot to realize the American Dream by working hard and playing by the rules” (Olinsky, 2014; Pazzanese,
Family structures have become more diverse in recent years; the two parent family is vanishing among families living in poverty. Therefore, early childhood intervention programs are needed to provide structure and guidance to children like Author who live in single parent homes. Policy makers must figure out how to expand these programs while preserving their quality. Early childhood programs will help to address economic disparities that arise from disadvantaged families. An early childhood program is the most promising social policy for combating this educational gap before children reach high school like Author. Policy expansions of these programs will allow neighborhood
Head Start has played a major role in fixating the attention of the Nation on the importance of early childhood development. Through a range of quality of services offered to young children, Head Start programs have had a dramatic impact on child development. Each child receives a variety of learning experiences to stimulate intellectual, social, and emotional development
Early education plays a key role in preventing educational deficits, not only among children from disadvantaged backgrounds but also for all children (Kornblun 2016). Research indicates
America greatly under-invest in early childhood education and, like so many political battles these days, the disparity between bipartisan support for preschool education programs and cutting thousands of kids from programs, such as, Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant programs (CCDBG) defies reason and common sense. There are those within our current political leadership that feel it should be left up to each individual state, as to how they want to distribute educational subsidies, leaving lower socioeconomic communities concerned with budget cuts and where they will be getting their funding from to educate their children; sending these neighborhoods in panic to find financial support elsewhere and without delay. These programs and other programs similar are in jeopardy of not receiving adequate backing as it will be left to each state to decide the importance of early childhood education and early intervention.