We Must Start Sooner

A new report released by the Rand California Preschool Study reveals that the children who most need early-childhood education (i.e., pre-school) are least likely to receive it. Only about fifteen percent of low-income children of color are enrolled in high quality programs, as summarized in this article by the Associated Press.

“We can’t close the achievement gap unless we close the preparedness gap before kindergarten,” said Debra Watkins, founder of the California Alliance of African American Educators. “As a former high school teacher of nearly 30 years, I certainly see what happens (to students who) do not have high quality preschool by the time they reach high school, where we have a dropout problem.”

I wholeheartedly agree. I’m convinced that so much brain development (including IQ development) happens in the early years. Frankly, I am an advocate of subsidized, high-quality education as soon as children are old enough to enter any type of child-care situation.

I find this excerpt particularly interesting:

“The study also found that parental education played a role: 45 percent of children whose mothers didn’t finish high school were enrolled in preschools. Meanwhile there was an 80 percent enrollment for children whose mothers have a graduate or professional degree.”

It’s such a clear indication of one of the ways in which poverty perpetuates itself. To stop the cycle, we must start sooner.

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