Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Eliminating the Achievement Gap
In the StarTribune today there was an editorial concerning early childhood education, budget cuts, and the Federal Reserve. Evidently, there was an early childhood "experiment" where 90 low-income, children of color were exposed to a quality preschool program. When third-graders, these children were tested in a pool of chldren in reading. Those that attended the preschool program tested at levels equal to all third grade children. Those low-income, children of color who did not attend the preschool program tested significantly below the average. Unfortunately, our governor is looking to cut funding to the types of programs that aid our at-risk preschoolers. If, as a state, and a nation, we truly want to cut the "achievement gap" that occurs between white, middle-class students, and minority, low-income students, we have seen persuasive evidence that preschool is the place to do it. If we are not convinced that we should spend the money simply to help these children, there is also persuasive evidence that preschool funding leads to cost-savings for the government down the line, in excess of the cost of funding at-risk preschool-age children (see: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/90704524.html?elr=KArksc8P:Pc:UthPacyPE7iUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr).