Menu Close

Recent early education news and updates

In the News

Preschool — The solution to black achievement gap?


May 24, 2016
AccessAssessmentEconomics and FinanceOutcomes
Mackenzie Ryan
The Des Moines Register

It’s mid-morning, and Evevett Fugate has been up all night. She takes her youngest, Ovalia, to preschool class for 4-year-olds, then picks her up at 11 a.m.

Although Fugate’s overnight work allows her to attend school activities, she has enrolled Ovalia in early childhood programs since age 2 because she knows how vital is it for children to get an early jump on kindergarten, whether it be learning letters or picking up social skills.
 
“I always told my grandma that if I ever had kids, that my focus would be on them the way she focused on me,” Fugate said.
 
Unlike Ovalia, about one-third of Iowa children — many of them from lower-income and minority families — do not attend any form of preschool. They often enter kindergarten already trailing their classmates academically, not knowing their numbers, how to tie their shoes, or that sentences flow left to right.
 
For many minority children, the learning gap will only grow wider throughout their education, stunting their earning potential as adults. “It’s definitely a tragedy,” said Betty Andrews, the president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP.

 
Iowa’s largest and most pervasive achievement divide is between black children and their white peers, statewide education data show — a gap that’s existed for decades in Iowa and shows little to no improvement.