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Preschool Matters Today

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Avoiding the “Poverty Trap”

November 9, 2009

Poverty is a problem in America, and it is a more serious problem here than in many other nations including some with average incomes considerably below ours. However, it is not the only problem in America, nor is it the sole cause or even most important cause of our student achievement problem. Nevertheless, our debates…

How the Fade-out Myth Gets Perpetuated

November 2, 2009

Last week, the Associated Press (AP) reported on an evaluation of Tennessee’s state-funded pre-K program commissioned by that state’s Comptroller’s office (See, for example, Memphis Daily News, “Report: Tenn. Pre-K Not Effective After Second Grade” ). As the headline indicates, the report is being widely cited as finding that pre-K has no lasting impact. This would be dismaying if true, because Tennessee has…

A Tense Year for Flu Watchers in Early Care and Education

October 30, 2009

If you’re a parent or pre-K provider, sizing up the flu threat this year is a bit like watching that troubling pattern on the weather radar. You hope it doesn’t develop into a full-fledged storm and if it does, you hope it doesn’t blow your way. Seasonal flu has always been a worry for pre-K…

Yet More Evidence: It’s Time to Strengthen Math, Science in Pre-K

October 23, 2009

Let’s face it: Math and science are about more than counting and recognizing shapes, even for 3- and 4-year-olds! The pre-K crowd is curious about exploring everyday math and science and comes to preschool armed with basic concepts. Young children create patterns with different colored materials, build towers with blocks and note that one tower…

What’s the Alternative to Spanking?

September 17, 2009

Most of us have witnessed young children being spanked by an angry parent and wondered if it was really called for. Findings from a Duke University study suggest that spanking children at age 1 predicts aggressive behavior problems at age 2 and is linked to lower mental development test scores at age 3. Lisa Berlin…

Ted Kennedy: Champion of Early Care and Education

August 28, 2009

Senator Kennedy leaves behind a towering legacy of fighting for children’s healthy development: “Were it not for Kennedy’s unwavering commitment to improving the lot of young children, we likely would have far less federal support for young children’s development across the board,” said NIEER Co-Director Steve Barnett. Which leaves us all with the question: Where do…

Alison Gopnik on Young Children’s Intelligence and the Role of Play

August 17, 2009

A fascinating piece in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine by Berkeley psychologist Alison Gopnik details recent studies showing that not only do children possess powerful learning abilities at very young ages but by their preschool years, they are capable of using probabilities to learn how things work. Findings such as these need to be cast in…

Teaching Science: For Students and Teachers

July 7, 2009

According to an article in The Sacramento Bee, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes $33 million in stimulus monies to develop paid research positions in the sciences. For the next two summers, these positions will be available for university students and science teachers. The Sacramento Bee states, “the goal is to fuel the economy…

Anchorage School District Banks on Preschool to Boost Graduation Rates

June 30, 2009

With an eye towards boosting high school graduation rates, the Anchorage School District plans for its share of stimulus funding include adding preschool. According to a June 25 editorial in the Anchorage Daily News, the district “will begin offering preschool classes in parts of town with the biggest need, and where there are schools with…

Let’s Keep the Juggernaut Rolling

June 5, 2009

It seems like everyone wants targeted pre-K for poor kids, now that all kids might get it. Case in point – Chester Finn’s inaccurate and exaggerated attack on those who seek a high quality education for all of America’s children in Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut. Finn builds a case for targeted programs based on errors,…