The latest study on the effects of early childhood education followed over 1,000 program members for almost three decades. The test group were all statistically more likely to have major problems in life and school. Poor, from urban Chicago, and mostly minority.
This newest study, published by the journal, Science, concludes that the benefits of pre-school education last at least into the third decade of life. Better jobs, less drugs, and fewer arrests. Why in the world is Minnesota still one of the few states that do not fund all day kindergarten and targeted pre-kindergarten programs? If we are really trying to close the achievement gap, why aren't we getting kids ready for school instead of spending millions to try and catch them up later with remedial programs?
The study's lead researcher, Arthur Reynolds of the University of Minnesota, said the differences between the groups are meaningful and translate to big savings to society for kids who attended preschool.
Reynolds estimates that the pre-school programs cost $9,000 per student each year. Expensive indeed. However, he estimates that it saves $90,000 in reduced incarceration, increased earnings and tax revenue, and on and on.
The savings, and common sense morality of getting kids ready for school is obvious. Early intervention gets kids prepared and excited for school. Later on remediation is painful, discouraging, and even more expensive. Why would anyone stand in the way of this? Who is standing in the way of this.
For the uninitiated in Bachmann lore, she started her career in local school politics, working like crazy to get Christianity back to its rightful place in our public schools. You'll see how this all comes together.
Cross posted at MNProgressiveProject
Believe it or not, there is bi-partisan support for early education. The new federal race to the top focuses on early childhood education. Mark Dayton's education policy spot lights early childhood education. With the evidence obvious, bi-partisan, local, state, and national support for early education, why was there not one mention of it in this years Republican education policy bill?
Who is more powerful than everyone? It will surprise no one that the people standing the way are Michelle Bachmann's anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-public education team. In fact, the people standing in the way of Minnesota education are the ones who helped launch Michelle Bachmann's career.
The group started out as Maple River Education Coalition, then became EdWatch, and are now, Ed Liberty Watch. They were the incubator for Bachmann's career and ultra-conservative theocrat Allen Quist is their curriculum editor. One of the co-founders, Julie Quist, became a Bachmann staffer. Another board member, Michael Chapman, now fights to protect our Christian values in public education. Minnesota State Senator Dave Thompson (R-36), was also a board member. Ed Liberty Watch doesn't just think early education is a waste, they actually claim it makes things worse! That's right, getting a kid ready for school actually makes them worse.
In fact, there is significant evidence that they are associated with significant academic and emotional harm.
The above quote is, of course, insane. Along with the Science journal study cited in this post, you can see many more studies and support for early education HERE
Why do these right wing, theocrats, have more power than our Governor, the business community,Republicans, and Democrats? They are blocking actual education reform out of their own religious crusades. If there are any teachers out there, you might enjoy reading some of Allen Quist's lesson plans. I can't imagine his classes to be too engaging.
“If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.” — Senator Michele Bachmann, speaking at EdWatch National Education Conference, November 6, 2004.
80 percent of the preschool group finished high school versus 75 percent of the others;
• Nearly 15 percent of the preschool group attended a four-year college, versus 11 percent of the others;
• 28 percent of the preschool group had skilled jobs requiring post-high school training versus 21 percent of the others;
• Average annual adult income for the preschool group was about $11,600 versus $10,800 for the others. The low average incomes include zero earnings for those in prison and close to that for adults who were still in college or studying elsewhere.
• 14 percent of the preschool group had abused drugs in adulthood versus 19 percent of the others;
• 48 percent of the preschool group had been arrested in adulthood and 15 percent had been incarcerated, versus 54 percent of the others arrested and 21 percent incarcerated.