Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Preschools -- Helpful to the Needy or Not?

President Obama, in recent talks, has strongly advocated preschools for all underserved four-year olds. At first blush, I was all in favor of it -- our own school district has a preschool for needy children that is free to the families, and I've seen first hand what those children learn, now much better they come to kindergarten than how I assume they would have arrived. But then the studies were reported, too, some saying that the gains those children make even out by third grade, that they are no more advanced than other children who did not have that advantage. Now, hey, that couldn't be right, could it? Or is it?

I think we need to see a full accounting of those studies. With our economy as it is, I doubt free preschools will find any traction. But we do need to know.