In Education Week by Stanford professor Deborah Stipek:
“Is fade-out inevitable? No. Studies have shown definitively that investment in preschool can yield sustained effects and significant social and economic returns. But fade-out is common and remains a persistent reminder that simply providing preschool to low-income children is not sufficient to achieve long-term benefits.
If we want to sustain the effects of preschool, we need to look at what happens after children enter school. Clearly, the quality of schooling they receive in the early elementary grades matters. Poor instruction can undo the effects of high-quality preschool experiences. But instruction has to be more than good to sustain preschool effects; it has to build strategically on the gains made in preschool.”
And see these two summaries by the New America Foundation:
“The launch of Pre-K for All led to improved health outcomes for low-income children. That’s according to researchers at New York University who analyzed Medicaid data for New York City children who were eligible to enroll in free pre-K versus those who just missed the cutoff because of their age.
In a report released this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, using data from 2013 through 2016, researchers found that the children eligible for pre-K were more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with asthma or vision problems after the rollout of Pre-K for All. They were also more likely to have received immunizations or be screened for infectious diseases, both of which are requirements for enrolling in the city’s program.
Proper medical screening could have implications beyond physical well-being, the researchers suggest. Diagnosing and treating chronic health problems earlier could help students ‘cope with challenges, feel less frustrated or overwhelmed in the classroom, and communicate with peers and educators more effectively,’ the study found.”
You can find the Chalkbeat story here.
The authors of the report mentioned in the previous post below have a piece in this week’s NYT Sunday Review. See the whole article, but here is the conclusion:
“As encouraging as this new evidence is, we have a long way to go. Poor children still enter kindergarten nearly a year behind their richer peers. Even if school readiness gaps continue to narrow at the rate they did between 1998 and 2010, it would take another 60 to 110 years for them to be completely eliminated.
Changes in parenting are not going to be sufficient to sustain or speed this progress, although more paid leave would help. Economic inequality still constrains poor children’s horizons. Low-income and middle-class parents still struggle to find affordable, high-quality preschools. The elementary, middle and high schools that rich and poor students attend differ markedly in resources and quality. And it isn’t clear that the recent reductions in school readiness gaps will automatically translate into greater equality in high school, college and beyond.
If we don’t do something about these larger problems, the progress we have made toward equality in early childhood may prove only a brief respite from ever-widening educational inequality. ‘Goodnight Moon,’ for all its charm and power, is no substitute for comprehensive social policy.”
New York Times: https://go.edc.org/l5tu
“For decades, as wealthy parents invested more and more time and money on enrichment for their young children, students in poverty fell further and further behind.
New research, however, suggests that the trend is changing: The children starting their first days of kindergarten may arrive better prepared than prior generations—and students in poverty will arrive at less of a disadvantage compared with their wealthier peers.
Income and racial gaps in school readiness closed significantly between 1998 and 2010, according to studies in a special issue of AERA Open, a journal of the American Educational Research Association. …
The closing academic gaps … are ‘not because schools are getting more equal, but because something in early childhood is becoming more equal,’ Reardon said. ‘It would be great if you could have both, but we do have one.'”
Education Week: https://go.edc.org/u1i6
A chief benefit of blogs is the interactive dialogue they can support. With the Birth–3rd Learning Hub, I have an opportunity to test ideas with people who are deeply involved in doing Birth–3rd work. A few weeks ago I posted a number of “lessons” based on the work thus far, giving examples of each to illustrate the central take-away. Here is a summary of these five take-aways:
- Community- and Relationship-Building are Necessary but not Sufficient
- Attending to the Imbalance of Power Requires Care
- Partnerships Need a “Backbone”
- Birth—3rd Improvement Requires District Early Childhood Capacity
- An Important Balance: Strategy with an Eye towards Capacity-Building
I’m very interested in learning about any experiences you have had that either support or challenge any of the points I make in this post. I invite you to share them via the comment section below. I’ll draw on your feedback in future posts. If you prefer to communicate with me directly, just put “private” in your comment, and I won’t make it public. Or email jacobsondl at gmail.com. Thanks for your help.
The National Association of Elementary School Principals has published an ambitious vision of the principal’s role in PreK–3rd reform. This report, Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice, outlines six competencies that together form a comprehensive approach to leading early learning partnerships. This approach will require district support in addition to principal leadership. The full report fleshes out the competencies in helpful detail and includes descriptions of exemplary practice, questions for reflections, self-assessments, and links to tools and other resources. More to follow in a future post.
The PDF version of the report is free until November 15.