Monday, August 25, 2008

The Wall Street Journal reports preschool is not for everyone one

A column in The Wall Street challenges the claim that preschool is a good universal solution. In Protect Our Kids from Preschool Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell write:

"Advocates and supporters of universal preschool often use existing research for purely political purposes," says James Heckman, a University of Chicago Noble laureate in economics whose work Mr. Obama and preschool activists routinely cite. "But the solid evidence for the effectiveness of early interventions is limited to those conducted on disadvantaged populations."

and later add:

In the last half-century, U.S. preschool attendance has gone up to nearly 70% from 16%. But fourth-grade reading, science, and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) -- the nation's report card -- have remained virtually stagnant since the early 1970s.

I liked this explanation of the problems with preschool:

If anything, preschool may do lasting damage to many children. A 2005 analysis by researchers at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, found that kindergartners with 15 or more hours of preschool every week were less motivated and more aggressive in class. Likewise, Canada's C.D. Howe Institute found a higher incidence of anxiety, hyperactivity and poor social skills among kids in Quebec after universal preschool.
The only preschool programs that seem to do more good than harm are very intense interventions targeted toward severely disadvantaged kids. A 1960s program in Ypsilanti, Mich., a 1970s program in Chapel Hill, N.C., and a 1980s program in Chicago, Ill., all report a net positive effect on adult crime, earnings, wealth and welfare dependence for participants. But the kids in the Michigan program had low IQs and all came from very poor families, often with parents who were drug addicts and neglectful.


Young children do better when they are with their family, all day long.

I liked Valerie Bonham Moon's response:

As it is, I think that the money proposed for mandatory preschool would be better spent on existing K - 12 schooling. Preschool as a part of the public education system …
* will divert funds from private preschools that already have a structure in place, but who then lose their customers to the ‘free’ programs
* will also divert funds from the rest of the public school system
* or will collect funding from taxpayers after taxes are raised to cover the additional cost of lowering the age of compulsory school attendance


Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Alasandra said...

Great post.

Henry Cate said...


I wish more people would realize that children need to spend time with their family.