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Pre-K Programming That Closes Gaps

by Dwyer Gunn

The Week

Article excerpt

Early childhood education matters — here's how to make it great

The CAP report estimates that a high-quality, universal pre-K program would essentially close the reading achievement gap and dramatically reduce the math achievement gap (by 48 percent for black children and 78 percent for Hispanic kids). And politicians across the spectrum have hopped on the early education bandwagon.

Our take

Helping Low Income Students Catch Up Before Kindergarten

There are big, and widening, gaps between the educational achievement of students in high and low income households. New research suggests that high-quality, pre-K education could have a positive impact on closing these gaps. What role might high-quality preschool programming play in leveling the playing field for low income students in your district?

The CAP report suggests that universal pre-K schooling could close the gaps significantly, particularly for low-income minority children. A major challenge, though, is ensuring that the programming is of high quality. Their estimate: only 10 percent of these pre-K students were enrolled in high-quality programs. There are some examples cited, though, of states that are having some success and some best practices that could be incorporated to boost quality and outcomes. Inequity is a deep social problem, with complex roots and solutions. EdTech and better IT can help level the playing field.