The spotlight has been shining brightly on early education these past couple of years. And we think this focus is absolutely necessary. After all, any education reform effort that does not address early education is bound to have a limited effect on improving student outcomes. President Obama said in his most recent State of the Union address, “In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children…studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”
It is increasingly clear that high-quality preschool can advance student outcomes by leaps and bounds, but there are still questions as to how to forecast, evaluate and extend effectiveness in preschool programs, as well as how best to increase the number of high-quality preschool programs. This post is the first in a series focused on the data that drives high-quality preschools forward.
The availability of data on preschool impact; the publicity surrounding universal versus targeted approaches; the scrutiny of what it means to be a high-quality program is unfolding against a very important environment of economic, scholastic and congressional opportunity. If the next generation of high-quality preschools is organized and measured in ways that support effective early education, we might finally be able to do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.
Upcoming posts in the preschool series:
• Changing the access and quality conversation
• Data and Training: Evaluating Preschool Effectiveness
• Improving Preschool Effectiveness Through Data