Home > Uncategorized > We’re #24!!!

We’re #24!!!

August 31, 2012

Diane Ravitch’s blog this morning references a report on Pre-school education completed by the Economist magazine that rates countries on the quality of their pre-school programs. The United States is ranked #24.

I’ve been involved in public education for over 40 years and can recall reading about the importance of preschool education ever since I entered graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. Presidents from Nixon through Obama and governors of all stripes have extolled the virtues of early intervention. But where is the US in terms of the following elements that “leading countries” have in place for pre-school programming?

  • A comprehensive early childhood development and promotion strategy, backed up with a legal right to such education.
  • Universal enrolment of children in at least a year of preschool at ages five or six, with nearly universal enrolment between the ages of three and five.
  • Subsidies to ensure access for underprivileged families.
  • Where provision is privatised, the cost of such care is affordable relative to average wages.
  • A high bar for preschool educators, with specific qualification requirements. This is often backed up with commensurate wages, as well as low student-teacher ratio
  • A well-defined preschool curriculum, along with clear health and safety standards.
  • Clear parental involvement and outreach.
  • A broad socioeconomic environment that ensures that children are healthy and well- nourished when they enter preschool.

The answer is clear: we have no comprehensive ECE program; we do not have any universal enrollment in ECE programs; we offer no subsidies to ECE programs; we have no indexed ECE scale; we have no certification requirements for ECE; we have no defined preschool curriculum; we have no parental outreach plans in place; and we have no plan to ensure that all children are healthy and well nourished.

I will paraphrase a conclusion I’ve written before: raising taxes to improve the quality of life for children raised in poverty is not socialism— it is hard-headed capitalism. If we want to remain competitive in a world where the economy is based on life long learning we need to intervene early in the lives of the 20+% of our youth population that is being raised in poverty.
Categories: Uncategorized
%d bloggers like this: