The United States is not known for its stellar record on preschool. We’re in the bottom half of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Starting Well Index,” which benchmarks 45 nations on the quality, availability, and affordability of preschool. This, in spite of a robust research base and growing consensus on the value of early education for children and society.
In The State of Preschool 2015, a yearbook published by the National Institute for Early Education Research, at Rutgers University, Nevada ranked 40 in access for four-year-olds and 39 in state spending.
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The subject line was irresistible: “Early Childhood Pushes Up.” The Teachers College Record, a hotbed of radical critique, had delivered another gem to my inbox. Here was a scathing commentary on Obama’s “Cradle-to-Career” education policy.
“Wish you hadn’t moved to Australia,” I emailed Jeanne Marie Iorio, a senior lecturer at Victoria University, in Melbourne. She’s co-author of the aforementioned work, with Clifton Tanabe, who hasn’t left the United States, but offers perspective from the periphery, at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Their thesis is sound: School readiness, a state we so avidly seek, has created a chain . . . Read full article →
Parents have always taken pride in their offspring’s precociousness, a tendency against which Jean-Jacques Rousseau railed in Emile, the bible of the “New Education,” published in mid-18th-century France. The Enlightenment philosopher introduced formal reading at the advanced age of 12. Mon Dieu!
We’ve come a long way, baby—helped by the likes of Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, a proponent of dialogic reading, as well as education policies that have run roughshod over children, squashing their innate curiosity and zest for learning.
Nancy Bailey, author of the book Misguided Education Reform, is a veteran teacher who left the . . . Read full article →