First off, don’t think you have to pay good money to read yesterday’s big Wall Street Journal article on universal preschool. It’s all here for free (As States Tackle Poverty, Preschool Gets High Marks).
Once there, you’ll see that the piece deals more forthrightly than most with questions about the hype surrounding UPK, and brings up the often-ignored issue of Head Start.
(If UPK is such a great and transformative idea -- so much so that Hillary Clinton wants to nationalize it -- how come Head Start hasn’t done the trick and is being bypassed?)
The article also highlights the role of the Pew Charitable Trust, which is paying for programs, research, and advocacy efforts that include NIEER, the Hechinger Institute’s work on early education, etc. (Think Gates and small schools seven years ago and you get the idea of what Pew is trying to do here -- and can probably imagine some of the questions that should come up.)
Take note also of how the piece ends with a warning: “There’s a great danger here that people are going to rush out and with blind enthusiasm endorse very superficial programs,” says one economist who has studied the impact of preschool programs.
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