A Matter Of Opinion

Quality Counts


(Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich talked with children in the West Central Community Center Headstart in March. S-R archive photo by Jesse Tinsley.)

From our editorial today:

States pondering the best way to devise early childhood education ought to look at two recent studies. They conclude, in essence, that if high quality isn't the focus, then don't bother.

In a study published Friday in the journal Science, Georgetown University researchers found improved cognitive skills in students who attended prekindergarten and Head Start programs in Tulsa, Okla., public schools. That sets up those students for success in math, reading and writing. Oklahoma leads the nation in access to public schools for 4-year-olds, and those students develop beyond what would be expected through aging.

Plus, researchers found that Oklahoma's programs somewhat offset traditional socioeconomic factors that cause disadvantaged children to lag behind others.

Those findings ought to be an eye-opener in California, where a new Rand Corp. study found that the quality of that state's preschool offerings falls short and the children of low-income families suffer most.

"Few of the centers we studied provide the types of high-quality early learning experiences that can help prepare children to succeed when they enter school," wrote the Rand study's lead author, Lynn Karoly.

What was your first experience of education like? How did it matter later on?




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