Tag Archives: improved

Universal Preschool Promises Like Harold Hill's Shiny New Trombones

I was never really big into the whole preschool thing. My parents decided not to enroll me anywhere before kindergarten. So maybe I’m biased a little bit, but the piece “Does Universal Preschool Improve Learning? Lessons from Georgia and Oklahoma” by Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation really shoots holes in many of the arguments for expanding early childhood education. Apparently, the idea that universal preschool gives kids an accelerated start into improved learning just doesn’t bear out on any large scale. Especially when you look at the Sooner State (and I think you ought to look at it sooner rather than later): More than a decade after offering students uni­versal preschool, neither Oklahoma nor Georgia has shown impressive progress in students’ academic achievement, as measured by the National Assess­ment of Educational Progress. In fact, in Oklahoma, fourth-grade reading test scores have declined since 1998 when the state first implemented universal preschool. Say what? Well, I guess you shouldn’t be too surprised — if you’ve been following what I say for any length of time. Like several months ago, when I pointed out what the brilliant Krista Kafer said about the overblown promises of government preschool pushers. They may not […]

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Evidence from D.C. Shows Need to Improve Focus on School Accountability

There’s a great story in the Washington Post today about the positive impacts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability on poor and needy students in and around our nation’s capital (H/T Joanne Jacobs): Since enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, students from poor families in the Washington area have made major gains on reading and math tests and are starting to catch up with those from middle-class and affluent backgrounds, a Washington Post analysis shows. The achievement gap between economic groups, long a major frustration for educators, has narrowed in the region’s suburban schools since President Bush signed the law in 2002, according to Maryland and Virginia test data. In Montgomery County, for instance, students in poverty have earned better scores on Maryland’s reading test in each of the past five years, slicing in half the 28 percentage-point gulf that separated their pass rate from the county average. They also have made a major dent in the math gap. In Fairfax County, another suburban academic powerhouse, such students have slashed the achievement gaps on Virginia tests. Now, my friends in the Education Policy Center tell me that NCLB has some problems and flaws that need to be […]

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