The old adage that school starts earlier every year may be truer than you realize. Kindergarten is only required in eight states (Education Commission of the States, 2008), yet many families send their children essentially “early” to school. The reason for Kindergarten school enrollment may be based on childcare cost, the primary caregiver (re)entering the labor market, or the desire for your child to learn early skills which will contribute to a great, fulfilling productive education.
Those are the very reasons that Curran (2015) lists as reasons supporting universal preschool. Consider what Kindergarten enrollment has done for not just your child(ren), but your family. The ability to reprioritize your day, decreased costs associated with childcare, and a start to formal learning, all because of the availability of universal Kindergarten. What do you think about universal preschool?
You may think universal preschool already exists. Programs like Head Start (n.d.) receive a significant amount of good coverage. Head Start provides early intervention for students who may be at risk during formal K-12 schooling. But organizations such as Head Start are actual targets, low-income children, to boost their readiness for schools (n.d.). Does that narrow group actually hinder learning?
It is the targeting of low income to the exclusion of children from all walks of life that a recent study by Morgan (2019) revealed may deserve some revision. Morgan (2019) tells us that including all students in preschool increases the scores of the low-income student targeted by Head Start programs. With benefits that most can understand, you could predict that many would be in favor of adding universal preschool to the spectrum of public education. Public education is a topic that enjoys wide political support (Morgan, 2019).
Please reach out to your state leaders to share your support for universal preschool.
About the Office of Head Start. ACF. (n.d.). https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ohs/about.
Curran, F. C. (2015). Expanding Downward: Innovation, Diffusion, and State Policy Adoptions of Universal Preschool. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23(36/37), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v23.1688
Morgan, H. (2019). Does High-Quality Preschool Benefit Children? What the Research Shows. Education Sciences, 9(1), 19–19. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010019
State Statutes Regarding Kindergarten: Policies concerning district offering of and student attendance in full- and half-day kindergarten programs. Education Commission of the States. (2008, September). http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/78/60/7860.pdf.