- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Washington Times’ review of Chester E. Finn Jr.’s new book, “Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut,” failed to challenge the numerous and substantial inaccuracies throughout Mr. Finn’s broadside against high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all children (“A doubter in push for public preschool,” Plugged in, Tuesday).

More and more states are funding pre-K because there is solid evidence that a quality early education benefits children from every background. A recent study of Oklahoma’s pre-K program showed that the achievement gap for low-income children narrowed while middle-income children also made gains in early literacy, language and math skills. States including Michigan, South Carolina and West Virginia have documented similar positive effects.

Children are not the only ones who benefit. An investment in high-quality pre-K generates economic returns of up to $7 per dollar invested. These results explain why states including Alaska, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Texas have put more funding into pre-K programs for fiscal 2010 despite tight budgets.

The key fact — and the one Mr. Finn attempts to obscure — is that these benefits are produced only by high-quality pre-K programs, which too many American families cannot access or afford. That’s why the majority of the nation’s governors, along with leaders across the political spectrum, are committing precious public resources to address this urgent problem.

Pew is proud to support their efforts with rigorous research and effective advocacy to promote high-quality, voluntary pre-K and data-driven policy solutions to our nation’s educational and economic challenges.

SUSAN URAHN

Managing director

Pew Center on the States

Washington


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