The new push in education is pre-kindergarten. Pre-kindergarten classes are opening all across America. Some classes are controlled by income factors and others are required for all children. Elementary schools in my district now begin with the grade Pre-K. The Pre-K classes are controlled by social and income means. The idea of opening Pre-K classes is that children who do not receive a preschool education are behind when they begin school. However, research does not necessary support this idea.
There are research studies out there that show great gains with children who have attended preschool against children that have not attended preschool. However, the studies are conducted among low-income and poverty children. Research does not suggest that preschool children excel greatly over non-preschool children in the average income, middle class home.
Georgia and Oklahoma both have universal preschool. National research shows that these two states rank last in fourth grade reading test scores. International research also suggest that possibly mandatory preschool is not the solution to a better education. Thirty-two nations where compared on reading, math, and science scores. Countries where children begin school at an early age where not always at the top. In Finland, children must begin school at the age of seven. Finland was top in all subjects when comparing the 1999 TIMS results. Singapore, which does not have any early public education, also scored high. Sweden, with Europe’s most intensive early education programs, scored low.
While some research studies do indicate that a Pre-K education is beneficial for some children, no research indicates that all children should be required to attend a Pre-K class. I think the true idea behind the research is that naturally a Pre-K education is better than no education at all. Most children form low income and poverty conditions do not receive academic and educational support from home. Therefore, there is a need for the government to intervene. However, many other children receive adequate basic skills for beginning public education from their parents. So is it fair to say that these children would benefit more from attending a Pre-K class than from staying home with their parents?