In response to the April 10 article, “Report: State dollars fall short for pre-K”: It is sad to hear that “an estimated 40 percent of kindergarten students are already behind their peers when they walk through the school doors on their first day.” And, “Those children are unlikely to ever catch up.”
I have to wonder when or if we are ever going to take the education of our children seriously. It is well documented that programs like Head Start and ECEAP are successful at ensuring children enter kindergarten on target and ready to learn. Unfortunately, these programs are only available to low-income children. There are also private high-quality pre-K programs to choose from if you can afford the expensive tuition. What about children from middle-income families? Don’t they deserve equal access to a high quality education?
I know there are people out there who believe it is the parent’s job to educate children before first grade and the state should stay out of it. In order to do that, you must assume that all parents have the time and knowledge to accomplish this task. If that was the case, 40 percent of kindergarten children would not be behind. Let’s get real for a moment. I encourage you to ask parents you know, “What skills and knowledge should children possess prior to entering kindergarten?” I think the variety of answers and the lack of consistency will shock you.
If we want children to be successful we must give them the tools they need to accomplish this. We must make education a priority.