Early Childhood Education
Preschool education has been in the news lately, so I was interested to find this article in the Chicago Tribune. Here’s a word of warning about "universal" versus targeted preschool programs:
Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California-Berkeley, said he feared focusing on universal prekindergarten?making preschool a middle-class entitlement?could divert help from low-income families that need it most.
"Why would we use scarce public dollars to subsidize all families if we know the biggest impact is with poor kids?" he said.
The article quotes James Heckman, too; Heckman is a Nobel laureate in economics who’s found that early childhood education has a large positive effect on social and academic outcomes when kids get older. I was disappointed that the article doesn’t mention Heckman’s support for voucher programs that would allow parents to choose between competing preschools. Just because the state subsidizes preschool for low-income children, that doesn’t mean it needs to reinvent the wheel and actually operate preschools, too.