Georgia pre-k: Great return on the dollar, but do state lawmakers believe it?

 Georgia is hoping to win a new Race to the Top program for early learning that will enhance its pre-k program. (AJC file)

Georgia is hoping to win a new Race to the Top program for early learning that will enhance its pre-k program. (AJC file)

I just came from a meeting with state early childhood advocates, including Pat Willis, executive director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, Steve Dolinger, president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Bobby Cagle, commissioner of Bright from the Start-Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, and Stanley DeJarnett, former superintendent of Morgan County Schools and a member of the Vision for Public Education in Georgia, a joint project of the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association.

They talked about the return on money invested into pre-k, with Willis noting that one analysis contends the investment in early learning can pay off more in economic development than an auto plant. “There aren’t any do-overs in early childhood learning,” she said. “If you miss the boat, it is going to cost you more later.”

Voices has declared this Georgia Pre-k week and has commitments from 107 lawmakers to visit pre-ks to better understand that the lottery-funded program is not “glorified” babysitting but a foundational educational component.

The tours are a pre-emptive strike against further cuts to pre-k this next year, as the state again confronts slumping lottery returns. (The Georgia Lottery funds HOPE and pre-k.) Now, about 60 percent of eligible 4-year-olds in Georgia attend a pre-k in either a public school or a private setting on lottery dollars.

The advocates want the AJC  to write about the value of early childhood education. I see the value in early childhood education, but I am not sure that view is widely held in the Legislature. The research is consistent that early childhood learning is a boon to low-income kids, but not as essential to middle and upper income children whose own parents and homes provide education-rich environments.

That distinction is one reason why some lawmakers are skeptical. Their reasoning is that their kids didn’t go to pre-k and did fine in school.

And that was probably true because their kids had parents who read to them and talked to them. But, as Cagle noted, low-income kids get far less exposure to language and arrive at school at a disadvantage as a result. (He cited a sign he saw in a child care center that said,  “Ask me about my diaper change,” an effort to prod parents to even talk to their infants.)

Among the differences cited by the research:

  • A  middle-income child  enters first grade with about 1,000 hours of one-on-one picture book reading time with adults,  compared with a child from a low-income family, who averages less than 100 hours.
  • First graders from lower-income families have a vocabulary half the size of children from higher-income families.
  • By age 3, children in low-income families have heard one-third as many words as children in middle and high-income homes (10 million versus 30 million words).

Cagle described the evolution that he has seen in his child care career, from treating child care centers as places to tend young kids while parents worked to a critical element in the learning continuum that sets students up to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.  Cagle said he came to Georgia not to maintain the child care system, “but to improve it.”

Of course, that task has become harder with state cuts. Faced with the slippage in lottery funds and rising demands, Gov. Nathan Deal originally planned to reduce pre-k from full to half-day but deferred to advocates and shortened the school year instead. One unfortunate result has been that certified teachers in school-based pre-k programs have taken jobs in the k-12 system rather than lose pay due to the abbreviated schedule. (A few systems used their own money to replace the lost days, but most did not.)

Cagle is hoping that Georgia will win a Race to the Top Early Childhood grant of $70 million to fund improvements to the system, and Georgia interviews for the grant next week.

“We are kind of an underdog,” said Cagle. “People don’t know what we have done here.” One of those things, he said, was pioneer early learning standards.

As to this next year, Cagle said, “I’m not looking for any increases, but I have not heard anything about any more cuts.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

46 comments Add your comment


October 5th, 2011
4:21 pm

The short answer is NO. This was demonstrated loud and clear last year as prek budgets were eviscerated. They try to put a positive spin on how it was handled, but the truth is our prek program is in peril.

All budgets

October 5th, 2011
5:06 pm

were eviserated last year and the two years before that. Our teachers are still losing 10 days pay a year for the third year in a row, and it does not look like that will change anytime soon! State law makers could care less!


October 5th, 2011
5:25 pm

William Casey

October 5th, 2011
5:41 pm

The Tennessee study cited above has severe limitations:

“This study has faced some challenges. One of the greatest is that no assessments were available for students as they began Kindergarten.”

Also, no info as to whether kids had non-state sponsored Pre-K.”

That being said, it tends to confirm what has long been known to a degree of reasonable certainty: the effects of Pre-K gains tend to diminish over time. This goes back to the days of Head Start.

@ William Casey

October 5th, 2011
5:52 pm

That assumes that the benefit to Pre-K you are looking for is only academic. Research the Perry Preschool Project and see the positive financial benefits to a quality preschool program. This study has documented DECADES of results.


October 5th, 2011
6:02 pm

The Rs will NEVER admit that something that benefits poor folks, black folks, and Hispanic folks is good. Even if the money comes from the lottery.


October 5th, 2011
6:22 pm

Looks like we’ll never get over our obsession with standards, learning goals, data collection, test scores, etc. Georgia had great schools in the 1970s & 1980s without all the numbers-crunching and “investment” approach. Why can’t we “learn” from the past?


October 5th, 2011
9:05 pm

How hard is it and how much money should it cost to teach a kid basic colors, ABCs, numbers and easy words???? So many whine about Pre-K….ever think about the REAL problems of this state. Any mother with kids past Pre-K age actually worry about Pre-K? The bottom line…my mother taught me everything Pre-K and K provide.


October 5th, 2011
9:16 pm

I am a Pre-K teacher who is a certified teacher as well, though I do not work in the K-12 system so I didn’t really have the option of transitioning to the K-12 for better pay. (Technically I could apply for a K-5 job but am overly cautious because I know too many new teachers in K-12 who have been laid off). I took a 10% paycut with our 10% school year cut (20 days off the calendar). Our Pre-K students are feeling that cut as well. Twenty less days to learn when you come from a home in which learning is not at the forefront is a big deal for these kids.

I work in a low income area where many of the children came to my class having never used writing utensils, can barely count to 3 or 5, and don’t recognize their written name (with only 2 of 20 able to write it). These children will have to do SO much in GA Kindergarten. I cannot imagine them going to K without having been to Pre-K yet.

I wrote many lawmakers back in February and March when the 30% and 10% cuts were proposed. I got back alot of form letters and automated messages. I didn’t hear from many others.

A local representative was supposed to visit my Pre-K class on Monday, and did not show up for whatever reason. I was really looking forward to showing him what we do in Pre-K.

Just for the record, all new Pre-K teachers have to have a 4 year teaching degree (some 2 year degree teachers were grandfathered in, but only if they stay at their current center/school). So even though some Pre-K lead teachers were able to transition to better paying K-5 or K-12 jobs, there are many of us who are highly qualified teachers who are not only paid less than K-5, but took that 20 day (10%) paycut. Many feel lucky to have a job and/or lucky to have only a 10% cut instead of the original 30% proposed. I live in fear of a total cut of this program.

the prof

October 5th, 2011
10:04 pm

More preK, less HOPE!


October 5th, 2011
10:29 pm

If our legislators understood Pre-K, they’d have funded it for the low-income students who need it, but required tuition from the middle and upper income students who don’t need it.

Either they don’t know, or they don’t care.


October 5th, 2011
10:29 pm

hey prof, what is the point of a good pre-k start to education if there is no hope of anything beyond high school (Hope)? A Ga public high school education with no college will get you a job flipping burgers, so who cares how many words were learned in Pre-K.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

October 6th, 2011
1:02 am


Great to read your new, truthful comment.

P.S. The Broken Record spins and wails, “When will individual GA Pre-K programs be evaluated by competent, disinterested, out-of-state entities whose reports will be distributed to state-wide and local print and electronic media for dissemination to Us, the People of Georgia? When will the results of such individual reports be used as the bases for evaluation of our state’s entire pre-K program?”

Peter Smagorinsky

October 6th, 2011
6:05 am

“But, as Cagle noted, low-income kids get far less exposure to language and arrive at school at a disadvantage as a result. (He cited a sign he saw in a child care center that said, “Ask me about my diaper change,” an effort to prod parents to even talk to their infants.)”

Actually, this is wrong. Low-income kids are exposed to plenty of language at home, just not the language that gets emphasized in school and on standardized tests. So the issue becomes, What sort of language are they engage with at home, and why is it not recognized as real or legitimate in school and by researchers?

Sk8ing Momma

October 6th, 2011
6:18 am

Call a spade a spade: Lottery-funded preK is a boon for middle class families, i.e. free babysitting, and a god-send for low-income families.

Sadly, low-income children don’t get educational basics (being read to, taught numbers & colors etc.) at home. (Grrr!!) Hence, as a society we have to ask ourselves do we want to step in to help low-income children when parents shirk their parenting obligations? Because children can’t choose their parents, I think that the answer should be, “Yes!” Society is benefited by an educated populace and it is morally the right thing to do, IMO. It would be best to have an income threshold to determine who is eligible to for the free Georgia preK program.


October 6th, 2011
8:03 am

Wow, responses that cover more than two points of view.

Mr. Casey, Yes the Tn. study does admit to the shortcomings of the research. The Perry Project appears to lack the same data. The only difference between the article here in the TFP and the TN study is the TFP article is the opinion of people who make their living from pre-K where as the Tn. study is perhaps more objective being conducted by an outside group that makes it’s living off of being objective.

The Perry Project is interesting in that we aren’t told what the students were taught or what life lessons were reinforced daily in their pre-K program or if they moved on as a group as with the other students in the study. The Georgia pre-K is not available to all students. In our system, student selection is chosen by, what else, a lottery. How ironic. Our school only has one pre-k class but has 5 Kindergarten classes. The teachers children are always included in the pre-K program at the school. Not sure how that works but I must agree, it does sound like “FREE DAYCARE” to me. So myself not being a research scientist, is it fair to say 1/5 of the students enjoy pre-K at our sons school? We have some daycares that offer a pre-K program but they are not instructed by a certified educator but by college students. Do they receive the same level of instruction? The K teachers complain the students that attended the outside pre-k were not taught anything. I have seen Christian Daycares that have students reading and writing while also performing math at a level well beyond their age group. Perhaps someone should look at their cirriculum and think about adopting it. Abeka students that sit in front of a TV screen to learn all seem to be on or above grade level and are taught proper penmanship and write cursive while exceeding public school test scores. How is it this DVD educational series without a Highly Qualified Educator present, finds the time to teach handwriting in both forms and still gives their students the necessary skills to move on to higher education placing well above most Public School Students? Perhaps the lack of a consistent cirriculum from year to year along with the individual educators adopting their favorite cute worksheets leaves Georgia Public Students confused and lacking the proper skillset to be able to move to the next step in their education. DOE’s constantly changing failed experiments and beliefs perhaps are also adding to the confusion students exhibit? Perhaps all we need in public education are a series of DVD’s, television monitors and Home Room Mom’s. They work for free. This will also eliminate the need for todays Get Schooled topic, “A possible new funding model for Georgia schools” Just a thought. Enjoy!


October 6th, 2011
8:56 am

fyi — when my 19 year old did GA pre-k (its first year in DCSS public schools), the standards were very different than they are today… one of the points of analysis needs to be what has changed in funding and curriculum over these years. Gwinnett funds pre-k through day cares and DCSS through public schools (I don’t know about other metro counties) — there may be an argument that Gwinnett has the better model but I think it may be the case that it was a much better method of providing pre-k services in 1996-97 than in 2010-11 and that we need to return to what was done then. It may be another example of the ‘dumbing down of America.”


October 6th, 2011
9:04 am

Truism of the day: Anything the government does will soon become an entitlement.

Let’s see, you tie expenditures to an uncertain revenue stream (Lottery) and then when that revenue stream decreases, you expect the taxpayers to pay for it. And once they do, it will become a permanent expenditure.

Here’s what I want to hear, “Folks, Lottery sales are down so there is not as much money as last year. Sorry, but we’re going to have to cut back.”
“…one analysis contends the investment in early learning can pay off more in economic development than an auto plant”

George Bush the elder coined a phrase for that, he called it “Voodoo Economics”.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

October 6th, 2011
9:49 am

“The tours are a pre-emptive strike against further cuts to pre-k this next year, as the state again confronts slumping lottery returns”

And thats really what this study represents. Bogus numbers, lies, people willing to lie, cheat, steal any way possible.

Jerry Eads

October 6th, 2011
9:54 am

Actually, @slob, we know PRECISELY who the kids were in the Perry Preschool Study, and PRECISELY what they were taught, every day of each of the TWO years before Kindergarten. We know PRECISELY what experience the teachers had and PRECISELY how they were trained and PRECISELY how they were supervised. It’s all on the record, and thoroughly, completely replicable. and many decades out, we know that the kids who experienced the Perry curriculum are STILL doing better in life than their counterparts who did not have the Perry curriculum.

Our problem since then is that everyone has taken Perry to mean you can toss any old kids for ONE year (not two) into any old situation with any old teacher of any old expertise under any old supervision and get the same results as Perry. That’s not likely.

My understanding is that the state agency folks are aware of this, and are doing the very best they can with the resources they have, but I’m not aware of an adequate study of Georgia Pre-K outcomes telling us what worked where and when. There was an evaluation some years ago but I was, um, unimpressed by the final product.

Best bet we could make for ourselves would be to tap the folks who are the best in the country – Steve Barnett and his wife Ellen Frede of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers come to mind – and ask them what we should be doing. Why we didn’t do that long ago is beyond me.

the prof

October 6th, 2011
10:37 am

@BigBob…..I see the result of no PreK everyday in my profession…..lousy students who waste HOPE money for 2 semesters in college, then go get the job flipping burgers. Wanna challenge me on that?


October 6th, 2011
10:59 am

Jerry Eads

The summation I read of the Perry Preschool Project for 97% of participants who were still alive at age 40 left me confused. First I couldn’t find how many were still alive and what group they were in. Here is a recap of what we are told. using the 97% from both groups that were still breathing.

Arrested 5 times or more by age 40. Schooled group 30%, Unschooled 55%

Earned $20K + per year. Schooled group 60%. Unschooled 40%

High School Grads. Schooled Group 77%. Unschooled 60%

Basic achievment @ 14. Schooled group 40%. Unschooled 15%

IQ 90+ @ 5 years old. Schooled group 67%. Unschooled 28%

The one stat that I find most interesting is the IQ. I was under the impression from a post this week that IQ was something we were born with. Here it appears this is not true. It seems IQ assesses learned facts at this age which was my point on the earlier post. The difference in High School grad rates don’t appear to be dramatic considering these students recieved 2 more years of education. 60% of the schooled group failed to reach their educational bench mark at age 14. I imagine this was the best percentage they could select of any year. The schooled group sure visited the local jail a fair amount of times. It is interesting they chose 5 arrests or more. Could it be that if they looked at arrested vs. not arrested participants, the unschooled group offended less. I dislike studies with graphs and numbers published by the very people who are presenting their agenda. They are simply numbers on a piece of paper that will stay where you put them and lie for you every time. Numbers lack sense and conscience. Without an unbiased observer to objectivly mull through the information it is all to easy for anyone to work their deceptive magic on us all. Most studies don’t tell us what we need to know, they tell us what a group or individual wants us to be told. Afterall, It’s a business, isn’t it?


That sir is the sound of a “CASH COW”

Jerry Eads

October 6th, 2011
1:52 pm

@slob, my take – and yes, I’m “biased,” as I worked directly with both David Weikart and Larry Schweinhart for a bit in the 80’s and for almost a decade with Steve and his wife on an early childhood research project in Virginia: We used to joke with David because when he set up the initial project he essentially didn’t know you could do other than pure experimental designs – so of course he did said true experimental design and randomly assigned kids to two different educational opportunities (he did NOT know at the time that the Hi/Scope curriculum would be better than the other). We know we’re not good enough at anything to get what most would consider radical improvements by different “treatments,” but the seemingly small 60/40% difference (for example), if taken to a national level, is a change literally in the billions of dollars in cost to society.

One of the other things people ignore these days is that David VERY much on purpose selected VERY low income, VERY low intelligence (as tested) children for the study. These are not kids of Mercedes-driving helicopter moms. The change David’s curriculum made to the expected outcomes for those kids is truly stark.

Steve (head of the Rutgers institute I mentioned above) is a Ph.D economist. He’s done an enormous amount of work on the cost differentials. The guy is one of the smartest, most dedicated and HONEST people I’ve ever worked with. Both David and Larry are the same. Your accusations of “cash cow” are simply naive. These people are dedicated folk who chose to make a living trying to make society better. If you want to understand it well, read a number of Steve’s original refereed publications. You need to be fairly good at math.

William Casey

October 6th, 2011
2:53 pm

Pre-K seems to have more “social” than “educational” benefits but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad idea. Even the “day care” benefit seems worthwhile since it takes two incomes to live comfortably today. The 1950’s and 1960’s are long gone.


October 6th, 2011
3:25 pm

Another moniker hijacking: for some time I have been signing “Prof,” and am not the late arrival “the prof.”

Maureen, when are you going to let us register our names like your promised?

Maureen Downey

October 6th, 2011
3:36 pm

@Prof, You will be able to do that with our new blog tools, but they are still a few months away.

Jerry Eads

October 6th, 2011
4:02 pm

@William: Yes, there are OTHER benefits to the HOPE funded pre-k, and I’m sure one of them is the support for the now large percentage of us (when we can find jobs) who are two-earner families. That’s two edges – the first is that even relatively well-educated families spend much less time with their kids, so both the socialization as well as the educationally-related exposures may be very important, AND the daycare opportunity may actually make it FEASIBLE for many families to be two income (think in terms of the hotel maid or the hash house waitress, not the bimmer-driving helicopter mom). YES, the culture is radically different from when David began the Perry project in 1962 and there may be many other potential benefits not viable in the ’60’s (although I’d wager that for the kids he actually studied, IF we had been smart and ACTUALLY heeded the findings, we’d have saved the country many $billions in welfare, unemployment, child abuse costs and incarceration).

I apologize, folks, for going on like this (3 posts, right?) but while I’m a policy/statistician/research geek, I spent a decade on research with really good early childhood folks studying (among other issues) the disastrous “Junior Kindergarten” in Virginia – that simply existed because we were (and do now) cramming 1st and 2nd grade curriculum into K where the kids simply aren’t wired yet to do it. SO, we created “Jr. K” for kids who were actually K. Along the way I was pretty well sensitized to maturation issues for young kids. My high point of that decade (and maybe my career) was Sue Bredekamp (then head of research for NAEYC) calling our work the best since David’s Perry.


October 6th, 2011
4:28 pm

My experience is it depends which Pre-K a child attends if any at all. The Perry Project picked a very interesting place to conduct the study.Ypsilanti, Michigan being a southern town located in the north mainly due to bomber construction during the war must have left black families very segregated and uneducated. Was the purpose of the study to prove black people can be educated above their usual destiny in Ypsilanti during that time? If this study was done to bring attention and elevate the quality of minority education and life for the black population I say spend every lottery dime on the children who need the Pre-K experience. Give them 2 years if this is what will put them on a level playing field. The problem is not every child is given this advantage and when everyone shows up for the first day of Kindergarten there are 2 distinct groups of students to educate. And that is where the problem seems to start for teachers, students and parents. You see, their Johnny is smarter than mine. Now ain’t that sumthin? I do like public schools for my childrens social development and that is why they don’t sit in front of the TV with the Abeka every day but I do expect someone to teach them the basics they need to survive. No matter what teachers profess, we as parents are here to help!


October 6th, 2011
4:36 pm

Something to consider about the Pre-K program. Transportation is not provided and there is a cost still involved for before and after care for the students. The parents that both work have, and always will be left with the cost of daycare. The teachers, with a child enrolled in the school Pre-K class is the only one who does not have to absorb this cost before or after school and there is not an issue with providing transportation as they work there!


October 6th, 2011
5:40 pm

Another interesting fact about The Perry Preschool Project. The Program Group that received the schooling included 58 children. The Control Group that did not enter into the school contained 65 students. This already slights any study results in favor of the Program group by 12%. It makes the findings less impressive, at least to someone who is naive as me. And we still don’t know how many participants were still alive at the 40 year mark as we are told some were no long alive and which group did the 3% that were lost in the shuffle belong to? So far I only had to sutract and divide! How am I doing?


October 6th, 2011
6:57 pm

Your impression that IQ is something we are born with and then it remain constant is incorrect.

Though there are people of limited mental ability and people of extraordinary mental ability, most of us remain somewhere in the middle. However, IQ is now known to vary considerably both up and down As it fluctuates throughout life. In some people it shows a sharper increase and in some people it shows a sharper decrease. Much of what you experience – in school, on-the-job training, life experiences, stress, health, exercise, nutrition, substance abuse, etc. has an impact on mental ability.


October 6th, 2011
7:53 pm


Put down the crack pipe and read what I said!

the prof

October 6th, 2011
10:15 pm

Uhhh no Prof, I did not hijack your name. I sign the prof and have for a long time.


October 6th, 2011
10:43 pm

I believe I have read studies indicating that, after 3rd grade, the students who did not go to preschool had caught up with the students who did go to preschool. I’m seeing a little bit of conflict with the “facts” presented here.

I am one of those who feels there are many people who can teach “ABCs and 123s” but not many people who can teach college courses. In my opinion, PreK is a waste of HOPE money.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

October 7th, 2011
12:33 am

Dr. Eads,

THANKS for sharing your knowledge and informed opinions on this blog.

As I age, my appreciation for a quote attributed to Harold MacMillan, the late UK PM, grows. MacMillan opined, “The value of a liberal(college) education lies in its ability to allow one to determine when one is being lied to.” I won’t go that far: A college education allows one to ascertain when one is being misinformed.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

October 7th, 2011
12:35 am


Provide your legal names.

Jerry Eads

October 7th, 2011
8:46 am

@slob: nicely done. The slight difference in size of the two groups wasn’t a factor in the analyses, however; while we fool ourselves to think that the statistics we use correct for everything when we do not have random assignment research, the checks for whether things are out of whack are pretty good, and actually excellent when the research is designed properly. The Perry data didn’t have anything out of whack.

Yes indeed, you are also quite correct that that was a VERY special group of kids, and that’s VERY clearly stated, and VERY pointedly ignored by those wanting Pre-K for everyone. We know from David’s work that TWO years of WELL DONE Hi/Scope curriculum will make a very significant difference for VERY low income, TESTED low IQ kids (No I have no delusions either that whatever the heck we measure with those tests is immutable, but the testing was used to select kids into the Perry study). The research says NADA about ONE year of Pre-K for kids of upper middle class bimmer-driving helicopter moms (etc.).

@soccermom, my read of the research is that Pre-k for healthy well cared for kids from healthy homes with relatively well educated parents (who read to them) has very little impact except for the economic benefit to the family (day care). The impact of PROPERLY DONE Pre-k for low income kids is established virtually beyond doubt. Whether our Pre-K is done consistenly properly is an entirely different question.

@Dr. Craig, my favorite (it’s on my office door):
“We have not succeeded in answering all your questions. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole new set of questions. In some ways, we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level, and about more important things.”
–Omni Magazine, March 1992


October 7th, 2011
10:57 am

There are other components to the Perry Project that are not discussed. First it is important to realize Dr. King didn’t march on Washington delivering his message until 1963. This population of blacks in Ypsilanti never went to school with any whites and the same is true in reverse. Perhaps they were not allowed on a bus or in a restaurant. Detroit must have seemed like it was a million miles away to any black family at the time. Ann Arbor didn’t then or even now consider the plight of blacks. The study incorporated an element that I have never seen in early education. They were teaching in the home for 1 1/2 hours a week, working with parents and children along with the schooling the children received during each weekday for 2 years. I wonder how this time spent and the message delivered influenced the numbers?

The 12% size difference between the 2 groups still appears significant to me along with the fact we are not told how many participants still are available for the study and which group they belonged to. I find something appears to be “Out of whack.”

To give a little more insight into just what the atmosphere may have been like in Ypsilanti in the early 60’s, the town was refered to in a derogatory manner as Ypsitucky in reference to the people who moved there from the south during WW II. The attitude of discrimination from the southerners may have moved with them creating a more hostile life for the black community. My point is I find little from the study that could possibly transition into todays world although it is still sold as a working model and endorsed by government groups and many others. I wonder how many people who purchase this program are aware of what really took place to produce the data and under what circumstances? Something I don’t read about is who paid for this study? Perhaps with the government groups standing by the research the federal government used our tax dollars to fund the study? Just a guess on my part but I should mention I have never been a good guesser!

To Alex from Good Mother

October 7th, 2011
1:35 pm

RE: “The bottom line…my mother taught me everything Pre-K and K provide.”

Did your mother also work full time every year, all year?

That’s the part you can’t compare. When all the adults (and sometimes there is only one) are working full time all year round, there is extremely little time to terach one’s own children.

Traditional two parent families with Dad that works and mom is available and at home is rare these days, especially in this rotten economy.

To Big Bob from Good Mother

October 7th, 2011
1:37 pm

Big Bob you say “hey prof, what is the point of a good pre-k start to education if there is no hope of anything beyond high school (Hope)? ”

You can go to college without the Hope scholarship, Big Bob. Other states do not have a Hope program.

Student loans, jobs and scholarships also finance college.

Jerry Eads

October 7th, 2011
10:27 pm

@slob, very useful questions, but first, if you had training in research design and statistical analysis you’d know that in a random assignment experiment the slightly different group sizes would be irrelevant, and, besides, there are addtional analyses that test for differnces in variance. Those were conducted. There was no initial difference between the two groups. Second, if you’d read the reports in the original you’d note that in fact the two groups ARE still defined; that’s the whole point, and the attrition is also reported. The major point is that the research was done on a particular population. NO one, and certainly not David, Larry or Steve would even begin to suggest that the outcomes are generalizable to other than children of very low income families with very low IQs. The research was funded privately by High/Scope.itself. That’s also in the reports.


October 8th, 2011
5:23 am

Jerry Eads

I have searched the noise on the net and cannot find a copy of the report @ 40 anywhere. The one link on the High/Scope sight says the info is not available. You are correct. I am not properly trained in many things. I’m just a good slob. Nothing more.

I have found parts of the report and a great deal of discussion but no report in it’s complete form. Any help would be appreciated. I would like to read it.

One statement from the High/Scope sight that I am confused about is this.

“From 1962–1967, at ages 3 and 4, the subjects were randomly divided into a program group that received a high-quality preschool program based on HighScope’s participatory learning approach and a comparison group who received no preschool program.”

I read that all participants were tested for IQ before the study and there was a 15 point difference in the results. Significant? If so how can you then randomly divide a group knowing there is such a difference and be certain the groups are of equal IQ? Also, could you then or can you today correctly determine a 3 year olds IQ? The other question I have is were all the teachers and researchers white? If so were they familiar with the black culture of Ypsilanti or anywhere else? Perhaps IQ at such a young age is directly related to experience and exposure? Using an assesment based on the white culture, could it be a black child from a very different and segregated society, even different verbage or habits, that scored @ 58 IQ according to what white children have associated to be the norm, be compared to a white child with say a 120 IQ? Can a poor diet at that age be considered and adjusted and was the diet of the program group changed in any way along with the education provided. Did the other group just go about toddeling at home for the day while the children in the program group were being exposed to education of whatever form? Or were they in a group together for that same period of time and allowed to interact with each other but not exposed to the High/Scope program. If the program group was fed oranges every day while the others drank Kool-aid could this account for any gains?

I am adopting your sign as I am more confused than ever as to how any research is done and what is considered acceptable or best practices.


October 8th, 2011
1:24 pm

@sloboffthestreet. I posted this to you on another one of Maureen’s blog-threads, in case you miss it. I’m sincere about this.

Your comments here and on other blogs suggest an interest in how education research is done and report conclusions are reached. Maybe you should pursue this in some way, just for your own personal education? I think of, possibly, a few courses in Continuing Education programs in the local colleges/Universities, or online programs. Not for any job, but just to learn!

Just a thought…..


October 11th, 2011
1:57 pm

As a Pre-K teacher, I am saddened to think that this might be my last year to make an impact with this young age group. The boys are girls are so very ready to learn. Before teaching Pre-K I was skeptical about the program. I can honestly say that I can see a big difference in my children at the end of the school year. I am saddened to think that it costs approximately $35,000 to house an inmate for a year, compared to the $7,000 per year to educate a child. The Georgia Pre-K program not only prepares the child for his future education, it prepares the child for life. I would like to encourage the legislature to “Do whatever it takes” to keep this important program alive; not only alive, but to grow the program to include all 4 year old’s, that is, if the parents wish for their child to participate. That might mean reducing the number of college scholarships or maybe even stop paying for cable and feed those in prison peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (which is what many school teachers have to eat for lunch.) I would like to publicly thank DeKalb Board of Education for finding money to keep the school days at 180 for Pre-K and for all the extra’s that I know is not covered by the lottery funding.
I am hopeful that all the publicity at this time will make the program stronger. If higher test scores really mattered to the State of Georgia, they (the Legislators) would see the impact that this program makes and fund it like it needs to be funded.

Inman Park Boy

October 11th, 2011
2:21 pm

Publically funded Pre-K should be limited strictly to so-called “at risk” students. We shoud not be spending money unnecessarily to create Pre-K classes for the children of middle and upper-middle class parents, regardless of race. Children raised in homes where parents value education (especially reading) and whose parents actually read to children will see little or no benefit in Pre-K. Many suburban parents use publically funded Pre-K programs as free day care programs. Outrageous.


October 11th, 2011
6:17 pm

“Many suburban parents use publically funded Pre-K programs as free day care programs”

@Inman Park Boy – and a lot of Urban parents use K-12 for the same purpose.