Pre-k turns 20: “Money going to program is well spent.”

Georgia’s popular lottery-funded pre-k program is 20 this year. AJC staff writer Nancy Badertscher is looking for parents and teachers in metro Atlanta who would be willing to share their thoughts and be quoted on whether they believe the program is making children more ready for school or not. She can be reached at nbadertscher@ajc.com.

In conjunction with that theme, here’s an essay on the 20th anniversary by John Harbin, a partner with the law firm King & Spalding.

By John Harbin

All around the state this month, leaders can be found in Georgia’s pre-K classrooms reading a favorite children’s book to 4-year-olds sitting cross-legged on the floor. It’s more than a photo opportunity for the local newspaper. It’s a strong show of support for what is a proven fact: Early childhood education has a profoundly positive impact on our state’s economic health.

Twenty years ago, a statewide pre-kindergarten program was created that touched 750 at-risk 4-year-olds and their families. Within three years the program expanded to all 4-year-olds in the state, and today, our state invests more than $300 million to serve nearly 84,000 children enrolled in Pre-K programs.

It’s money well spent. Numerous studies of the long-term outcomes of participants in early childhood programs have established beyond question the benefits to the individuals and to society. One of the best-known studies from the mid-1960s, The Perry Preschool Project, tracked 3 and 4-year-olds through age 40. The study showed impressive returns in the form of increased earnings, reduced special education and welfare costs, increased income taxes, and the really big savings, reduced crime.

As a business leader in Georgia, that gets my attention.

Experts say that children who lack the necessary literacy and language skills by the third grade simply don’t catch up. These are the children teachers predict will drop out of high school, likely ending up asunwed parents, on the streets or in jail. Unfortunately, these predictions are fairly accurate.

So if we can help more children start kindergarten with the foundation for learning they need, we’ll also be helping fourth grade achievement, eighth grade achievement, high school graduation rates, college acceptance and completion and, ultimately, the workforce and our economy.

Early childhood education is a topic that has caught the attention of some of the top economists in the country, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.

“The benefits of early childhood programs are not just short-term in nature,” Bernanke said at a national conference in July. “Careful studies demonstrate that early interventions can have a positive effect on young children … that lasts well into adulthood.” Bernanke went on to say that children who attend a high-quality preschool program are, as adults, “more economically successful — for example, more likely to own their own homes — than nonparticipants.”

The business community and military leaders are in agreement on the importance of early childhood education. Mission: Readiness, an organization of senior level, retired military personnel committed to smart investments in our children, strongly supports early childhood education. It states in a recent report that 75 percent of young Americans ages 17-24 are unable to join the military, primarily because they are poorly educated, physically unfit, or involved in crime. The report says leaders across the country should act now to ramp up both the quantity and quality of early education programs because “increased investments in high-quality early education are essential for our national security.”

As the chairman of the board of Voices for Georgia’s Children, a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization, I work closely with people who have made it their life mission to support the education of our children, particularly those up to age five. Georgia’s top governmental leaders are committed to supporting Georgia’s pre-K programs and early childhood education, and they are proving that this week. Thank you Gov. Nathan Deal and other state leaders for taking the time to be in our pre-K classrooms. It’s not only an investment in our children, it’s an investment in Georgia’s future.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

59 comments Add your comment

Van Jones

October 4th, 2012
7:20 am

Two of mine have been through GA Pre-K and it was great for them. They learned more than I expected because it is “school”, NOT subsidized babysitting as some like to suggest. Most importantly, they developed confidence in their ability to do things themselves (and learned how to go to school).

Rascal

October 4th, 2012
7:36 am

Georgia’s students are poorly educated because the monopolistic, government run system has failed to deliver results and it is time to turn it over to private enterprise and more importantly, competition. Here’s a very valid, qualified study showing exactly the opposite – http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/head-start-tragic-waste-money. Let’s put the responsibility of choosing the kind of education a family wants back where it belongs, with the parents. Government has proven it is incapable of delivering on the promise of equal educational opportunity to all citizens. Our poorest families are stuck in under-performing schools and they don’t have a choice of moving to a better neighborhood. Private enterprise will bring better schools to their doorsteps with competition.

Mountain Man

October 4th, 2012
7:37 am

My kids (and most other “middle-class” kids) went to Pre-K 3 and pre-k 4. By the time they hit kindergarten, they were reading. This was in conjunction with daycare (we both worked). People from a low SES background usually did not get this, so their children were significantly behind when they entered school. So I am a believer in Pre-K as an “equalizer”.

Truth in Moderation

October 4th, 2012
7:56 am

We have had 20 years of lottery funded pre-K. Where are the CURRENT statistics for GEORGIA? Why only quote statistics from the ’60’s? I never attended pre-school and attended only a half day non- academic kindergarten, yet I was able to attend graduate school. The difference was that I had a stay-at-home mom and parents who valued education. Most parents can teach pre-school skills at home. I taught all of my children to read. Originally, the lottery pre-K targeted children in poor, unstable homes. It was intended to substitute for the parents’ lack of education and parenting skills. I have no problem with this, and I think a well done program can benefit these children. Unfortunately, as the program expanded to include families not in this category, young parents were tempted to become lazy and dump their parenting responsibilities on the government, missing out on a very important time to deepen their influence and relationship with their young child. I have personally observed this. Also, the lottery pre-k curriculum is still inferior to what most parents or private academic pre-schools could do. I think continued expansion of the lottery pre-k is a bad idea. Use the lottery money to fund college for those who have done the hard work, whether they attended pre-school or not. If mothers would return to the home, there would be more jobs for the fathers and the children would get the attention and nurturing they deserve. Let’s fire Government Nanny. She has not done a very good job; we are now $16 TRILLION in debt!

dc

October 4th, 2012
8:13 am

I seriously don’t get this one (even after having one go through it, paid for by hope). The claim is that it pays off “without question”. But the results of our education system have been abysmal over the past 20 years.

Seriously, how do people get away with this? It’s money spent on day care for parents, without any measurable payback. That money could be spent elsewhere. Is this really the best use of that money?

Once Again

October 4th, 2012
8:27 am

So if the money going to Pre-K is money well spent, then the money spent for K-12 must be completely wasted as performance out of these grades is appalling. You can always count on those financially benefitting to give high praise to the program that pays their salaries.

chappy

October 4th, 2012
8:51 am

The 1% benefit from women in the workforce, not families.

The whole thing is govt subsidized daycare, whether or not kids learn from it. It’s daycare paid for by lottery money. Much of my family got the hope college money from the lottery, so who am i to say someone ought to take care of their children. To even propose the idea is to start a war. Some kids can handle going off at 3 and some cannot.

One thing is guaranteed, the 1% need your effort in the GNP, less than your kids need your effort in their early years.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

October 4th, 2012
8:54 am

In their wisdom, Dekalb BOE cut Pre-K teachers’ pay back to state levels. With a $30 million plus deficit, I understand this. Yet, why not plan better for the change, so we’re not re-assigning teachers two months into the school year? The best response I got from DCSS is pre-K is “not a state-mandated” learning opportunity. I guess in Dekalb student success is something we can no longer afford.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

October 4th, 2012
9:01 am

“You can always count on those financially benefitting to give high praise to the program that pays their salaries.”

I’m not sure how the author, Mr. Harbin, an attorney, is paid by the pre-K program. Maybe I misunderstood something.

Also, I really question the credibility of anyone who goes around blaming circumstances on the “1%”.

Sandy Springs Parent

October 4th, 2012
9:11 am

Maureen, I tried to e-mail Nancy. Both my girls 18 and 12 originally started out at a Georgia funded Pre-k. The same one. We had two different experiences. A great one for my oldest daughter. A disaster for my 12 year old, because the Pre-K which was affilated with a Piedmont Hospital affiliated daycare run for Piedmont by one of the top Corporate Daycare Companies closed in the middle of the year. It was a couple of miles from Piedmont and not enough Piedmont employees used it. So they made up an excuse to close it, since it had mostly community members. Piedmont couldn’t justify supplementing the daycare costs. We were stuck without Pre-K in December. We then found the dearth of Buckhead options. There are realy only low-income options intown, say on Buford Highway. The difference in Qualtiy is night and day.

I ended up send my daughter to one of the well known Church Pre-K’s in the infamous church Triangle on Peachtree Road in their Private Pre -K Program from only 9-12. I added in the most I could an hour before and an hour after. So I wouldn’t burn up so many trips taking and picking up her sister next door. That 1/2 year cost me $4,000 for 1/2 year. She learned alot less than she would have had the same high quality Pre-K had continued. But the low income Pre-K’s I looked at had the teacher’s who could not speak proper English, so that was a rule out factor. They also had unrulely kids running all over, hitting each other, acting out, just in the times I observed.

Please have Nancy e-mail me.

ya mama

October 4th, 2012
9:26 am

“If mothers would return to the home, there would be more jobs for the fathers and the children would get the attention and nurturing they deserve.”
Are you being serious? Where do you live, 1955? Get a clue.

My husband and I both work to provide for our family, save for college and retirement. We live a comfortable life and don’t have to struggle about money. My son is enrolled in GA Pre-K at a private preschool. He is flourishing and I’m very happy with what is being taught there. Will it help in the long run? I can’t say for sure. I didn’t go to Pre-K either as it didn’t exist in the 70’s and I graduated from college too. But why not try and give them the best start possible? I have no issues with lottery money being used for this purpose, as well as the Hope scholarship. If people choose to spend money on the lottery, why not benefit from it?

LoganvilleGuy

October 4th, 2012
9:30 am

@Rascal:

You already have the right to choose your child’s education. If you want to put it in the hand of private enterprise, go right ahead and pay for it. Don’t expect me to contribute my tax dollars to do it.

If we want to abolish public schools, give me my tax money back that is spent for that purpose.

Mortimer Collins

October 4th, 2012
9:31 am

20 years of Pre K and dropout rates, illiteracy rates continue to soar. Yeah…no doubt this glorified babysitting for the “will nots” is money well spent.

Van Jones

October 4th, 2012
10:10 am

C’mon Morty, use your head. No amount of school can make up for a lazy student whose parents don’t value education and effort. There is no magic bullet.

HOPE for College Only

October 4th, 2012
10:11 am

I am against Pre-K funding from Hope. And not because I hate kiddies.

The only true way to determine the return on investment on Pre-K is to find a direct correlation to success through the rest of the student’s education process. Then, to show that this measurable success was due to Pre-K and would not be achieved had these same students started in Kindergarten.

IT CAN’T BE DONE!!!!

When you then consider all of the external influences that can affect a student during the 13 years following Pre-K (good school, good teachers, stable home life, parent marital status, economic influences, accidents, illness, drug addition, prescription drug addition, climate change, war in Iraq, ok – you get the message), there is NO EVIDENCE that shows that Pre-K money is well spent.

Pre-K is a politicians dream. They constantly speak on it and try to use it to show they are “for the kids”. Until these same kids get a little older and less cute, then these same politicians push for social programs like alternative schools, adult charges for teen offenders and birth control for teens (again, I ramble!).

HOPE should go to college students only. Of course, waste and other issues must be addressed in the system. But HOPE money is a great incentive to continued academic effort. Spend the money to educate the high school grads that achieve the only goal that all children are given that reach school age. It is a great reward for hard work and will pay off in a more educated work force – which can easily be measured, assuming there are jobs created by the “trickle-down-theory-loving-CEOs-of-cash-rich-corporations-that-won’t-hire-anyone-as-long-as-Obama-is-president-which-means-they-don’t-like-the-trickle-down-theory”. But I digress…..

Teacher

October 4th, 2012
10:53 am

I teach kindergarten. PreK should be wonderful. The sad fact is that it is not. It is playtime and free babysitting. Out of 22 students I have 8 that yes went to PreK that did not know the name of one letter or even what I was talking about when I said letter. The same way with numbers. The same students had no idea how to act in a school setting. They seemed to have no clue on table manners. They were unable to sit for even a very short book to be read to them. No these are not special needs students!! I am supose to have these students reading at the end of the year. They could have learned more staying home watching Sesame Street and other educational show aimed at young children.

RCB

October 4th, 2012
10:55 am

Georgia’s results in most categories suggest otherwise. The numbers just don’t add up no matter who tries to spin it. When I was raising my kids, we managed to do the same sort of thing with a group of several moms. Most of us worked outside the home, but took our turns as “teachers” twice a month. It never occurred to us in the 80’s that it should be paid for by anyone else. We just did it because we wanted to.

Truth in Moderation

October 4th, 2012
11:01 am

@Yo mama
You are just the mom I was talking about. Welfare for the rich. The lottery money is already running out because of people like yourself. So guess what the political solution is? Yes, taxpayer funding. Please take a course in economics. You’ve traded some of the most valuable and influential time with your children for a bunch of trinkets that will eventually end up in a garbage dump.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

October 4th, 2012
12:04 pm

“They were unable to sit for even a very short book to be read to them.”

That’s because they are three years old dude…what were you expecting? Them to read Chaucer by year’s end?

ya mama

October 4th, 2012
1:08 pm

Welfare for the rich? Uh, I don’t think so. People CHOOSE to play the lottery. If they are going to use the money to fund Pre-k, why shouldn’t my son benefit from it? I pay taxes, and I am not happy where a large majority of my tax money goes- welfare for people who milk the system and don’t want to get off their a$$e$ to work. Food stamps, healthcare for people who keep having babies because they know the government will pay for them. I have no say in this. Trust me, I understand the economics. A bunch of trinkets that will end up in a garbage dump? What are you talking about?

Truth in Moderation

October 4th, 2012
1:23 pm

@ Yo mama
You took the bait. The lottery will never fund all of pre-k, if those who have means continue to pile in. As the pot shrinks, more parents will scream if their child loses pre-k funding. Why? Because they went out and bought cars, houses, computer, cell phones, etc. BASED ON A 2 PAYCHECK INCOME. Most have already gone into debt for these things. So, of course the politician who wants their votes will promise to “save” pre-k and of course, the money must come from taxes. But of course, since we are already $16 TRILLION in debt, raising taxes still won’t cover it, and so we BORROW AT INTEREST yet more money from China. The vicious cycle continues. Even on the college end, the lottery money has inflated tuition and grades, so it also produces diminishing returns. Truly, there is no such thing as a free lunch. There is no substitute for hard work and living up to one’s personal responsibilities.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

October 4th, 2012
1:32 pm

Can anybody say, “Comprehensive performance audit of the educational, vocational, civic and other life-outcomes of participants in our state’s pre-K program to be conducted by competent, out-of-state evaluators with the audit’s results reported directly to the residents of Georgia?”

Pious platitudes and the-best-of-intentions aren’t going to help our kids ready themselves for the 21st century.

ya mama

October 4th, 2012
1:35 pm

Yes, exactly. We work hard and pay our way. So we get a break on Pre-K for one year. I’m not apologizing for that. We are not in debt, we live within our means and we save. I’m not asking the government to pay my way, a “free lunch” if you will. I have to pay others’ way. If low income people can take my tax money to help feed their children, why shouldn’t I get some of the pot from the lottery?
We can agree to disagree.

dc

October 4th, 2012
2:29 pm

ya mama, success based on hard work must ALWAYS be punished. Remember, you are the “fortunate advantaged one”……sad, seriously sad. Any wonder why we have almost 50 million on food stamps now, as success is denigrated and punished.

Teacher

October 4th, 2012
2:32 pm

Bill & Ed Excellent Adventure
I don’t know what planet you are on but kindergarteners have to be 5 years old. Check for you self I think that you will find that a 5 year old SHOULD be able to sit for a 5 minute book to be read!!! I have taught kindergarten for 15 years how long have you taught kindergarten. I bet you could not last a 1/2 day!!

Truth in Moderation

October 4th, 2012
3:20 pm

“We work hard and pay our way. So we get a break on Pre-K for one year.”

You contradicted yourself. You did not “pay your way”. Instead, you spent the pre-school tuition on yourselves, your child got an inferior education, and someone who actually needed charity got less; so now we all must PAY MORE. Run the numbers on what you make working outside versus how much you would save if you stayed home. You might be surprised. Your children might grow up with your family’s values rather than the New World Order’s. Home cooked meals mean healthier kids and lower medical bills, as well as many dollars saved. The list goes on.

ya mama

October 4th, 2012
3:55 pm

Truth, you have no idea what kind of education my child is getting. It’s 4 year olds!! I teach at home as well. I find it funny that you are insisting that if I stayed home everything would be better. You have no clue about my family’s values. Trust me, I spend a lot of time with my children, just because I’m not sitting at home with them during the day doesn’t mean they aren’t important to me. Let me guess, you think a woman’s place is inside the home, behind the man. No thanks. I didn’t go to college to sit at home all day. I am perfectly capable of raising well rounded children, providing the best education for them that I can and if that includes pre K funded by the lottery then so be it. My children get breakfast and dinner at home, and lunch at school, like millions of other American kids. They are healthy and happy. Got anything else?

The New World Order? OOOO KAY!!!!

CTPAT

October 4th, 2012
4:02 pm

@ Truth in Moderation: You can have whatever opinion you want about those who can afford Pre-K using free public Pre-K, but leave out your opinions about working mothers. I work full time. I pay for my children to go to private Pre-K. My husband and I home cook our meals 6-7 nights a week. By my working, my children have had more opportunities to do things they love and they’ve also learned to be more resourceful and independent. Moreover, I take issue with your notion that the mother needs to stay home. Why can’t that responsibility fall to a father? I know a number of stay-at-home dads who are influencing their children in amazing ways. Take your 1930s views elsewhere.

Mary Ann

October 4th, 2012
4:12 pm

Truth in Moderation– um, you do know that women have other organs besides the ones used to produce babies, right? We even have brains that we use in our careers for the exact same reasons men do! You’re fantasizing based on nostalgia for a past that never really existed. Very few cultures around the world and throughout history, outside of the north American white middle class in the mid-to-late 20th century, have had mothers engaged solely in the raising of children within the home, with no outside or paid employment.

You’re awfully quick to throw women under the bus. Have you ever met any stay-at-home moms? It’s a calling, a vocation, and the women who make it their professions are amazing do a wonderful job. However, there are lots of us who are great mothers who have other vocations, too. Do you really think that children of reluctant stay-at-home moms wouldn’t be able to sense their mother’s misery? You evoke the idea of a “New World Order” (okaaaaaaaaaaay) to argue against, but the old world order you’re advocating for seems to be purdah– seclusion of women in the home in order to benefit men and children, regardless of the women’s wishes.

Pride and Joy

October 4th, 2012
5:06 pm

Yes, it’s a good program. No one can argue that lotterly funded pre K is government subsidized day care because it is NOT tax payer money. It is from the lottery — those who argue it’s a waste of government money are not educated enough to understand this basic concept.
MOST people work these days — MOST MEN AND WOMEN so there is very little Leave it to Beaver stay at home middle class mommy types to give basic pre-school educations too and even if there were, it doesn’t guarantee they will receive it. Middle class non-working mothers don’t always have the skills and the patience to teach, particularly when they are also caring for infants and babies younger than the pre-schooler.
Those who are against the lottery funded preK are: jealous because they couldn’t earn a spot or their children are in college on teh Hope scholarship and they are angry they can’t get more money out of Hope because it’s being spent on Pre-K. What other type of human being would care if innocent children are being educated and cared for WITHOUT using tax payer dollars?

Ole Guy

October 4th, 2012
5:26 pm

This “thought-sharing”…once again…is purely subjective in nature. WHEN are we going to see some objective feedback on the effectivity of this program? Is it really that hard to track a few kids from pre-k, through high school, college/trade school, and maybe even into the real world? Maybe the proponents of this program are “concerned” that such a tracking mechanism might reveal some hard truths about the program which they would just as soon not know. Until shown (objectively) otherwise, I’m convinced that this program is an utter waste of resources which only serves as a feel-good-mechanism…would somebody care to prove me wrong, or is the answer too hard to accept?

RCB

October 4th, 2012
6:48 pm

Someone should be able to track the original 750 kids. They should be 23-24 yrs. old now, so we should have a very clear picture of the success of this program. Let’s start with them.

Truth in Moderation

October 4th, 2012
6:55 pm

@ya mama, CTPAT, Mary Ann
It would seem that your attitudes are oh so 1970’s…..my generation. Some of us saw the light before it was too late.

This song is dedicated to you gals. And yes, it was promoted by the New World Order (U.N. fronted). Just listen to Helen Reddy’s intro:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUBnxqEVKlk
Enjoy! LOL!

TheGoldenRam

October 4th, 2012
7:00 pm

Listen folks, the New World Order is nothing to joke about. You’ve probably heard of “helicopter parents”, but have you heard of “black-helicopter parents”? That’s when the Chinese swoop in during the night & take your children, so that they may be properly raised & educated in a superior Asian cultural setting. They’re doing this to make sure our next generation will be better equipped to continue making those giant debts payments to the Bank of the People’s Republic. It’s really quite insidious. Worse still, low achievers don’t even get sent to those fancy factories that make iPhones. They get sent to the factories that make jitterbugs for old people. http://www.greatcall.com/ ;-)

On a more serious note, I’m not sure what to make of Pre-K. I just haven’t seen any good studies that control for the other more important factors in these kids’ lives, like family & culture.

One of the best articles I’ve ever read on early childhood education has this to say about it:

“…One reason so many are convinced that “Head Start works” is that it is often blurred—sometimes with deliberate fudging by advocates—with several other programs that have had heartening results: the Abecedarian Project at the University of North Carolina and the Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In 1972, in perhaps the most intensive intervention tried in the United States short of adoption, the Abecedarian Project put 57 very high-risk children into a five-year infant and preschool program, where highly trained teachers worked on what child developmentalists call “fine-motor, language, and social-emotional skills.” When the kids hit age 21, they still showed some gains over a control group: they had better jobs, three times as many of them went to college, and they were half as likely to be teen parents. The graduates of Perry Preschool, a more conventional two-year program, were less likely than the control group to have been placed in special education or to have been arrested, and were more likely to graduate high school, to have higher monthly earnings as adults, and to own homes.”
“Still, both of these programs were extremely small. Between them, we’re talking a grand total of 115 children, who enjoyed expertly constructed, exquisitely staffed arrangements, unlikely to be replicable on a large scale. Saying that “preschool works” based on these model programs makes as much sense as saying that because NASA successfully launched a mission to Mars, so can JetBlue.”
http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_2_holding.html

Truth in Moderation

October 4th, 2012
9:07 pm

“Listen folks, the New World Order is nothing to joke about.”
You are absolutely correct!

Bush the Elder’s “New World Order”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUBnxqEVKlk
Bill Clinton’s “New World Order”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzUkhKaNylM&feature=related
The Globalists’ Agenda – New World Order Quotes from Politicians (1950 – 2009)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8uzxEHFDkw&feature=related
Black Helicopters.. Watching You?
http://usahitman.com/nwo-helicopters/

Truth in Moderation

October 4th, 2012
9:46 pm

OOPS! Should be “George Bush SR New World Order”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h_8XyxMq1Q

FYI

October 4th, 2012
9:48 pm

In her past posts, Truth in Moderation has told us with much pride that she is a home-schooling mother for her children, and other comments suggest that she is a Christian fundamentalist. A few posts back she said that her children would be living at home during their college years. Her comments on Pre-K education seem pretty predictable.

Truth in Moderation

October 4th, 2012
11:57 pm

@ FYI
Don’t you just hate trying to use the Delphi technique on a blog that you don’t edit?
http://www.vlrc.org/articles/110.html

But since I am a nice person, I’ll give you a hot tip for a Ford TV commercial…..
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/woman-with-goatee-wanted-798562
(These women must have been Head Start dropouts.)

Truth in Moderation

October 5th, 2012
12:28 am

@TheGoldenRahm
BLACK HELICOPTER UPDATE!
“Boeing’s Black Helicopter factory in Arizona”
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/14/google_earth_competition_results/page2.html

Of course this has nothing to do with lottery pre-k, but you brought up the subject first…..

Truth in Moderation

October 5th, 2012
8:33 am

Helen Reddy update:
Yes, the mother of “lottery pre-k for all” is now grandma age. So what is she up to now? Hypnotherapy, New Age religion, and prophesy…..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SPZ_0A62a4&feature=relmfu

HOPE for College Only

October 5th, 2012
9:32 am

@Maureen and others

Although it is possible to collect statistics on the success and failures of individuals that have received Lottery-aided Pre-K and draw some general comparisons against those that haven’t, there is NO WAY to effective measure the actual benefits. It feels good to say the kids benefited, and they probably did merely by being in an educational setting and getting the attention that children desire.

THIS IS NOT AN ACCURATE MEASUREMENT OF LOTTERY FUNDED PRE-K!!!!!

Can anyone show that kids who attended lottery funded Pre-K are successful, would not have been successful without it, that the lottery funded Pre-K was the only contributing factor to the success and that those who attended were not successful in greater numbers than they would have been without it. Can you educate a child in Pre-K, roll back time and then not educate the same child in Pre-K to measure the difference?

If Pre-K is so important and a barometer for guaranteed success, shouldn’t it provided for all children by the state like kindergarten?

There is no way to successfully measure. Scientifically, there has to be a controlled experiment approach to figure out the actual data. No outside influence can be allowed. Bottom line, it can’t be done.

Every mother that gives birth should be given the same lottery-funded book at the hospital and told that their child should be able to read it in English by the time they turn 4. This would be the first opportunity to make some value judgement regarding a child’s abilities when they enter kindergarten. Oversimplified example, yes, but there is no true measurement without establishing a standard.

That’s why it is a much more effective use of the lottery funds to educate college students. Think of it as furthering a Darwin-like process of natural selection. It is the definition of “investing in our future”.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

October 5th, 2012
9:47 am

To all the negatives here – My children have had extremely successful Georgia pre-K experiences, and the program helped prime them for the structure and challenges of the typical school day. The complaints here about pre-K (free day care for the upper middle class, etc.)? Well, the same complaints could be made about the HOPE scholarship (free college for the upper middle class, Sally can get a car since she has HOPE, etc.) What do you recommend we use the lottery funds for? Fishing museums? Roadwork? How about tax breaks for seniors? A new stadium for the Falcons?

FYI

October 5th, 2012
10:14 am

@Truth in Moderation. Do you deny that you have posted many times here that you are home-schooling your children? That on a recent blog about college-age students you stated that during college yours will be living at home?

Or is it the tag “fundamentalist Christian” that you don’t like? Back about six to nine months ago, you were posting many fundamentalist/millennial readings of contemporary events. Most memorable to me was your post stating that the idea for America’s three branches of government came from the “fact” that the Founding Fathers all were Christian and were following the idea of the Trinity.

Mary Ann

October 5th, 2012
10:37 am

@FYI, thanks for the contextual information!

@HOPE for College Only– if you really want to go whole hog on the social darwinism train, who offer any aid to anyone? Why give scraps for them to fight over? ONLY THE STRONG SHALL SURVIVE!

On a serious note, actually, studies can absolutely be done to determine the effectiveness of Pre-K. You’d just need a very, very large sample of students, lots of data collection to ensure that you can perform statistical analyses to control for factors like socioeconomic status and parental involvement, and lots of years in which to observe the outcomes. The Framingham Heart Study (http://www.framingham.com/heart/backgrnd.htm), from which we’ve gained a huge amount of information about heart disease, is a study of this nature– but it’s been going on since 1948 and has cost about a bajillion dollars (that’s an estimate, heh). Without that kind of rigorous study design it’s really hard to make ironclad statements about effectiveness, and the political, financial and scientific momentum to create a study like that for early childhood ed in the US does not, to my knowledge, exist.

“Can anyone show that kids who attended lottery funded Pre-K are successful, would not have been successful without it, that the lottery funded Pre-K was the only contributing factor to the success and that those who attended were not successful in greater numbers than they would have been without it. Can you educate a child in Pre-K, roll back time and then not educate the same child in Pre-K to measure the difference?”

No, but you can look at a pool of several thousand kids who went, then compare them to a pool of thousands of kids who did not get Pre-K, and then conduct analyses that look at the differences between the two groups and see how likely it is that the difference is just due to chance.

‘Scientifically, there has to be a controlled experiment approach to figure out the actual data. No outside influence can be allowed. Bottom line, it can’t be done.”

Again, you just need a TON of kids and a LOT of data about them. You can then control for those factors. It’s certainly doable, though. Economically or logistically feasible– maybe not. But well within the bounds of what is statistically detectable.

“That’s why it is a much more effective use of the lottery funds to educate college students. Think of it as furthering a Darwin-like process of natural selection. It is the definition of “investing in our future”.”

I’ve read your comment 3 times now and I still don’t understand how this comment proceeds logically from your prior statement. It would be possible with enough time. money and human capital to measure the effectiveness of Pre-K at a population level. Such a study might very well prove that there is limited or no benefit to Pre-K; however, the few studies we do have indicate that it does no harm and seems to benefit children in high need. Parents really like the program, families fight to get in, and the funding comes from a voluntary source. Poor children are more likely than wealthy children to receive services they could not otherwise obtain through Pre-K; the opposite seems likely to be true for the HOPE scholarship, particularly with the recent changes that affect eligibility. If I’m gambling with gambling funds, I’m going to take a chance on helping the people who are least able to help themselves.

Truth in Moderation

October 5th, 2012
10:54 am

@FYI
You sound like a creepy perp. I am sure you have been saving my posts. Why not post the direct quotes. Your posts at 9:48 and 10:14 are less than factual. Noting the time of your posts, you must work the evening shift……or are you a stay at home mom/dad also?

Truth in Moderation

October 5th, 2012
11:15 am

“My children have had extremely successful Georgia pre-K experiences, and the program helped prime them for the structure and challenges of the typical school day.”

This is a relative statement. Successful as compared to what? Did the children receive grades? Were they tested? Could they have received the same or better instruction at home AT NO COST TO OTHERS?

Truth in Moderation

October 5th, 2012
11:20 am

@Mary Ann
The “framingham” link is dead.

Truth in Moderation

October 5th, 2012
11:31 am

Isaiah 33:22 KJV “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”
Sounds like the three branches of our government to me.
http://av1611.com/kjbp/ridiculous-kjv-bible-corrections/Isaiah-33-22.html
A guy with a Ph.D. said it, so it must be true.

Archie

October 5th, 2012
12:41 pm

Back in the days of President Johnson’s “Great Society” (think, middle to late 1960’s) one of the few programs that were deemed successful was the federal “Head Start Program.” Its rationale was the same as pre-k, taking children that were “at risk” for not making it through high school and teaching them ( and often their parents) the basic skills they would need to enter first grade ( no government sponsored kindergarten in those days). As far as I know, “Head Start” is still going to this day. Isn’t the lottery-sponsored Pre-K program in effect, a “duplication of services?” Just sayin…

FYI

October 5th, 2012
12:53 pm

@ Truth in Moderation, 10:54 am. I have a good memory for something as ludicrous as your theory about the American government, especially when you’re homeschooling and thus teaching this to your child. I also remember at the time another blogger commented that this was a form of child abuse. Btw, Maureen has Archives of all posts along with a “Search this blog” slot.

Why do you think I must work the night shift or be a stay-at-home parent to blog at 10:14 am on a Thursday? I could be retired, or a college professor, or someone working in the afternoons…

The link you supplied at 11:31 am was to “The King James Bible Page”–a fundamentalist Christian source–and your quote was indeed by a Ph.D…but so what? What field? What school? Was it online? Etc. You should learn not to be so gullible….especially since you presume to have a sufficient educational background and knowledge to teach your own child.