We all agree that early childhood education is an incredibly important, if not the most important, part of a successful P-12 experience. Yet despite such universal agreement, we are still failing to provide high-quality preK, particularly to those that would benefit from it the most.
The question is not simply whether or not to provide early childhood education. In a time when we are ever-focused on return on investment of scarce public dollars, the real questions should be about the rigor of the ECE program. What is the evidence base on which the program is constructed? How do we correctly target the students most in need? What is the quality and effectiveness of the educators leading an ECE classroom? What is their track record of effectiveness? This may be an unpopular thing to say in our current anti-testing environment, but we need to demand proof that the program (or approach) works and that the children it touches are gaining the skills needed to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
There is no question it is an important debate. Hopefully, we continue to take a closer look and continue to take meaningful actions that are proven effective.