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Friday, August 29, 2008

Preschool Gains in Sioux Falls Program Mean Little

As Sibby Online points out, the recent Argus Leader report on gains made by 3-year-olds at a pilot preschool program aren't all they're cracked up to be. In fact, they're mostly meaningless.

No one disputes there may be immediate, short-term gains for children in a preschool setting.

However, as I pointed out a few days ago, these results usually don't last very long into a child's academic career. In fact, one study found the gains are dissipated by spring of the first grade.

There are also considerable behavioral problems which arise with children in preschool, including increased aggression, biting and hurting others. And studies have found that these results are long lasting.

When you consider that preschool gains are dubious at best, and produce very real behavioral problems, and that budgets are already tight, it really makes no sense to push for a universal preschool system.

Children do much better with greater parental involvement. Instead of unsound programs at taxpayer expense that take children out of the home, we should emphasize parents spend more time, not less, with their children.


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