Flint-Smith Dayton is threatening to veto the budget deal over the lower level of funding promised for pre-kindergarten.
I’m not sure that our legislature – much less our governor – is smart enough to fight the battle based on something like “what’s best for children”…
…but in case any legislators are focused on that, psychology and even teachers are starting to think that jamming down academics with young children is at best of no value, and at worst counterproductive in the long run:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201505/early-academic-training-produces-long-term-harm (I’ve added emphasis):
A number of well-controlled studies have compared the effects of academically oriented early education classrooms with those of play-based classrooms (some of which are reviewed here, in an article by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn McLaughlin,and Joan Almon). The results are quite consistent from study to study: Early academic training somewhat increases children’s immediate scores on the specific tests that the training is aimed at (no surprise), but these initial gains wash out within 1 to 3 years and, at least in some studies, are eventually reversed. Perhaps more tragic than the lack of long-term academic advantage of early academic instruction is evidence that such instruction can produce long-term harm, especially in the realms of social and emotional development.
When you start regimenting kids bright and early, is it a surprise they grow up less able to think for themselves?
For example, in the 1970s, the German government sponsored a large-scale comparison in which the graduates of 50 play-based kindergartens were compared, over time, with the graduates of 50 academic direct-instruction-based kindergartens. Despite the initial academic gains of direct instruction, by grade four the children from the direct-instruction kindergartens performed significantly worse than those from the play-based kindergartens on every measure that was used. In particular, they were less advanced in reading and mathematics and less well adjusted socially and emotionally. At the time of the study, Germany was gradually making a switch from traditional play-based kindergartens to academic ones. At least partly as a result of the study, Germany reversed that trend; they went back to play-based kindergartens. Apparently, German educational authorities, at least at that time, unlike American authorities today, actually paid attention to educational research and used it to inform educational practice.
Of course, universal “free” Pre-K isn’t about educating children, much less making them grow up to be better, happier, smarter people.
It’s about providing more jobs for Governor
Flint-Smith’s Dayton’s biggest contributors, and thereby more dues for the DFL.
Universal pre-K may be the best possible advertisement for home schooling.