Thanksgiving Reading: Preschool Debates, School Readiness Success & Low Pay in Early Learning


One of the things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving is the growing coverage of early education that is extending deep into mainstream media. Over the last week, there have been thoughtful features on universal preschool, an in-depth report about low pay for childcare workers, and even a story on academic research.


After you eat your fill of turkey and pie, or when you are stuck working Friday, check out these stories:


New Study Shows Full-Day Preschool Pays Off


  • The Child-Parent Centers program is one of the nation’s oldest PreK-3rd systems, and a new report shows that children who went to its full-day preschool were better prepared for kindergarten than their peers, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Alumni of the CPC’s full-day preschool scored better on tests of language, math, social-emotional and health development than students from part-day programs, reported the University of Minnesota, where much of the work is based. Overall, full-day students “had a 22-point higher rate than the part-day group on the total school readiness score (81 percent vs. 59 percent…)”


Academic research on early education does not always make the big-time. But, this week, Time covered these results in “More Time in Preschool Could Benefit Your Child, Study Finds.” You can also check out “Full-Day Pre-K Boosts Readiness Skills More Than Half-Day, Study Finds” on Education Week’s Early Years blog.


(You can read more about work to expand the Child-Parent Center program in “i3 Grant Tests the Potential & Reach of One of the Country’s Oldest PreK-3rd Programs Debating Preschool and Pre-K.”


Preschool Debate



      The term “universal preschool” means different things in different places and in politics, words matter. At issue is whether the “universal” in universal preschool means that taxpayers should underwrite preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, or just 4-year-olds, whether such programs should be full day or half day, and, most importantly, whether they should be offered to all children, or only to low-income children. Political messaging experts say the lack of a clear definition could be impeding efforts to advance a national universal program.




Pay in Child Care



Despite a nearly two-fold increase in costs to parents for early childhood services since 1997, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, childcare workers have experienced no increase in real earnings since this time.


The median hourly wage of center-based early childhood teachers working with children from birth through five years old, not yet in kindergarten, was $10.60 per hour in 2012, according to the National Survey of Early Care and Education. — Executive Summary.


You can also check out the New America Foundation’s Storify or digital conversation on the release of the report.


Happy Thanksgiving!