March 2013 Archives

Interesting NYT article examines why, even as girls are pulling ahead of boys in measures of academic achievement--not just in New York, but across the United States and even internationally--boys significantly outnumber girls at New York City's elite, exam-based public schools, such as Stuyvesant, The Bronx High School of Science, and Brooklyn Tech. This is one of the more interesting issues in the current evolution of gender and educational achievement in America: Over the past few decades, women have caught up with and then surpassed men in indicators of educational attainment, and girls (on average) tend to do better in ...


Smart, brief report from ACT (with whom I've worked in the past on K-12 issues) looks at why early childhood education matters and what is most important for children to learn in preschool, kindergarten, and the early elementary grades. I particularly like this report for several reasons: First, it looks at the early years as a learning continuum, not just preschool or early elementary school. Second, it maintains a strong focus on the early skills and knowledge that research indicates are most predictive of children's later school performance. This is helpful to lay people and K-12 educators and policymakers who ...


New results from the longitudinal study of children who participated in New Jersey's Abbott pre-k program (a universal pre-k program for 3- and 4-year-olds in 31 of the state's highest poverty districts) find that gains from participating in Abbott pre-k persist through at least 4th and 5th grade. Gains were both statistically and educationally significant (equivalent to as much as 20-40 percent of the black-white achievement gap for children who attended 2 years of preschool). This is an important additional piece of evidence on the debate over preschool effects and the phenomenon of "fade out." As I said at the ...


Yesterday Russ Whitehurst and I participated in a debate on the federal role in early childhood education, hosted by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Video of the full debate is now available online here. One point I made during the debate is that, however dimly political insiders may view the prospects for the President's proposal in the near term, over the long term it's virtually inevitable that we'll see expanded public spending on pre-k, leading ultimately to universal preschool access. Why am I so optimistic about this? Two reasons: First, the trend in developed (and, increasingly, developing) countries has been ...


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