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Can Early Ed. Reduce Income Inequality?

Riffing on the Occupy Wall Street movement, New York Times human rights columnist Nicholas Kristof argues that the most effective way to reduce inequality in the United States would actually be to expand early child education. Kristof reports—as any elementary teacher already knows—that significant learning gaps between well-off and disadvantaged students begin before kindergarten and have a lasting, calculable effect on achievement and opportunity. He notes:

One common thread, whether I'm reporting on poverty in New York City or in Sierra Leone, is that a good education tends to be the most reliable escalator out of poverty. Another common thread: whether in America or Africa, disadvantaged kids often don't get a chance to board that escalator.

Update, 10/21: Education policy expert Sara Mead expresses frustration that people—including certain New York Times columnists—don't seem to be paying any attention to important developments already taking place in the early education area.

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