Sara Mead begs to differ with Melinda Wenner Moyer, who’s post we highlighted here. She takes issue the thrust of Ms. Wenner Moyer’s post, which I chose to ignore in favor of some good points…but here she is:
That’s the provocative suggestion of this recent Slate article. Unfortunately, it’s wrong.
Deck aside, the article, by Melinda Wenner Moyer, is largely unobjectionable. Its core argument is not actually that preschool is a bad investment, but that affluent parent freak-outs about getting Junior into the “right” preschool (which outlets like theNew York Timesand Slate so love to cover) are totally pointless. I can get down with that.
But the reality, of course, is that most parents aren’t Coastal elites trying to get into the92nd Street Ypreschool or anguishing over Reggio Emilia vs. Montessori. In fact, 48% of children under age five live in low-income families–whose kids are bothless likelythan middle-class or affluent peers to go to pre-k and reap great benefit from it.
Moreover, the author is simply wrong that, “Research suggests that preschool only benefits children from these disadvantaged families.” The strongest existing research support for pre-k does come from studies of early interventions designed to help disadvantaged youngsters–such as the High/Scope Perry Preschool and Chicago Parent Child Centers projects. Because many publicly funded preschool programs limit services to low-income kids, research on these programs also tends to find results only for more disadvantaged youngsters As a result, the evidence base for pre-k’s value to poor and low-income kids is much stronger than for middle class or affluent children. That said, a rigorous evaluation of the impact of Universal Pre-k in Oklahoma clearly found that children from all socio-economic groups benefitted from participating in the program–but low-income and poor kids benefited more than their middle class peers.