Monday, May 25, 2015

Preschool for Everyone



Preschool for Everyone

High quality preschool should be available to all children for free, because preschool allows mothers to work and work better jobs, it benefits children by increasing their success in school and improving their social development, and it reduces the risk of problems later in life such as committing a crime or dropping out of school.

Free preschool makes it easier for mothers with young children to work. One reason for this is that preschool costs a lot. For example, child care in Massachusetts costs “$11700 per year” on average “for full time childcare for a four year old.” (Huffington Post “Do kids really need preschool?”) Right now, “every state in America has a higher median child care cost than the state’s median rent cost.” (“Obama wants 6 Million Children in Preschool by the end of the decade” Huffington Post).  When childcare costs more than rent, it becomes a financial problem for many families, so the mother might not work because it doesn’t make the family very much money.

Another advantage of mothers of young children working is that they will make more money if they work, or they can work better jobs. In fact according to the Abecedarian study, the mothers of the at risk-kids who went to preschool made more money.  ("Early Childhood Education Journal." page 14). If families make more money then they will probably have a higher standard of living, they will pay more taxes, and they might spend more money, and that will help the economy. One problem with not having universal childcare is that it excludes a group of people from the workforce which means less competition. If there is universal child care more people can work meaning there will be more competition and hopefully better employees.
My mom at work when I was in preschool.

Some people might think that only free day care should be available based on my argument so far, but universal preschool would be much better since it not only benefits the mothers, but it benefits the children who are enrolled in the program by increasing their opportunities for success later in life. One thing preschool helps children with is social skills. (NPR “Can High-Quality Preschool make a big difference later on”) This is an important advantage of preschool because it is something that can help kids for the rest of their life. Imagine you are a five year old showing up to kindergarten for the first time, and the only kids you have interacted with before are your siblings and maybe a couple of friends. Then you see 20 other kids in your class, so you are scared. It will be harder for you to start socializing now at age five than it would have been when you were younger. Not having good social skills could cause a person to feel lonely and not be very successful as an adult. Social skills may be one reason that preschool graduates “made more money on average” in the High/Scope Perry preschool study. ("Early Childhood Education Journal." page 12).

Preschool also helps with academic skills later in life. For example children who go to preschool are more likely to graduate high school. They are also less likely to need to repeat a grade. (Huffington Post “Do kids really need preschool?”), and children who go to preschool tend to do better in school. It is better to get children ahead in school in the first place rather than try to get them to catch up later. In fact by the time a child turns five, their brain has “grown to 90% of its (full) adult size.” (Huffington Post “Do kids really need preschool?”) Consequently it can be harder to catch them up later. It may even be impossible to get them as far ahead as they would have been if they had gone to preschool. Also catching kids up after they fall behind can be expensive. (“Can High-Quality Preschool make a big difference later on” NPR)

Finally, preschool should be available to every child for free because it can prevent problems later in life. In at-risk children, one major problem that preschool helps prevent is kids getting involved in crime. (“Can High-Quality Preschool make a big difference later on” et alii). Teaching kids not to break the rules or hurt others at a young age could be one reason that the Ounce of Prevention Fund saw that kids who didn’t go to preschool were “70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.” (Huffington Post “Do kids really need preschool?”). One of the reasons we send people to jail or prison is that we want to prevent other people from committing crimes, and preschool really can help with this. If we want a society with fewer crimes and fewer people in prison we need to send more children to preschool.

Crime isn’t the only problem preschool prevents; it also helps prevent teens from dropping out of high school. There are a lot of attempts by schools to get kids to “stay in school” and not leave as soon as they possibly can, but preschool helps with this too. (NPR “Can High-Quality Preschool make a big difference later on?” et alii) The Ounce of Prevention Fund found that if kids don’t go to preschool they are “ 25% more likely” … “to drop out of high school.” Like many other problems, this one can be solved by tackling the root of the problem- in this case how children perceive school. Another future problem that preschool helps prevent is teenage pregnancy. (NPR “Can High-Quality Preschool make a big difference later on?” et alii)

One argument against universal preschool is that at-risk children have access to preschool with the Head Start Program. This is true, but Head Start tends to not be a high quality preschool. Only high quality preschool provides the major advantages discussed in this paper. (NPR “Can High-Quality Preschool make a big difference later on?”). Another argument against preschool is that its effects wear off by third grade, but that isn’t true for high quality preschool, only for low quality preschool. (Huffington Post “Do kids really need preschool?”)

Perhaps the most common argument made against universal preschool is that it will cost too much, since high quality preschool is expensive because it requires well qualified and trained teachers. However this is not necessarily true if the school is a high quality preschool. For example there is a universal preschool program in Tulsa, OK, and according to Claudio Sanchez (In Tulsa) “for every dollar (the school district) invests they get $3 in return,” so financially universal preschool would be helpful to the school districts. (NPR “Can High-Quality Preschool make a big difference later on?”). The savings to the public for at-risk kids is even bigger. For example the High/Scope Perry preschool study (on at risk children) found that the public got $12.90 for every dollar they spent. ("Early Childhood Education Journal." (n.d.): n. pag. Web. page 13).



 

High/Scope Perry PreSchool Costs and Benefits ("Early Childhood Education Journal." (n.d.): n. pag. Web. page 13)
In conclusion, high quality preschool should be available to all children for free because it allows mothers of young children to go to work more easily, it helps children with academic and social skills, and it prevents problems later on like crime. If high quality preschool is available for free then more mothers will be able to work, and that means more qualified workers for jobs. High quality preschool also helps kids with social skills and in school. It can even help prevent kids from committing crimes later and going to an expensive prison for it. Ultimately I think it’s better to pay for kids to go to preschool instead of prison. One small step to a better world may be free high quality preschool for all kids whose parents want them to go to preschool.

Bibliography

NPR “Can High-Quality Preschool make a big difference later on?”
"Can High-Quality Preschool Make A Big Difference Later On?" NPR. NPR, 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2014/04/23/306158139/can-high-quality-preschool-make-a-big-difference-later-on>.

Huffington Post “Do kids really need preschool?”
"Do Kids Really Need Preschool?" Huffington Post, 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://www.huffingtompost.com/learnvest/do-kids-need-preschool_b_2917827.html>.

Huffington Post “Obama wants 6 Million Children in Preschool by the end of the
decade”
"Obama Wants 6 Million Children In Preschool By The End Of The Decade." Huffington Post, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/09/president-obama-preschool-goal_n_5953916>.

"Administration Focuses On Challenges Working Families Face." Morning Edition 23 June 2014.Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 18 May 2015.

"Early Childhood Education Journal." (n.d.): n. pag. Web.