Thursday, February 21, 2013

President Obama's Initiatives on Education

The Huffington Post has an interesting editorial on the president's plan for increasing the availability of preschools here.  The author notes first that he has been disappointed in earlier initiatives, such a Race to the Top and the Common Core Standards.   My comment:

Thank you, Mr. Thompson for an excellent article. 

I think policy makers need to look at education reform efforts holistically i.e.with all of the intended and unintended consequences.  For example, the Common Core is going to have the unintended consequence of turning students off to reading.  It's hard even to foresee all of the bad consequences from the data-driven teacher evaluations.

But the preschool initiative will have mostly good unintended consequences, I think.  It will get poor parents into classrooms early, for drop-off and pick-up, which means they will early see what an enriched environment for small children looks like.  Usually, at preschools, parents and teachers exchange comments often, so parents will have easy access to teachers to chat about current problems.

The other great thing is that poor parents of young children will now have a stable daycare option and can concentrate on jobs or schools--on getting their own lives back on track. 

Really, it's hard even to think of bad unintended consequences from this preschool initiative.  Yes, it will cost money, but with at-risk children we pay early or later, and I think it is much wiser to pay upfront for good preschools than later for prison or welfare.

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