Monday, October 21, 2013

Despite scant evidence that there is any advantage to pre-K, MNPS proposes $6 million in new spending to fund it.

Despite scant evidence that there is any advantage to pre-K education and with an alleged budget shortfall of $23 million, blamed on the growth of charter school, Metro Nashville Public Schools  official are nevertheless proposing a “move toward universal pre-K,” bankrolled entirely with local funds.

To see and argument that pre-K is a waste of money, if not actually counterproductive, see this essay by Representative Bill Dunn. Below is the report from The Tennessean where local MNPS official advocate funding for 1300 new seats of pre-K funding for 4-year old at a cost of $6 million.

Metro Schools willing to expand pre-K as state remains undecided

Frustrated by the state’s inaction on expanding preschool education, Metro Nashville school officials are proposing to bankroll it locally in hopes of covering most of the Davidson County 4-year-olds who qualify for it but lack seats today.

Calling it a “move toward universal pre-K,” Metro Director of Schools Jesse Register said he intends to finalize a proposal next month to expand prekindergarten slots in Nashville by 1,300. The plan, dependent on school board approval and landing a place in Metro’s 2014-15 operating budget, would require an additional $6 million in annual local funds. (link)

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  1. Despite the evidence (including all the Tennessee-specific reports Bill referenced) that pre-K has no long-term benefits, you will recall that the Common Core "state" Standards are P20 standards. The "P" meaning Pre-K (or is it Pre-natal? we are getting closer by the day) and the 20 meaning four more years after you graduate from a four-year college. This might seem confusing since the pre-K standards don't exist yet and therefore were not read in the Senate Education Committee "fact-finding" hearing - but I guess nobody noticed.

    It isn't going anywhere. Nor is the data mining. It's required by Common Core which TN committed to with the Race To The Trough application in 2010.

  2. Rod, there is considerable evidence of the benefits of Pre-K. There are, for example, longitudinal studies in Michigan, North Carolina and Chicago that provide similar results that make a strong case for Pre-K. To be sure, the most lasting benefits are more related to social performance than academic skills. Sill, the evidence is clear that at-risk children in the same communities who participate in Pre-K are more likely to graduate from high school and to get good jobs and not become involve in crime. Also one very interesting benefit is that in all three of those studies there was at least a 40% reduction in the number of at-risk children who were assigned to special education classes. That is a huge benefit to the children and to school budgets.