Saturday, April 7, 2007

Boston Early Ed Program Not So Hot

No entity can waste time and money like government can.

Case in point: The city of Boston, Massachusetts spent the past decade developing an early childhood education program for low-income/minority preschoolers and kindergartners. The first study of the program has just been released, and the results were not good. The study found that:

  • Many children spend their days sitting at their desks listening to lectures. (Remember, these are 3-to-5 year-olds).
  • Teachers are often not teaching children, but instead leading them in "meaningless" large group activities.
  • Student/teacher ratios are as high as 22 to 1.
  • The preschool/kindergarten facilities are often not safe for children, and sometimes lack the proper fencing to keep children out of the street (!)
  • Children are not taught basic hygiene, i.e. hand-washing.
Of course, millions of dollars have already been spent on this program, with an anticipated $20 million more to disappear in the next two years. It's always about the money, not about the kids.

The saddest part of all this is that small children, no matter how poor or wealthy their families, don't need formal preschool at all. What they need is daily life with loving adults who, over the course of each day, take time to teach them a few basics, and then let them play and discover on their own. It doesn't take much money....just time and love. God already invented the true early education program: it's called a family.

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