Preschool Algebra

From Governor Rendell’s News Release:

“An independent study by a renowned firm confirms that more than 160,000 students in 48 Pennsylvania schools are benefiting from investments in early childhood education, pre-k, full-day kindergarten and high school reform, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today.

Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test results from 2002 through 2005 show that thousands more students have reached proficiency across all grade levels. In the past three years:
• 8,126 more 5th graders are proficient in reading and 19,938 more are proficient in math;
• 14,507 more 8th graders are proficient in reading and 22,497 more are proficient in math; and
• 16,428 more 11th graders are proficient in reading and 8,692 more are proficient in math.”

Apparently, additional state spending on preschool and full day kindergarten is already having an effect on standardized test scores. For a preschool and kindergarten funding program begun only two years ago, it is absolutely amazing how many of those students are already taking (and showing proficiency on) 5th, 8th, and 11th grade assessment tests.

This doesn’t even account for the spillover effect that enrolling 3,000 children in state-funded preschool has on student six to twelve years older. Few education experts realized that having certified teachers lead four-year-olds in “The Wheels on the Bus” would result in a greater number of high school juniors being able to solve equations using the quadratic formula within one year, but clearly they misjudged the impact these programs would have.