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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

4K spending high: 4th grade reading scores low

4-K, Education, Elmbrook, TAXES

I stumbled on this interesting bit from the Heritage Foundation: Oklahoma: High Marks for Pre-K Spending, Low Marks for Reading Achievement: (My emphasis throughout)

This clearly begs the question: Are all of those kids enrolled in Oklahoma’s prekindergarten program benefiting academically?

 

Since Oklahoma started its universal preschool program in 1998, children have actually experienced declines in their fourth grade reading scores. In fact, Oklahoma was the only state to see a significant score decrease in fourth grade reading since 1992. Last year, Oklahoma spent more than $118 million dollars on preschool, yet children in that state are still below the national average in reading.

 

Since the introduction of universal preschool in Oklahoma, the gap between low-performing students and their peers has not been reduced. The students the program was intended to help have not gained ground.

The actual article from Tulsa, Oklahoma that Heritage cited was headlined: A-plus. That would be A-plus in spending NOT results!

The latest annual survey by the National Institute for Early Education Research shows Oklahoma leading the nation in prekindergarten enrollment.

The State of Preschool 2008 showed Oklahoma in first place with 71 percent of its 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool education. This is not the first time the state has ranked first in this survey.


The survey also found that Oklahoma's preschool program is a high-quality one, meeting nine out of 10 benchmark standards. Oklahoma also was praised for increasing pre-K funding, from $3,635 per-child to $3,966 in 2008. 

The Tulsa paper only extolled the virtue of 4-K enrollment, not achievement. Considering all school districts are probably in the same boat Elmbrook is--needing to watch their spending--does Oklahoma spending $118 million a year on pre-school make sense? (Maybe I should say does it make cents?)

 

We have actual results to look at; some schools have had 4K for a long time. From Does 4K deserve tax dollars?

As I mentioned last year, I attended 4 year old kindergarten in the Shorewood school system. If 4K is so beneficial, shouldn’t Shorewood’s ACT scores be consistently higher than our [Elmbrook] school district’s that didn’t offer 4K? The data shows that this year was the first in the past few years that Shorewood edged out Elmbrook’s ACT scores by 1.23 points.  Of the top 10 schools in Wisconsin (Elmbrook consistently is in the top 10), at least 7 had no 4K program at the time those students tested started school. Incidentally, over 250 school districts have 4K so there should have been a better showing in the top 10 if it is so helpful. 

If 4K is so beneficial, shouldn't the students graduating from these institutions be consistently waaaaay ahead of those who don't have 4K?

 

Links: 

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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, BetterBrookfield, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Randy Melchert, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News

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