Should Pre-K be the New Kindergarten?
Arkansas colleges have seen record enrollment lately, but the graduation rates are some of the worst in the nation. To help bolster that, state officials are looking to expand the states pre-k programs.
KARK reports that the Arkansas Project Graduation Commission has been charged with investigating why drop out rates are so high for Arkansas colleges and for providing suggestions on how to lower the drop out rate. In addition to more funding for Pre-K programs, the commission also suggests getting parents more involved in their children's education, identifying and helping students that are struggling and expanding the Arkansas Works program.
Arkansas' Pre-K system is already one of the best in the nation according to the latest "State of Preschool" report. With additional funding, the state should start seeing a return on this investment within the next 10-15 years or so as more and more of these students go on to college.
Personally, I think Pre-K should be the new Kindergarten. I think we wait too long to get our kids in school when it's obvious at even 4 years old they're ready to learn. If more kids were in school at age 4, I'd bet our literacy rates would *improve drastically and studies have shown kids who attended pre-k were more likely to graduate college (just one of many benefits of pre-k). I say, put them all in school at age 4 so all kids are on an even playing field.
* Above I mentioned that I'd bet literacy rates would improve if all kids went to pre-k. Seems the research has already been done. It's important to note students who are not proficient readers by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school and some states use 3rd grade literacy scores to predict how many prison beds their state will need in the future. It is IMPERATIVE that children learn to read by third grade. Pre-K helps achieve this.
* Students who attend pre-k and half-day kindergarten are more likely to have higher reading skills by the third grade than students who attend full-day kindergarten alone. The chances of a third-grader reaching the more advanced “Literal inference” reading level increased at a rate of 11 percent when students attended pre-k and half-day kindergarten rather than full-day kindergarten alone. The chances of a third-grader reaching the advanced “Extrapolation” reading level increased by a substantial 18 percent if students attended pre-k and half-day kindergarten rather than full-day kindergarten alone. - Source: centerforpubliceducation.org
Have your children attended Pre-K? What are your thoughts?