Universal Preschool Finds Success in Conservative Oklahoma

"Preschool Programs" by Seattle Parks licensed under CC BY 2.0
Preschool Programs” by Seattle Parks licensed under CC BY 2.0

Source: PBS Newshour

In Oklahoma, one of the reddest and least affluent states in the union, a program for universal preschool has seen widespread success and popularity. Under the state’s program, which costs $7500 per child per year, any parent can enroll their child in preschool as early as three or four years of age.

Testifying to the program’s success, public policy professor at Georgetown University, William Gormley says, “At kindergarten entry in Tulsa, the single best predictor of a child’s verbal test skills is not race, or income, but whether that child was in pre-K the previous year.” Gormley, who has been studying this program in Tulsa for 15 years, notes that the children entering school from this program are ahead of their peers in pre-writing, pre-reading, and pre-math.

Naysayer Lisa Snell of the libertarian think tank, “Reason Foundation,” argues that the program has little effect on later educational outcomes, including graduation rate and test scores.

Nonetheless, Oklahoma’s universal preschool system has been identified as a national model for state preschool by the Obama administration and advocates for the benefits of early childhood education.

Read full story at: PBS Newshour

Education, News
Education, News