Thursday, February 12, 2009

Obama's Promise to Early Childhood Education

In the news, there's been more talk about merit pay and reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. However, the key to Obama's education plans is his promise to early childhood education.

As a 2nd grade teacher, each year I have students reading at a Kindergarten level. That means they are essentially 2 years behind grade level after 2 years of school. That doesn't mean their previous teachers aren't quality teachers. It means those students have not had the opportunities other students have had before entering school (such as quality pre-school and growing up in a literacy filled environment) and likely have obstacles that must be overcome (such as learning a 2nd language, living in poverty).

When you build a house, you start with the foundation. Obama wants to ensure that all children have the foundation needed to be successful in school. One of the failings of No Child Left Behind is that some students are already incredibly behind when the enter school.

From Lead from the Start...

10. Obama supports increasing funding for the Head Start program for preschool children. Obama has called on states to replicate the Illinois model of Preschool for All.

Campaign website,, "Resource Flyers" Aug 26, 2007

9. We can start by investing $10 billion to guarantee access to quality, affordable, early childhood education for every child in America. Every dollar that we spend on these programs puts our children on a path to success, while saving us as much as $10 in reduced health care costs, crime, and welfare later on.
Source: Speech in Flint, MI, in Change We Can Believe In, p.249 Jun 15, 2008

Put billions of dollars into early childhood education
8. Latinos have such a high dropout rate. What you see consistently are children at a very early age are starting school already behind. That’s why I’ve said that I’m going to put billions of dollars into early childhood education that makes sure that our African-American youth, Latino youth, poor youth of every race, are getting the kind of help that they need so that they know their numbers, their colors, their letters. Every dollar that we spend in early childhood education, we get $10 back in reduced dropout rates, improved reading scores. That’s the kind of commitment we have to make early on.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008

7. Teachers don’t go in to education to get rich. They don’t go in to education because they don’t believe in their children. They want their children to succeed, but we’ve got to give them the tools. Invest in early childhood education. Invest in our teachers and our children will succeed.
Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference Jun 19, 2007

6. If you’re a progressive, you’ve got to be worried about how the federal government is spending its revenue, because we don’t have enough money to spend on things like early childhood education that are so important.
Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview Feb 11, 2008

5. Children’s First Agenda: zero to five early education

High-Quality Zero to Five Early Education: Obama will launch a Children’s First Agenda that provides care, learning and support to families with children from birth up to five years old.
Source: Campaign booklet, “Blueprint for Change”, p. 20-23 Feb 2, 2008

4. We’ve got to have early childhood education.
Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum Jul 12, 2007

3. We’ll invest in early childhood education programs so that our kids don’t begin the race of life behind the starting line and offer a $4,000 tax credit to make college affordable for anyone who wants to go. Because as the NAACP knows better than anyone, the fight for social justice and economic justice begins in the classroom.
Source: McCain-Obama speeches at 99th NAACP Convention Jul 12, 2008

2. Michelle and I are here only because we were given a chance at an education. I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education.
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention Aug 27, 2008
1. This clip really seems to show where his heart is on the issue of voluntary Pre-K. Hopefully, he won't forget.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is important to look at how we can fix early childhood education. Maria Montessori methodology works and any preschool that is having a positive effect on how children learn use Montessori methodology whether they are aware of it or not.

Child-centered education is a key component in relation to how we can best serve a child, and nourish what they already naturally have, a love for learning.

We put so much pressure on children to read at a certain age and write at a certain age but forget the natural development of human beings.

We all learned to walk and talk without being taught. The wide spectrum of those accomplishments from 6 months to 16 months should inform us why it is so wrong to be pushing young children to all learn at the same rate once they enter school.

Look at child-centered education and the success rate in comparison to the "factory"system we have now. The factory system was used at the turn of the 20th century not to educate children but to get them to read as quickly as possible so they could then work at a factory. It goes beyond words we still use this system in most schools today.

Some of the greatest minds in history walked late, talked late and read late. Today they would have been quickly labeled poor students and the course of their life would have been radically different.

When are we going to see we need to change the way we educate children and clearly acknoweledge child-centered education is not alternative education but the only alternative if we are going
to do right by our children.