Quality pre-K helps diverse learners succeed
The CFT believes that every student has the right to a high-quality education starting with universal preschool. Educating our next generation is the key to creating an engaged citizenry and the skilled workforce we need to be competitive in today’s global economy. Ensuring that sufficient resources are dedicated to education — beginning with preschool — will yield huge payoffs in academic success and better position California to face its many challenges.
- Research indicates that a student who finishes second grade without being able to read has only a 1 in 4 chance of reading at grade level by the end of elementary school.
- About 20 percent of kindergartners have no familiarity with basic reading skills, including not knowing to read the words left to right and top to bottom. One out of three is unable to recognize the letters of the alphabet. Without these and other basic skills, those groups of students who start school behind tend to stay behind.
- The achievement gap is wider between certain groups. English learners perform less well than English-only students, and blacks and Hispanics do less well than non-Hispanic whites on pre-literacy and other school readiness measures.
Effective preschool is key to closing the achievement gap
High-quality preschool is a powerful force in building language, cognitive and intellectual skills. Research shows that children who attend quality pre-K score higher on school readiness measures at kindergarten entry, and effective early literacy experiences have been recognized as a first step in closing the achievement gap for students.
Research informs us that children who know the alphabet when they enter kindergarten are 20 times as likely to be able to read simple words aloud at the end of kindergarten. These same children are three times as likely to be able to read and understand words in simple sentences by the end of first grade.
Making the investments now to build quality preschool programs; deploying early literacy tools; and then progressively expanding access to those programs is critical to narrowing the achievement gap for all students. Today, funding for early childhood education is grossly underfunded. If we are going to turn things around, an aggressive break from present policies is needed.
Early childhood unpreparedness is preventable. That’s why the CFT supports effective pre-K grounded in early literacy skills and strategies that promote success among diverse learners.
Links and resources for early educators
- AFT Early Childhood Everything you want to know from our national union including policy, research, and organizing to ensure early educators have a voice at work.
- Subscribe to AFT Early Childhood Educators, an e-newsletter about early childhood education issues.
- Colorin Colorado Helping children read and succeed.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children A leading voice for high-quality early care and sponsor of annual conference.