Jul 22, 2018
ELW

Caffeinated Thoughts – Is Iowa’s Investment in Pre-K Education Worthwhile?

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In this article by Shane Vander Hart at Caffeinated Thoughts, Dr. Effrem makes several statements about the ineffectiveness and invasiveness of government preschool programs in the context of the release of Iowa’s new early childhood standards:

“Having state defined preschool content standards, especially that include controversial social-emotional skills and attitudes like gender roles and family structure diversity, is a major usurpation of parental rights and family autonomy. Because Iowa’s and every other state’s preschool standards are mandated by the federal Head Start Act, they are also unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment,” Dr. Karen Effrem, President of Education Liberty Watch, stated.

Effrem referred to a randomized control trial of Tennessee’s voluntary pre-school program by Vanderbilt University researchers that showed that academic gains achieved by students in Tennessee pre-K classrooms began to fade out by first grade and reversed by second and third grade. Researchers also noted more disciplinary infractions and special education placements by third-grade than students who did not enroll in pre-school…

…Effrem noted that there is much research that demonstrates not only does pre-K programs lack long-term academic benefits, but that short-term benefits fade and pre-K students have behavioral and academic setbacks.

“The emotional harm is particularly concerning and ironic, because preschool is the grade level that has had social-emotional standards in every state and for the longest period of time. Research also shows that it is early academic and attention skills, not social-emotional skills, that are most predictive of long-term academic achievement, but also shows that children who are allowed to play and creatively explore do much better than those subjected to standardized learning at this age,” Effrem said.

“The best thing that Iowa could do for the state’s children and families is to get rid of these standards and rote, mechanized learning and let them be kids,” Effrem added.

 

 

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