Arne Duncan and Delta Air Lines leader call for national policy to include preschool

Arne Duncan is the U.S. Secretary of Education. Roy Bostock, a Republican, is vice-chairman of the board of Delta Air Lines, a former Chair of Yahoo! Inc., a retired director of Morgan Stanley and is a member of business group ReadyNation.

By Arne Duncan and Roy Bostock

America’s greatest strength has always been its people, and our enduring belief that our country is—and must continue to be—a place where all of us can go as far as our talents and determination may take us. Today, more than ever, success isn’t just about what you know, but what you can do with what you know—skills like creativity, critical thinking, and working well with others.

These skills are built beginning in the earliest years of life. That’s why—if our country is to remain a global leader in today’s knowledge-based economy—high-quality early education must be accessible to every family who seeks it for their child. When policymakers debated a replacement to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—better known as No Child Left Behind—this week, Senators Patty Murray, Johnny Isakson, Bob Casey, and Mark Kirk created and helped to pass an amendment to the bill that aims to improve and expand high-quality early learning programs. We applaud them for this bipartisan effort and believe that an investment in preschool must remain a strong part of the final bill.

Before she ever studies a software manual, the 3-year-old future programmer must build a foundation for learning how to read. The future neurosurgeon must begin to think critically and understand how to solve problems. And the future educator must develop a passion for learning and the socio-emotional skills to work with people.

The state is debating a law changing the kindergarten starting age. (AJC File)

Should preschool be part of our national education policy? (AJC File)

The moral argument for quality early learning also is compelling. Children from disadvantaged families should be given the chance to enter kindergarten at the same educational starting line as do children from more affluent families.

Yet, we know that children from low-income backgrounds enter school, on average, 12 to 14 months behind their peers in language development and pre-reading skills. These children start school at a deficit—and, too often, they never catch up. That’s not a formula for cultivating the highly skilled, dynamic workforce America needs in a world where the competition for good jobs waits for no one.

To prepare children for their future, public education can no longer mean just kindergarten through senior year of high school. It must reflect the real, scientific understanding that learning begins long before age five.

Our nation is at a critical moment. Congress is working to renew ESEA, which provides federal dollars and sets guidelines to help ensure that factors like poverty, race, disability, language needs, and zip code don’t limit the education a child receives.

We all should care about the new education law being decided for our country. A good bill must increase the likelihood that every child in America starts kindergarten ready for success. A good bill must help to expand access to high-quality early learning and address preschool waiting lists across the country.

Of the approximately 4 million 4-year olds in the United States, about 60 percent—or nearly 2.5 million—are not enrolled in federally or state-funded preschool—the vast majority of public preschool.

And while most children who have access to preschool attend moderate-quality programs, African-American children and children from low-income families are the least likely to attend high-quality programs.

In a world that demands deeper knowledge and sophisticated skills, all children must have the opportunity to build a strong foundation for learning, so that they stay strong through college and careers. Businesses today already have experienced the effects of weaknesses in our human capital pipeline. Approximately 40 percent of U.S. employers have reported difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of available talent.

Businesses, governors, mayors, Republicans and Democrats, and communities throughout the country have shown their support for early learning. They understand that we can begin addressing these weaknesses and strengthen our nation when all children begin kindergarten prepared to succeed.

Research on disadvantaged children confirms that high-quality preschool yields great benefits both to individuals and society, through increased high school graduation and employment rates, lower rates of crime, better health and greater lifetime earnings, creating increased tax revenue. And while the range of savings varies across studies, investments in early education can also produce robust returns to taxpayers—approximately $8 for every dollar invested.

Significant new investments in high-quality preschool are necessary to help states, local communities, and parents ensure that children are set up for academic and career success long before kindergarten. This isn’t strictly an education issue. It’s not just an economic issue. And it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It’s an American issue; because we all share a stake in our children’s success.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

19 comments
Bill Baker
Bill Baker

Arne you and the DOE suck - take your 5000 employees fire all of them and put your 6 billion plus budget in the hands of students NOT SCHOOLS they will only build more lower learning rooms at schools that are already failures.

your 5000 employees could be dispersed all over the US to work as administrators (if they are anything like as good as you say they are) to develop a better system to teach and learn. First PRE education is a waste it is only a place for working parents to dump their kids at for 8 hours. School day care centers ran by the school district and staffed by college students for educational teaching credit would have more people than needed to give your HYPHEN American kids a start and turn the funding over to the state to come up with some help in its funding.

REWORK THE SCHOOL SYSTEM FROM FIRST GRADE TO 12th - Comingle ages 6,7,and 8 in each room under 1 teacher with no more than 10 students of each age for a total class size of 30 throughout the 3 grades - this system wouldn't take any more space (class rooms) than segregating them all by each age group.

THE BENEFIT - learning is a Childs first job. Participation, expectation, and repeating over and over for 3 years is learning

first they learn in first grade by participating while hearing what's expected of them in 2nd grade and 3rd grade.  by 2nd grade they participate (learn) while hearing a review of first grade and have an expectation for what will be 3rd. As a 3rd grader they participate (learn) and hear a review of 1st and 2nd (Repeat) Students helping students learn by having the entire class help the teacher with individual student to student answers to problems. Just like On The Job Training in businesses No business puts trainees working all together they are mentored by senior employees as well as supervisors (Teachers) use this system for 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.

DO AWAY WITH STAGES OF LEARNING at the 7th grade which consists of only 7th graders teach everything they need to know to be 8th graders because the 8th grade will be taught at a High School by elementary teachers and will adapt them to High School environment also it would allow 9th grade remedial to review and pass required 8th grade learning. 9th 10th and 11th grade will comingle as elementary school did for all "STEM" requirements only Elective classes would remain the same but would allow advanced participation where adaptable. (shop classes- metal, wood, automotive, drafting, and computer).

HIGHER LEARNING - 12th grade (Seniors) would be taught at the nearest College, by qualified High School teachers in a College environment. THIS IS WHERE GOVERNMENT MONEY SHOULD BE SPENT - AT A COLLEGE PROVIDING ROOMS TO TEACH IN FOR 12th GRADE. NOW THE PROBLEM GETTING STUDENTS TO GO TO COLLEGE WOULD BE SOLVED THEY WILL SEE AND PARTICIPATE A STUDENTS AND NOT FEAR ADVANCED LEARNING AS AN UNKNOWN EXPERIENCE



JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

Assro/Popacorn


I see you guys are still hard at work......trolling.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Although early childhood education will help to balance more the wide range of educational variances between the disadvantaged child and other children, we must not think in terms of one major solution to this ongoing problem.


There will always be a range of variances between students' achievement levels through high school and that is because IQ variances, and other factors of need, will always be present among human beings, including among children and adolescents.

This is why failing students for a whole year's work is not an enlightened way to comprehend educational growth and improvement.  If a child masters 50% of the content in 4th grade and we as unaware educators decide to fail him for the entire years' work, we will have him repeat 50% of that curriculum that he has already mastered.  This is a waste of time (and boring) to the failed student, who now may also develop discipline problems because he knows he is "different."


The more enlightened educational philosophy is to continuously teach every student where he or she is functioning at point in time at his or her diagnosed instructional levels, regardless of year in school (or grade level) demarcations.  We must teach every students' mastery of skills and concepts at his/her individual rate of learning to that mastery.  This means that some students may take 13 or even 14 years of continuous progress growth to master all of the high school course requirements and some students may master the high school requirements for graduation in 11 or even in 10 years.  No one is "failed" per se.  Each student keeps moving forward at his or her individual rate of learning to mastery until he or she masters the needed high school requirements to receive a high school diploma that has validity.  There should, also, be at least two types of high school curriculum courses offered to receive the valid high school diploma - those who are college-bound and academic in their unique gifts, and those who are gifted in the trade skills and who plan to further their skills in these areas in advanced trade schools and apprenticeships after high school, not through college/university advancement for academic prowess.

Observer_
Observer_

Lyndon Johnson (an American president of the 1960s, for you traditional public school grads) decided to spend a mountain of money to end poverty. He called his multifaceted welfare program the War on Poverty.

Because of the $22 trillion we've spent fighting poverty since Johnson, poverty no longer exists in America. 

Neither does that $22 trillion, of course.

bu2
bu2

@Observer_ 

Head start was a failure.  It had no long term impact.  Sounds like an effort to resurrect it.


There's no NEED to read before kindergarten.  I, like many others, didn't learn to read until 1st grade.  In fact, that may be more developmentally appropriate than what people are doing now.  The advantages of almost all of these pre-school programs disappear by 3rd grade.


They've found 1 or 2 programs that seem to have long term effects.  Lets see if it can be replicated before spending billions and trillions on something that doesn't work.


What clearly does work is targeted spending. Tutoring, OT, ST and similar services for those who need it.  One size does not fit all and it wastes billions of dollars that could be much better spent elsewhere.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

“These skills are built beginning in the earliest years of life.”

Built?  Really?  Delta’s airplanes are “built.”  Nothing about human beings and human qualities is “built.”

May this statement stand as a fine example of corporatists’ mechanistic thinking applied to even the youngest of human beings.  Theirs is the mechanistic thinking inherent in the business model that has so horribly infested and brought great harm to our public education systems, especially those serving so-called disadvantage children.

When school districts such as APS adopted the business model and all that entails – including, for example, competition, ranking, targets, rewards, sanctions, balanced scorecard, pay for performance, skills, and human capital – they also adopted the corporatists’ mechanistic thinking, unavoidably.  Consequently, the leadership of those school districts ceased being capable to improve public education as the social system it is, inherently.

Without question, when APS adopted the business model most deliberately with Beverly Hall as superintendent, APS set out to ultimately experience the cheating scandal it did experience.  All of it was so predictable.

In his seminal article, From Mechanistic to Social Systemic Thinking, the late Russell Ackoff offers the kind of knowing and understanding that escapes Duncan, Bostock, and many other corporatists.

 http://acasa.upenn.edu/socsysthnkg.pdf

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@EdJohnson We DO build SKILLS, which is what it said.


However, I agree with you re the business model attempting to be applied to education.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Wascatlady @EdJohnson


Please see my just posted comments, above, regarding a continuous-progress educational design which teaches skills, and concepts, at individual rates of learning for each student through high school.

Belinda51
Belinda51

That evil, corporate money MUST not be accepted and infused into our schools. Oh wait...we'll take your money, but shut the hell up about how we spend it.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@EdJohnson


Well said. 


From Russell Ackoff's article, ". . .world views do not die; they simply fade away. . ."


In today's world, we are experiencing the fading away of an individualistic world view, imo, to a more humanitarian world view.  This emerging world view will also affect corporations becoming more humane (service oriented).  We cannot go backwards into a self-oriented world and a world of "mechanistic thinking."  We must forge onward into a more egalitarian, humane world in which the servant leader leads and the followers understand true empathy for their fellow man and woman.  Spiritually, we are all one. This is why public education must remain not for profit, and service-oriented. This is the world view of the future and it is the more humane world view.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@Wascatlady


Might you agree "competency" offers a more humanistic way of thinking than does "skill?"  And "develop" more so than "built?"  And then public education being the environment that provides for children to develop a variety of worthwhile competencies, however one might define wothwhile?

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Two more affluent  achievers telling the rest of the Nation " Here's how its done " Just tax and borrow and throw more millions after the billions already spent and THIS TIME we think it will work SURE, that's what LBJ thought. Until the affluent liberal achievers are willing to face the fact that dysfunctional families product more dysfunctional families who develop a lifestyle of Government dependence the results will never change. The only way to have any immediate change is for forced sterilization of certain members of our society who reproduce without responsibility, drastic yes but talking around the issue will only insure the same results that we have seen the last 40 years

Intteach
Intteach

@Infraredguy Forced sterilization? You must be kidding - I thought we fought in WW2 to put a stop to those kind of ideas!

Astropig
Astropig

When big government and big business agree on something so completely,watch out.


PJ25
PJ25

@Astropig Yeah, I'm not sure what makes DAL think they should be able to make public policy as of late. DAL destroyed a lot of lives in the 00's and doesn't rank really high on many people list of desirable corporations to work for or spend money with. 

Astropig
Astropig

@Andy123 @Astropig


It's pretty simple, I think. Delta wants free day care for its child bearing employees and they want the taxpaying public to pay for it. Duncan is a general that wants a bigger army. No mystery here.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

No matter how much money they force taxpayers to spend the State will never level the playing field with good parenting. Corporations meddling in public education fueled the APS scandal and attempted to sweep it under the rug; they cannot be trusted in this context.  If Corporations truly cared about these kids they'd employ and train the parents.

BKendall
BKendall

“Preschool is surrogate academic parenting.”

WOW!

I just cannot believe that I just flayed this to the root of the problem that nobody wants to really talk about, consider, or do something about.We have been leaving children behind for so long, many are now great grandparents.

In conclusion, I support Preschool; if we are not going to help parents break the chain-of-inability to academic parent, then we need to help children break the chain-of-inability, with the hope they as parents will do a better job academic parenting their children.