Check out Joanne Jacobs’ blog about this research by Grover Whitehurst at the Brookings Center on Children and Families. Read it and weep.

My take on all of this?

Fascinating and oh, so sad for these children, their families, and our nation. And worse, these studies seem to confirm earlier ones about the lack of long term positive effects from preschools. Yet we continue to throw good money at these, while ignoring efforts that may actually be more effective!

While I’m not an early childhood expert, whoever that may be, I am a former teacher, school attorney, parent, and concerned citizen and have written about this issue in my book, SPECIAL EDUCATION 2.0.

If we are truly interested in closing these gaps in early childhood, we need to work with parents and guardians IN THEIR HOME–not wait till children are three or four years old to take them OUT of the home. The work needs to be done from birth onward, through language, singing, reading, working with hands, etc. We need to help parents be their child’s BEST first teacher.

It’s that early early childhood gap that schools and school-based programs cannot close and, unfortunately, that often continues to widen through the school years. Four year olds, even three year olds– is too late. There’s already that gap in learning.

Some programs with which I’m familiar include 10 Books a Home, An Ounce of Prevention, Zero to Three, Providence Talks, Too Small to Fail, Nurse Family Practice, and others.

Let’s put our money, love, and efforts into programs that work with families in their homes, not create more institutions out of the home. Let’s put our efforts into programs that have a good chance of working.

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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