Saturday, July 31, 2010

We like this article!

Hurrah for getting off on the right foot! Read this!!

Excerpted from

Preliminary findings of a follow-up research project, which originally followed Tennessee children from kindergarten to middle school, may have proved Robert Fulghum was right -- we really do learn everything we need to know in kindergarten.

The Starr Project
The Starr Project initially took place in Tennessee in the 1980's with the goal of discovering the effects of early education on future academic success. Like similar studies, the Starr Project discovered that smaller class size was better, teacher quality makes a difference, and most advantages of early education fade by junior high school.

Nothing new here, so we're moving along.

Fade Out Effect of Early Education
The fade-out effect is well documented. Simply put, the effects of early education tend to even out with most students ending up in about the same place academically by middle school, regardless of whether they went to pre-school or kindergarten. But it's a measurement based primarily on standardized test scores. Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist, wonderedwhat the effect of having a good, or great, kindergarten teacher might have on the actual lives of adults.

New Research
Tracking down nearly 12,000 of the children who participated in the Starr Project -- who are now hovering around age 30 -- Chetty and his researchers set out to measure the quality of their lives in terms of the type of kindergarten experience they had. What they found could change the current attitude about education and its importance.

Chetty discovered that students who learned more in kindergarten, all other factors being equal, were less likely to be single parents, more likely to have gone to college, and are saving for retirement. But here's what makes economists and politicians take note: the students, now as adults, were also likely to be making more money than their peers. Whatever they had gleaned from their kindergarten experience was paying off in terms of dollars and cents.

With the recession raging on, more and more stories appear in the media claiming education can't protect people in dire economic times. Chetty's study seems to prove this assumption wrong, based mostly on anecdotes. In fact, the research strongly suggests that a good early education is the best inoculation against hard times a society could create for its children.

The study has yet to be peer reviewed, but the initial findings have provided more compelling evidence to the idea that kindergarten teachers play a vital role in laying a child's educational foundation. In terms of value – with a child's eventual earnings as an adult being taken into account – a great kindergarten teacher is worth $320,000 dollars a year.