Up | February 16, 2013
>>> president obama made a strong push to create a pre-k program across the country. kids are short in encage when they enter kindergarten. three in four tare enrolled in pre-k. the president made this point in tuesday's state of the union address . on thursday in georgia , the first state in the country to provide universal pre- school for all 4-year-olds.
>> study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. here tees thing. we are not doing enough to give all of our kids that chance. in states like georgia that made it a priority to educate our youngest children, states like oklahoma, students don't just show up in kindergarten, first grade more prepared to learn, they are also more likely to grow up reading and doing math at grade level , graduating from high school , holding a job, and even forming more stable families.
>> stud vees shown we -- the learning skills the more affluent parents have to give to their kids. higher income kids are more likely to spend time in pre- school . possibly. probably because their parents can afford it. the benefits directly related to early childhood education have not been lost on other countries. the average pre- school enrollment is 77%. average pre- school enrollment for the u.s. hovers just above 56%. around 55.7%. voluntary universal pre-k had broad support. georgia providing free pre- school for any 4-year-old whose parents want it. with the alabama's governor calling for a 16% increase in the budget it seems like rare example of good policy that could conceivably maybe find something like bipartisan support. back to the table dedrick muhammad, diane shotzenbach, associate professor of human development in social policy at northwestern university . great to have you all here.
>> thanks for having us universal pre-k, walk us through the research here. this has been -- i made a joke the other day it is like -- almost like the joke about worthwhile initiative. it is like a liberal cliche that obviously this is a good idea and -- research just seems to grow and grow and grow. suggesting. what are the -- what are the below the headlines of the research that people -- folks may not know.
>> i want to start by saying they are not -- not many areas where you see this level of agreement among -- people ranging from jim heckman to al krueger , ben bernanke , all agree on this policy issue which is that this is a really good investment for children. so calculates that every collar spent on high quality early childhood education pay as 10% return in the long run. something that's -- maybe not well moan is that studies have shown that this is the most efficient time and in the life psych tool invest in people. if we invest in job training, kids are older, things like that, we get much less of a bang for the buck than we do if we start when kids are quite young. there's scientific studies on the green that back this up about the brain and i have a 4-year-old myself. they are sponges at this point in time.
>> let me ask you this. the big counter example and i think the place where this gets contested is what that term high quality is doing a lot of work. right? it almost seems kind of -- if i said like -- you know, if you get high quality education, a great return. well, sure, yeah. absolutely. it is like -- you know what, if you get a high quality job you are really going to like your job. the high quality is doing all the work there. the question of -- high quality in my understand sing that word in some ways is being used to mean not head start . a lot of the panel data we have on head start which is, of course, the signature program in the federal government to do early childhood education , the -- biggest study of that seemed to show results that were eh.
>> i think that this week -- head start studies have been maligned, unfairly. i think our best research on head start -- seems to show that there are long-term positive outcomes. we see from the head start results, you know, increase and likelihood you graduate from high school and increased college going. one study from the 1960s from head start that happened in 1960s that finds kids are less likely to die of consequences -- causes that mate have something to do with poverty.
>> you think the line head start actually is not what it is sold as or actually doesn't help kids. it is just wrong. data does not bear this out.
>> that's correct. we have tons and tons of research on this. i think we can do better than head start . i think head start has been falsely maligned this week.
>> what's your feeling about this? i guess the question is -- a, do you think this is the right direction to go policywise? b, do you have skepticism about the implementation?
>> it is tough to be -- be against pre-k.
>> that's the idea. minimum waging and pre-k, let's do it, america.
>> you raised a good point which is -- on education, sort of generally like it is one of the rare areas where there seems to be some consensus between republicans and democrats and that kind of thing. new jersey is sort of -- very far down the road and in terms of implementing a high-quality pre-k experience for 3 and 4-year-olds a 4-year-old. extraordinarily epic k-12 public school spending. to your point the definition of high quality there at least it is worth looking at. there are lots of requirements on it that i think are unmess. like -- toilets have to be this high. and kids immediate this much square footage . there's other ones pretty good like class sizes, site being really for in pre-k. if not so much in k-12 where the research is over. like 15-1. it is extremely expensive. it is like $13,000 a student. 20% higher than the k-12 national average. this is a big deal in terms of the expense of going universal . but the -- thing i would argue is the most for piece about it is it is one of the country's biggest school choice programs. it is a state pay and parent chosen and mixed delivery system with sort of private community based providers. and -- districts competing against one another. and anything in sort -- expansion, like for a focus on low-income kids, where i think it should be, if you are not delivering this in a way that's competitive where parents controlling where the pre-k education happens, i think you are sort of looking more uphill than you already are now.
>> derrell is making me nervous.
>> let me say --
>> naacp has been a big proponent.
>> that's right. we did a report. finaling our way -- finding our way to first was part -- name of the report. first part was this idea of universal pre-k. the naacp report, it is pretty broad and just as president obama 's -- call for universal pre-k is broader. not like it has to be this, this, this. i think it is pretty focused on getting federal money to states -- states to implement what this -- universal pre-k is. could it have an evolved school choice . i don't believe that universal pre-k is going to solve everything. i think that we immediate to be clear in -- you know, we can talk about this much earlier on. state of the union address , it was a broad address. host of economic issues. quality pre-k education but you don't get quality k or middle score oi or high school . you don't have quality jobs in your community. i don't believe that -- still going on have these issues. i mean, i don't believe that school choice either is a -- will solve everything.
>> i mean, it says something about the way our current system is set up if you will expand education it is almost outside of our political realm of the imagemation. that you would actually mandate a new level of school . the way we deal with policy problems now, it is we are going to -- coupon state. we are going to send money and go into the private market and mark set going to provide it. no one is saying back in 1917 walter mondale had a proposal that had a lot more basically creating a new grade of school before kindergarten nationally. that's very different than what is being proposed now. i want to talk about the details with the republican senator, very excited to have, who supports universal pre-k but skeptical of the president's program that he's from your home state of georgia and we are going to talk to senator isakson just