Posted by: endithinks | December 17, 2008

On Early Childhood Education

President Elect Obama has made numerous promises during his historic campaign, but none of them touched me quite as much as his pledge to reinvigorate Early Childhood Education (ECE).

Obama Education Pledge

Early education is one of the most efficient ways to dissuade youth from entering the world of crime and also gives them a better leg up on the competition that will and has been flooding our recent graduates from around the world.

Some people point to Head Start and see only the limitations and problems without arguing the results that can occur.  Most of the issues with early childhood education can be summed up in two phrases: lack of funding and lack of follow up.

Most early education systems get the child off to a great start in the first few years of education.  During first and second grades we see a market improvement in regards to academic achievement from those who have attended ECE.  We see good solid academics and a lack of problems that are behaviorally based.  What we see next though is quite surprising.

After the first few years of ECE the funding and participation tends to taper off and we see those children that benefited from ECE in first and second grade start to lose ground by third grade and by fifth grade they are at the point where they would have been without any sort of additional ECE.  So what happens from third grade to fifth grade?

Well firstly here in the United States for the first time in our history starting earlier this year more children are being raised in single parent homes than in two adult homes.  This in turn has lead to the increase in the “latch key” child syndrome which basically states that children are often looked after by older siblings, or by television and locked doors.

The problem with latch key children is that they tend to have little or no motivation to succeed in school due to the lack of encouragement and accountability that is not asserted by the absent parents.  The lack of adult motivation is the main culprit in the children’s lack of educational fortitude.

Secondly, the children turn to ways to entertain themselves with little adult supervision do so with an enormous handicap.  That handicap is a lack of common sense and a lack of repercussions thinking.  Children do have a sense of causation and effect, but they tend to lack in the actual if this then that typ0e of thinking that keeps most adults from engaging in stunts of desperation and stupidity, such as jumping off the roof and calling themselves “Superman,”  or more modernly “Ben Ten!”

So the children begin to slack in school and take unnecesary risks that are not tempered by an adult supervisor.  They also tend to once again be ignored and isolated by the instructors who may be overworked and underpaid and underequipped to deal with the particular needs of underprivieledeg children.

We see this achievement gap grow a shte child matures as their vision of adults begins to mimick their own treatment at the hands of those that do not have the training or expertise to be both teacher and parent to the left behind students.


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