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[Xmca-l] Re: Critical Early Learning

Looking back through old files I found a chapter I wrote over 10 years ago exploring some of these issues. In case some of you have nothing better to do on a three-day weekend I'm attaching it.


Attachment: Packer 2001 Cultural and critical perspectives on.pdf
Description: Packer 2001 Cultural and critical perspectives on.pdf

On Nov 10, 2013, at 3:06 PM, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <pmocombe@mocombeian.com> wrote:

> I find it strange that education is always promulgated as the key to resolving social inequalities.  However, the black/white academic gap is widest among black students from middle and upper middle class families vis-a-vis their white counterparts than it is between lower class blacks and their white counterparts?  Furthermore, we academics tend to speak about poverty as though it is a natural phenomenon than can be broken by an individual social actor as opposed to poverty being a social construction that needs to be resolved with social policy, increased minimum wage, heavy and i mean heavy taxes on the wealthy, free access to medical health services, and free education.
> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> President
> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> www.mocombeian.com 
> www.readingroomcurriculum.com 
> -------- Original message --------
> From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> 
> Date: 11/10/2013  1:30 PM  (GMT-05:00) 
> To: xmca-l@ucsd.edu,Ray McDermott <rpmcd@stanford.edu>,Shirin Vossoughi <shirinvossoughi@gmail.com> 
> Subject: [Xmca-l]  Fwd: Critical Early Learning 
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Frank Kessel <kesfam@pdq.net>
> Date: Sun, Nov 10, 2013 at 9:14 AM
> Subject: Critical Early Learning
> To: Frank Kessel <kesfam@pdq.net>
> [image: The New York Times] <http://www.nytimes.com/>
> ------------------------------
> November 9, 2013
> Oklahoma! Where the Kids Learn EarlyBy NICHOLAS D.
> KRISTOF<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/nicholasdkristof/index.html>
> TULSA, Okla. ? LIBERALS don?t expect Oklahoma to serve as a model of social
> policy. But, astonishingly, we can see in this reddest of red states a
> terrific example of what the United States can achieve in early education.
> Every 4-year-old in Oklahoma gets free access to a
> year<http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/14/is-oklahoma-the-right-model-for-universal-pre-k/>
> of
> high-quality prekindergarten. Even younger children from disadvantaged
> homes often get access to full-day, year-round nursery school, and some
> families get home visits to coach parents on reading and talking more to
> their children.
> The aim is to break the cycle of poverty, which is about so much more than
> a lack of money. Take two girls, ages 3 and 4, I met here in one Tulsa
> school. Their great-grandmother had her first child at 13. The grandmother
> had her first at 15. The mom had her first by 13, born with drugs in his
> system, and she now has four children by three fathers.
> But these two girls, thriving in a preschool, may break that cycle. Their
> stepgreat-grandmother, Patricia Ann Gaines, is raising them and getting
> coaching from the school on how to read to them frequently, and she is
> determined to see them reach the middle class.
> ?I want them to go to college, be trouble-free, have no problem with
> incarceration,? she said.
> Research suggests that high-poverty parents, some of them stressed-out kids
> themselves, don?t always ?attach? to their children or read or speak to
> them frequently. One well-known study found that a child of professionals hears
> 30 million more words by the age of
> 4<http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/us/language-gap-study-bolsters-a-push-for-pre-k.html>
> than
> a child on welfare.
> So the idea is that even the poorest child in Oklahoma should have access
> to the kind of nurturing that is routine in middle-class homes. That way,
> impoverished children don?t begin elementary school far behind the starting
> line ? and then give up.
> President Obama called in his State of the Union
> address<http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/13/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-plan-early-education-all-americans>
> this
> year for a nationwide early education program like this, for mountains of
> research suggests that early childhood initiatives are the best way to chip
> away at inequality and reduce the toll of crime, drugs and educational
> failure. Repeated studies suggest that these programs pay for themselves: build
> preschools now, or prisons
> later<http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/opinion/sunday/kristof-do-we-invest-in-preschools-or-prisons.html>
> .
> Because Obama proposed this initiative, Republicans in Washington are
> leery. They don?t want some fuzzy new social program, nor are they inclined
> to build a legacy for Obama. Yet national polling suggests that a majority
> of Republicans favor early-education initiatives, so I?d suggest that Obama
> call for nationwide adoption of ?The Oklahoma Project? and that Republicans
> seize ownership of this issue as well.
> It?s promising that here in Oklahoma, early education isn?t seen as a
> Republican or Democratic initiative. It is simply considered an experiment
> that works. After all, why should we squander human capacity and perpetuate
> social problems as happens when we don?t reach these kids in time?
> ?This isn?t a liberal issue,? said Skip Steele, a Republican who is a Tulsa
> City Council member
> <http://www.tulsacouncil.org/councilors/district-6.aspx> and
> strong supporter of early education. ?This is investing in our kids, in our
> future. It?s a no-brainer.?
> Teachers, administrators and outside evaluators agree that students who go
> through the preschool program end up about half a year ahead of where they
> would be otherwise.
> ?We?ve seen a huge change in terms of not only academically the preparation
> they have walking into kindergarten, but also socially,? saidKirt
> Hartzler<http://www.unionps.org/filesSite/Kirt_Hartzler.pdf>,
> the superintendent of Union Public Schools in Tulsa. ?It?s a huge
> jump-start for kids.?
> Oklahoma began a pilot prekindergarten program in 1980, and, in 1998, it
> passed a law providing for free access to prekindergarten for all
> 4-year-olds. Families don?t have to send their children, but three-quarters
> of them attend.
> In addition, Oklahoma provides more limited support for needy children 3
> and under. Oklahoma has more preschools known as Educare
> schools<http://www.educareschools.org/home/index.php>,
> which focus on poor children beginning in their first year, than any other
> state.
> Oklahoma also supports home visits so that social workers can coach
> stressed-out single moms (or occasionally dads) on the importance of
> reading to children and chatting with them constantly. The social workers
> also drop off books; otherwise, there may not be a single children?s book
> in the house.
> The Oklahoma initiative is partly a reflection of the influence of George
> B. Kaiser, a Tulsa billionaire who searched for charitable causes with the
> same rigor as if he were looking at financial investments. He decided on
> early education as having the highest return, partly because neuroscience
> shows the impact of early interventions on the developing brain and partly
> because careful studies have documented enormous gains from early education.
> So Kaiser began investing in early interventions in Oklahoma and advocating
> for them, and, because of his prominence and business credentials, people
> listened to the evidence he cited. He also argues, as a moral issue, that
> all children should gain fairer access to the starting line.
> ?Maybe the reason that rich, smart parents had rich, smart children wasn?t
> genetics,? Kaiser told me, ?but that those rich, smart parents also held
> their kids, read to them, spent a lot of time with them.?
> I tagged along as a social worker from Educare visited Whitney Pingleton,
> 27, a single mom raising three small children. They read to the youngest
> and talked about how to integrate literacy into daily life. When you see a
> stop sign, the social worker suggested, point to the letters, sound them
> out and show how they spell ?stop.?
> Some of the most careful analysis of the Oklahoma results comes from a team
> at Georgetown University led by William T. Gormley
> Jr.<http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/gormleyw/?PageTemplateID=364>
> andpublished in peer-reviewed
> journals<http://www.crocus.georgetown.edu/publications.html>.
> The researchers find sharp gains in prereading, prewriting and
> prearithmetic skills, as well as improvements in social skills. Some
> experts think that gains in the ability to self-regulate and work with
> others are even more important than the educational gains ? and certainly
> make for less disruptive classes. Gormley estimates that the benefits of
> Oklahoma?s program will outweigh the costs by at least a ratio of 3 to 1.
> So how about it, America?
> Can we embrace ?The Oklahoma Project? ? not because it?s liberal or
> conservative, but because it?s what is best for our kids and our country?
> I invite you to comment on this column on my blog, On the
> Ground<http://www.nytimes.com/ontheground>.
> Please also join me on Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/kristof> and
> Google+ <https://plus.google.com/102839963139173448834/posts?hl=en>, watch
> my YouTube videos <http://www.youtube.com/nicholaskristof> and follow me on
> Twitter <http://twitter.com/nickkristof>.
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