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Closing the Opportunity GapWhat America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance$
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Prudence L. Carter and Kevin G. Welner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982981

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982981.001.0001

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Achievement Gaps Start Early

Achievement Gaps Start Early

Preschool Can Help

Chapter:
(p.98) 7 Achievement Gaps Start Early
Source:
Closing the Opportunity Gap
Author(s):

W. Steven Barnett

Cynthia E. Lamy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982981.003.0007

W. Steven Barnett and Cynthia E.Lamy describe how access to high-quality earlychildhood education is crucial for closing the opportunity gap. Differences in achievement test scores and high school graduation rates can be largely explained by differences in abilities that are evident well before children enter kindergarten. While it is possible that more equitable opportunities to learn within formal schooling could repair much of this early damage, in the present situation children who begin school substantially behind are unlikely to ever catch up. To be successful, they contend, efforts to decrease inequality in achievement and reduce school dropout rates should begin in the first five years, when the problem originates. High-quality, publicly funded preschool education for preschoolers will provide a stronger foundation for subsequent educational supports, allowing them to focus less on remediating achievement gaps and more on maintaining a higher trajectory of achievement for all of America’s children.

Keywords:   early childhood education, poverty, learning, preschool, K-8 education, achievement

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