Wednesday, May 16, 2007

UPK: Boston Vs. Florida

I report, you decide.

Ok so Boston has a universal program run by the public schools, featuring teachers with bachelors degrees. yada yada yada

Boston preschools falling far short of goals, study says
Teacher quality, site safety faulted
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff April 7, 2007

Boston's public preschool and kindergarten programs are hobbled by mediocre instruction, unsanitary classrooms, and dangerous schoolyards, according to a first-ever study of the programs.

The quality of instruction and facilities in 70 percent of the classrooms, the Wellesley Centers for Women study said, is inadequate to achieve the school system's primary goal: To get the children, most of whom are black and Hispanic and from low-income families, up to speed by first grade so they are as prepared as their white and Asian peers.

Leaders of the school system, which has spent $7.5 million to add preschool classes the last two years, said they found the results sobering and would launch an overhaul of classroom instruction and teacher training.

The findings of the study, which was commissioned by the school system, also are prompting questions about whether the city, pushed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, moved too quickly to add preschool classes.

"We ought to know what we are doing, so it's very clear we're not just offering child care, but that we're adding programs of substance and integrity," said Elizabeth Reilinger, chairwoman of the School Committee. "When kids are entering the first grade, they should have a sound footing or be a step ahead, not in remediation."

Menino has touted the expansion of preschool from 38 classes in 2004 to 78 this school year as part of the city's progress in education. The school system estimates it will spend at least $20 million a year on preschool education if it meets the mayor's goal of offering free preschool for all 4-year-olds in Boston by 2010.

The researchers also found that the four-year-olds were sitting in their seats (Like K-12 children) being lectured to and responding to flash cards.

For the full sad tale go here.

Florida is looking pretty good. In a statewide parent survey, 92 percent of parents reported satisfaction with their preschool choice and 88 percent reported that their children were progressing in reading and math.

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