Connecticut has some of the nation’s largest achievement gaps between white students and students of color. To close them, Connecticut’s schools must do a much better job of serving low-income, black, and Hispanic students. But, because one-third to one-half of the achievement gap exists before children start school, efforts to close those gaps must also start earlier, in the preschool and early childhood years.
The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and the Gov. Dannel Malloy recently announced the first round of winners in the Smart Start initiative. And while they acknowledged that many school districts opted not to apply, they fail to acknowledge the glaring truth about the reason, i.e. this is a bad initiative and a bad prescription for universal preschool in Connecticut. And if Smart Start proponents continue to advance this initiative, the towns not selected will not be the only losers in this equation. Children
Smart Start proponents are advancing the idea that access to preschool education in the public schools with a certified bachelor degree teacher is the fix to the largest achievement gap in the US, while ignoring that every teacher in Connecticut’s K-12 system, where the gap exists, is certified with advanced degrees themselves.