Thursday, June 29, 2017
Kevin Woodson's recent article, Why Kindergarten Is Too Late: The Need for Early Childhood Remedies in School Finance Litigation, 70 Ark. L. Rev. 87 (2017), recommends that funding for early childhood education in low-income districts should be included in states' education clause responsibilities. Excerpted (and slightly altered) from Prof. Woodson's article:
The case for early childhood programs as remedies for inadequate educational opportunity is now more compelling than ever. Scores of scientific and social science studies over the past ten years have made increasingly clear the extent to which differences in the quality of care and enrichment that children experience in their earliest years powerfully shape their future educational careers and thereby reinforce intergenerational cycles of inequality. [T]his Article aims to resurrect, and reinvigorate, [Harvard School of Education Dean Jim] Ryan's argument in favor of preschool as an essential remedy in education adequacy litigation. But whereas Ryan--based in part on his reading of the existing social science literature--focused specifically on adding one additional year of pre-kindergarten schooling, this Article argues for an even more robust expansion of early childhood-focused efforts. Relying upon a mounting body of research on the importance of children's home literacy environments and development experiences during infancy and toddlerhood--as well as empirical findings from a number of controlled field experiments--this Article also argues that states should implement and fund programs to provide developmental support for economically disadvantaged children in the first years of life.