Hawaii was once a leader in early childhood education. Today it ranks among the 12 worst (along with Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Montant, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) when it comes to early childhood education, says NIEER, the National Institute for Early Education Research. Why? It has no state-funded programs.
In an interview on KITV, ABC TV’s local affiliate in Honolulu, Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, notes that most brain development happens in the early years; a lack of a pre-kindergarten education puts children behind.
Like Dr. James Heckman who addressed Missouri business leaders at a summit around early childhood education last November, he agrees that later efforts in a child’s life can overcome early disadvantage but it costs society far more and “puts a lot of pressure on everything that follows to make up for things that could have been done right the first time…”
Missouri has just slashed its budget for the state’s 524 Parents as Teachers programs by more than 60% going into FY2011.