I’d waive that magic wand and the United States would suddenly care about educating its youngest citizens. As a nation, most of us in the U.S. seem to be preoccupied with important issues like free speech and the right to keep our guns, while other nations are quietly working on issues that insure the TRUE long-term stability and prosperity of a nation — like properly training their future workforce and investing tax dollars in educating even the youngest citizens. The U.S. ranks woefully low among the world’s nations in the percentage of 3 and 4 year olds enrolled in preschool. We assume that kids’ academic skill levels will eventually all come to an equilibrium, but research indicates that preschool enrollment is a predictor of future academic achievement. Many states are mandating that 3rd graders be held back if they do not meet academic competency standards — this means we have no time to lose. It is on the adults’ shoulders — not the third graders’ — if they are not measuring up.
If anyone is looking for a different project in the year before us, please join me in personally investing time and resources into our classrooms and in talking to Congress about why its postponing discussion about funding K4 programs in the U.S. At the same time, we will have opportunities to talk to and influence people — young and old — about the other values we cherish.