By Grace Smith
This year, Congress is seeking to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and as a part of that goal create equity of opportunity, starting with the country’s youngest children. A document published by the US Department of Education this month, entitled A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America, spells out the issues at hand that must be addressed in order to offer quality early childhood education to families in every geographic area, of every race, and of every socioeconomic level.
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan begins the outline of how this will be done:
“I believe that every single child deserves the opportunity for a strong start in life through high-quality preschool, and expanding those opportunities must be part of ESEA [the Elementary and Secondary Education Act].”
If school readiness gaps between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers is not closed, the country will be unable to ensure that all children graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, careers, and life, says the Department.