Yesterday’s The State (Columbia, SC) newspaper carried an opinion editorial by ICS Vice President Joe Waters and Associate Director of Policy Research Megan Carolan highlighting the successes of South Carolina’s full-day 4K program and opportunities for improvement.
While the headline “Poor children lag desipte 4K” paints a depressing picture for South Carolina’s children, The State’s recent report on 4-year-old kindergarten shows the program has succeeded in several goals.
Low-income children who attended the state’s full-day 4K program as preschoolers consistently outperformed children in low-income districts who did not attend 4K on the state’s third- through sixth-grade exams for math and English language arts. The program also has expanded impressively to serve more at-risk 4-year-olds in recent years, which can have meaningful impacts on K-12 education in these districts: The more 5-year-olds who show up to kindergarten ready to learn, the better for everyone, as teachers can focus on building on that knowledge rather than trying to fill gaps in knowledge.
This report does raise several areas where 4K must improve in order to ensure all children start school on the right foot.