Improving student success has been a major concern in educational research. Educational research seeks to address the behavioral model in students, teachers, and other players in the learning sector. Many researchers have come up with findings and conclusions that can be implemented in educational institutions to realize fair achievement level of students in different domains.
This article (Sticht, n.d) describe the importance of treating preschool children differently so that they can achieve similarly. The article is aimed at empowering the consumers of educational research on the need to consider appropriate strategies in improving the achievement gap of preschool children.
The effect of universal preschool education program was studied in the article (Sticht, n.d). The main question to ponder is “does providing universal education program help reduce the achievement gap between the poor and the rich children?” Many scholars and educational researchers have come up with different views on the issue concerning early childhood learning.
Heckman, a Nobel prize-winning economist, suggested that resources should be focused on the aspects that can bring higher returns in the long run; that is focusing on the disadvantaged population. He argues that family setting is a strong predictor of children’s future performance. Likewise, Lynch Robert, of the Economic Policy Institute, about research on the significance of preschool programs, outlined that most of the early childhood education programs also offer adult education and parenting classes.
This shows that maybe a larger portion of the benefits these programs generate might result from the effects of offering other educational activities. As an assertion to this concept, the book, The Obama Education Plan: An Education Week Guide, suggest that many of the gains analyzed in the research of early childhood programs reflect the effects on the parenting behaviors of parents whose children were involved in such programs.
Parenting skills is an important aspect of improving children performance. Morrison, Bachman, and Connor, authors of Improving Literacy in America suggested that the concept of parenting is an important source of influence on children’s achievement than childcare. High-quality childcare cannot counter the bad effect of poor parenting, and poor quality childcare cannot prevent effective parents from improving their children’s performance.
This implies that many of the changes in children emerge from changes in their very poor parents. Thus, there is a need for a short-term education system that could help improve the achievement of poor children in the long-run. Such programs are also likely to have a better outcome on poor families than rich families. In essence, it is important to treat children differently, according to their family background, to reduce the achievement gap between them.
Review and Evaluation
As a global advisor in adult education, Sticht (n.d) has used convincing sources in supporting his arguments. The sources cited in the article are from educational researchers who know about early childhood development. The study suggests the need to treat children differently to close the achievement gap. In this sense, the conclusion is well understood with regards to the issue in question. However, Sticht did not consider other views opposing his argument.
There are other reasons as to why a universal preschool program is important. The article can be morally thought of as favoring the utilitarian approach to solving an ethical decision. Sticht considers the highest benefit that can be realized by implementing the preschool program in disadvantaged families. But the moral rights principle suggests that people should be treated according to their rights and freedom.
Every child has a right to education, and arguing that children should be treated differently might undermine their stability in education. Being in a disadvantaged family does not mean that the family cannot improve its status.
There is also the issue of effective parenting and childcare; advantaged families can have bad overall parenting abilities than disadvantaged families. This can still widen the achievement gap. Thus, the article (Sticht, n.d) is a one-sided study, in which the findings do not reflect a wide range of different views; the preference of one group is not represented well.
I do not fully agree with Sticht. Although treating children differently might help close the achievement gap between poor and privileged children, universal preschool programs can also help. Universal preschool programs can improve family stability and hence fair to all.
I think he should have presented different views, supported by evidence, on the issue before arriving at the conclusion. Still, sources cited in the article are mainly from the United States. This contradicts the title “an international consultant in adult education” that the author holds. Also, I suggest the study should be repeated in consideration of different views.
Sticht, T.G. Will universal preschool increase achievement gap?