Without universal preschool, poor test results no surprise

Friday December 27, 2013 12:30 PM

To the Editor:

I am, like most who see the statistic, horrified to learn that 58 percent of the third-graders in Columbus City Schools didn't pass the fall third-grade reading assessment. But I'm not surprised. And you shouldn't be either.

The one thing we know for sure, and data backs this up, that impacts that reading score is quality preschool education -- something that is increasingly short supply in Columbus, Ohio and the nation.

Of those students who were lucky enough to attend one of the district's few preschool classrooms, better than 80 percent pass the third-grade reading test.

Since the amount of prison space needed in the future is generally figured based on third-grade reading scores today, we can all count on a very expensive future for taxpayers and for the unfortunate poor children among us who can't afford preschool.

If you want to blame someone, we have to blame our lawmakers and ourselves. Cuts to Head Start, failure to put up and pass a levy that would provide true universal preschool, and a "me first" mentality got us here.

But will we see this as the wake-up call it truly is? Call Congress and demand increased Head Start funding. Call the school board and demand a levy to fund universal pre-k -- and then get behind it.

It isn't just the future of a few children at stake here -- it's our entire community.

Tiffany Grinstead