Think Again: Surprised that Oklahoma is way ahead in preschool access? We're not.
The New York Times has caught up to the fact that politically conservative states, namely Georgia and Oklahoma, are way ahead of the rest of the nation in providing wide access and quality preschool to its youngest citizens. At State of Opportunity we weren't surprised at all because we, and This American Life, have covered the gains made in Oklahoma since we started reporting on Michigan children's well-being.
We hate to say, "I told you so," so instead we invite you to Think Again and review our reporting on Oklahoma's influence, as well as that of a 1960s experiment in Ypsilanti.
Jennifer Guerra revisited the 1960s HighScope Perry Preschool Program, which looked at the long-term outcomes of preschool investment. Spoiler alert: The outcomes are all good in terms of children's well-being and benefit to society.
This American Life's Alex Blumberg went to Oklahoma and interviewed some of the key political players who made that state the first to have publicly funded preschool. You think Netflix's House of Cards has some political maneuvering happening? Child's play compared to what went down in Oklahoma to make early education happen for the state's four-year-olds.
Dustin Dwyer, like a good reporter does, asked three questions about the White House's vague proposal for universal access to preschool: the what; the how much; and the when?
Looking back over the past year, have you seen progress when it comes to providing access to Michigan's kids? What do we have to learn from other states as Gov. Rick Snyder expresses a desire to commit more funding in the 2014 budget to early education?