by Cara Stillings Candal
Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
July 31, 2014
States should replicate high-quality early education charter schools in which student outcomes are clearly delineated and transparent, and the schools should be held accountable based on whether they achieve those outcomes. Longitudinal research shows that high-quality can make a difference, closing achievement gaps and improving life outcomes for all participants. Yet not all preschools are created equal – some emphasize academics and some do not. One model of high-quality academic preschool comes from the AppleTree Institute in Washington, DC. Its curriculum is appropriately play-based, rigorous, and focused on developing critical pre-literacy and numeracy skills. Through investment and innovation, a renewed focus on early childhood education can ensure the expansion of AppleTree and programs like it – programs that succeed in closing the achievement gap before it begins.