Obama & Education

It is often assumed that the Democratic presidential nominee is privy to more spending on education. Obama is no different, but where he spends it is what is encouraging. Education News has a great synopsis of his plans, including 10 billion for 0-5 education, providing more money for Pre-K grants and childcare tax credits. What I found most interesting was this:

Additionally Obama has proposed quadrupling the funding for Early Head Start which provides close social and nursing service support for very young children and their mothers. Were this 0-2 program successfully set up, it would be one of the most singular positive events in U.S. education history.

While the author is a bit grandiose in stating it as “one of the most singular positive events…”, the notion of providing early childhood development care for not only the children, but the mothers (and perhaps fathers?), is worth the money.  Shirley Brice-Heath'”No Bedtime Story Means: Narrative Skills at Home and School” (ed. Levinson, Schooling the Symbolic Animal, 2000) discusses the discrepancies between three home environments – not claiming any as superior – but noting how middle-class, white students are often prepped by parents and preschools to fit into the framework of “school.”  It is a fascinating study in what is valued in American schools and how those priorities often shut out students whose home lives provided them with a different set of skills.  So while funding early education to all students is important, adopting new priorities in the curriculum is imperative in aiding students (and their parents – because their interest in schools is just as relevant) in their transition from home to school.

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