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Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut (Hoover Institution Press Publication) First Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0817949914
ISBN-10: 0817949917
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Editorial Reviews

Review

From The Washington Post
I haven't seen enough preschools, good or bad, to decide whether Finn is right. But his analysis is a good starting place. There has been much written about the benefits of universal preschool. This report will inspire much more, both positive and negative, and help those of us overwhelmed by conflicting data to figure out the essentials, and see the weaknesses on both sides of the debate. --Jay Mathews, © 2009 The Washington Post Company

About the Author

Chester E. Finn Jr. is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, senior editor of Education Next, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and chairman of Hoover's Task Force on K–12 Education.
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Product Details

  • Series: Hoover Institution Press Publication
  • Hardcover: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Hoover Institution Press; First edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817949917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817949914
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,511,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Timothy J. Bartik on June 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is worth reading as a thought-provoking, well-written advocacy piece for a particular policy perspective on preschool education. Some of the points made are important ones that should be heeded by policymakers and preschool advocates. However, the book does not provide a well-balanced perspective on the relevant research. Research that supports the author's position is highlighted, research that does not is downplayed. Finally, at a few points the author questions the sincerity of preschool advocates' positions, a debating tactic that seems unlikely to promote constructive dialogue.

Finn's book advocates for the following policy positions with respect to preschool:

*** Universal preschool is a bad idea because it is argued to not be needed for most preschoolers to be well-prepared for kindergarten. Furthermore, in most cases any positive effects of preschool are argued to fade out unless complemented by improved K-12 schools.
*** Targeted preschool on the most disadvantaged can make a difference in their kindergarten readiness, which may make a difference if followed up by better K-12 schools.
*** This targeting is likely to be considerably more effective if the preschool experience is more intensive in hours, years, etc., although considerable experimentation is needed to determine what is most effective.
*** Preschool is also likely to be more effective if quality measurement and evaluation focuses less on input measures such as staffing credentials and staffing ratios, and more on outcomes in terms of assessments showing cognitive skills that predict kindergarten success.
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Format: Hardcover
There is growing support for a policy that would provide free preschool for all children in America, but this book identifies some important tensions within the movement for universal pre-K and some serious problems with the policy. It is a must-read for anyone concerned about improving educational outcomes, particularly for our nation's disadvantaged children, or for anyone worried that the billions taxpayers are being asked to spend on universal preschool might be better spent on other programs.

This book makes the point that there is a real contradiction in the arguments made on behalf of universal preschool. Many people want the government to provide preschool for all because they want to help disadvantaged kids start their schooling off right. But Finn argues that offering free preschool to all of our nation's four-year-olds is not the way to accomplish that goal.

Finn reviews the evidence on the effects of preschool and finds that disadvantaged kids benefit most from intensive programs that focus on remedying their deficits. They will not necessarily gain much from the more watered-down programs that would inevitably be provided if the funds for pre-K have to be spread across all 4 million of our nation's four-year-olds. Instead of targeting funds on our neediest children, a program of universal preschool will involve spending a lot of tax dollars to pay for preschool for well-off families, families that today happily pay for preschool with their own money.

At 100 pages long, this book provides an excellent summary of what the advocates aren't saying about universal preschool.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a splendid, well-argued book for policy makers, educators, and parents. Well written, it covers the pros and cons of preschool and its appropriateness for different kinds of children. Highly recommended.
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