A push to expand pre-kindergarten programs could make a difference for Decatur.
The painful fact that hampers everything Decatur City Schools tries to accomplish is that 62 percent of its students live in impoverished households.
Poverty places major burdens on families that limit their children’s preparedness for kindergarten. Arguments abound over why poverty harms school preparedness, but the fact is undisputable. Children from poor families, more often than not, already are behind the day they walk into their kindergarten class.
Numerous studies establish that pre-K programs go a long way in correcting this gap. They also establish that the lack of preparedness creates a deficiency that translates into lower aptitude all the way through their education. Drop-out rates are far higher for low-income children who did not attend pre-K than for those who did. The same gap extends into college enrollment and future income.
Maybe Decatur cannot afford to make pre-K available to all families who want it, but school systems that have taken the step have discovered dramatic reductions in expensive special-education, remedial and disciplinary programs.
By helping the children, we can create a better future for Decatur.
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