Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ontario’s $1.5-billion kindergarten hoax

Back in September, when school opened, Ontario’s Liberal government made headlines with a good-news story. Its costly venture into full-day kindergarten was a complete success – the research said so! Kids with two years of full-day kindergarten showed measurably more cognitive and social progress than kids without it. Education Minister Liz Sandals called the results “nothing short of incredible.” Charles Pascal, a leading advocate of full-day kindergarten, said the study proved it’s a “life-changer.”

Unfortunately, the full research report was not yet available. Something about the i’s being dotted and t’s being crossed.

Now it is available. But you haven’t heard about it, because the results are terrible.

To be sure, there are shreds of good news. Some kids from “high-needs schools” (i.e., lower-income children) did better in a few areas. But kids from “low-needs schools” (i.e., more affluent ones) often did worse. In fact, “on several measures,” the non-full-day kindergarten programs “were associated with more positive outcomes.” Special-education kids also did better in non-full-day-kindergarten programs. For most children, it made no difference one way or another.

Oops.  (more...)

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