Reading Roundup: Surprising (Good) News about School Readiness

In the past week, news outlets have been reporting on new, surprising research out of Stanford University regarding the narrowing of the school-readiness gap. The findings include:

  • low-income children are entering school with stronger reading and math skills
  • the achievement gap between low- and high-income kindergartners shrank 10-16%

Below is a roundup of four articles, each with their own take on the good news. 

The Good News About Educational Inequality by Sean F. Reardon, Jane Waldfogel and Daphna Bassok

(The New York Times)

The study's authors share their findings in The New York Times. Key quote: "It’s worth noting that the gap in school readiness narrowed because of relatively rapid improvements in the skills of low-income children, not because the skills of children from high-income families declined." 

Low-income kindergartners are closing the achievement gap, reversing a decades-old trend by Emma Brown

(The Washington Post)

Possible explanation for the academic increases made by low-income children: increased focus on early childhood education programs; low-income families now spend more time reading and doing educational recreational activities with their children; public information campaigns about the importance of rich educational experiences for young children. 

Surprise! Amid Rising Inequality, One School Gap Is Narrowing by Eric Westervelt

(NPR.org)

An interview with the study's lead author, Sean Reardon (Stanford University), who attributes the gains to improvements in the quality of preschool, and family and community engagement. 

Finally, a disturbing trend in education shows signs of reversal by Joy Resmovits

(Los Angeles Times)

Key quote: "Why does it matter? Better-prepared kindergartners often have more success in high school. 'The skills that kids have when they enter kindergarten can be very predictive of how they’ll progress through school,' Reardon said. 'It’s hard for schools to undo the differences.'"