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Preschool Education Expert to Speak

November 8, 2005 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- It is estimated that one-third of America’s children entering kindergarten are unprepared to do so.  That means these students are not just “left behind” but that they are not even at the starting line when beginning their formal education.

An Inquiry Series Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, will explore the issue of preschool education for all children and feature remarks by a national leader of the universal preschool movement. The event is co-sponsored by Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) and the Inner-City Teaching Corps.

“Is Illinois Leaving Children Behind in the First Grade?” will be held at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson, Chicago. Part of a series of dialogues for civic leaders and individuals interested in education, its $25 fee includes the cost of breakfast. Pre-registration is requested. Visit the SESP Web site at <http://www.sesp.northwestern.edu/newsCenter/?NewsID=141> to pre-register.

In an address titled “One State’s Struggle with Quality Pre-K Education and the Lessons for Elsewhere,” David Lawrence Jr., president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, will explore the challenges Florida faced in implementing a universal preschool education program. A constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters required that voluntary pre-kindergarten education for all the state’s four-year-olds be made available this year.

Lawrence’s organization was instrumental in the adoption of the Florida preschool program.  He will give an overview of the state program designed to prepare four-year-olds for school success and discuss how the state will pay for it. Florida is one of only eight states in the country that provide any kind of universal preschool opportunities.

P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy and chair of the board of directors of the Foundation for Child Development, will provide a brief perspective on universal preschool education in Illinois. She also will moderate the discussion and a question-and-answer session. 

Chase-Lansdale studies how poverty, neighborhood, early parenthood, family structures and maternal employment affect children and families. A board member of the MacArthur Foundation Network on the Family and the Economy, she is author of “The Well-Being of Children and Families.” For more information, call (847) 467-2073 or e-mail l-versino@northwestern.edu.

Topics: Campus Life