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Class Quality Is Sticking Point

This weekend North Carolina state lawmakers earmarked $21.5 million to expand 4-year-old kindergarten to 7,000 children - the legislature's answer to a court's decree to better prepare poor children for success in public schools.

But a pair of words keep popping up: "high quality." Experts say only premium programs pack the punch that educators say is needed to help the most disadvantaged children prepare for kindergarten.

"Every single study that has shown impressive gains for children has always had a high-quality program," said Columbia University Teachers College associate dean Sharon Lynn Kagan, a national early childhood education expert. "So we have no evidence that you can get the kind of benefit that people are extolling about pre-kindergarten and early childhood education unless it's high quality."

This article, written by Lisa Michals and Knight Ridder, appeared in the May 30th, 2006 publication of The Sun News.

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