I applaud the Globe for supporting the expansion of state funding for early education in the March 26 editorial “Evidence suggests state should invest earlier in children.” Research demonstrates the long-term benefits of early education, while economists cite the cost benefits to society. In Massachusetts, we take pride in our mixed delivery system of early education — public schools, private programs, Head Start, and family child care — all capable of providing high-quality programs. Yet your editorial questions whether young children should participate in programs run by our public schools.
Some of the best early education is found in public school systems across the Commonwealth, serving 13 percent of the state’s preschoolers. Teachers in these programs have bachelor’s degrees or higher and state teacher certification. Most serve our youngest children with disabilities in integrated settings with their nondisabled peers. As preschoolers transition into elementary school, already established home-school connections can help pave the way for success.
You question whether “young children should be educated alongside older kids.” In fact, there are many examples where older students serve as mentors for their younger schoolmates, benefiting both older and younger students alike. As a consultant and longtime advocate for early education and care for all children, I have seen high-quality programs in all sectors of the field. We should build our early education system with quality everywhere children are served.