From: Benjamin Gibbs
To: Lee Perry,
Subject: Early Education DOES Benefit Children
Date: Tue Feb 11 06:44:54 MST 2014
Body:
Feb 11, 2014 Representative Lee Perry State Capitol , Suite 350 350 North State Street Salt Lake City, UT 84114 Dear Representative Perry, I am writing to ask that you support school readiness and vote YES on HB96. I am an assistant professor of Sociology at Brigham Young University. I specialize in early childhood education and its long-term impact of later educational achievement and child well-being. I have written about early math and reading skill development over the life-course, from 9 months to 5 years of age in some work and cognitive skill development from Kindergarten to 8th grade in other work. My research has been published in Social Science Research, Pediatric Obesity, International Journal of Educational Development and the Journal of Pediatrics. Friday, Lisa Cummins posted a public e-mail urging legislators to vote no for HB96. She argues that there is evidence supporting the claim that "early education does NOT benefit children" and that "having a child separated by their caregiver" produces anxiety. These are strong claims that are not well supported in the literature. The first is based on a book written in 1979 and the second from the book "Hold on to Your Kids." I think Cummins claim is a fair for debate, BUT it assumes all kids have the same enriching home environments in early childhood, but this simply isn't true. The second claim is a creative interpretation of literature about family stress in the home applied to her concern that children "separated away from its immediate care giver" will experience stress. As preschool is normative for advantaged children, its hard to believe that preschool for these kids is as traumatic an experience akin to divorce, child abuse, and neglect as Cummins suggests. The same Center for the Developing Child at Harvard that Cummins cites also has a lot of good things to say about early childhood intervention. As you decide about the merits of HB96, I urge you to read this well-written, sound, and brief summary of what education scholars and neuroscientists have learned over the past 40 years: http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/briefs/inbrief_series/inbrief_program_effectiveness/ Sincerely, Dr. Benjamin Gibbs 708 S 200 W Orem, UT 84058-6214 (801) 850-3508