Teach Your Children (well)*

Just the other day I sat with a principal whose school is supported by Teaching Matters. We were talking about 1st graders whose promotion was in doubt. Imagine that - so young, and already losing ground. What did these children have in common? None of them had a pre-K education.

If we are serious about the heavy lift of Common Core and the higher expectations we are placing on students, let's tackle what else is necessary: doing our best to make sure children are ready to learn when they arrive at school.

And let's do it right. Let's not pay lip service to pre-K education, but short our children on quality. The research shows that quality matters to results. Of course.

As we seek to level the playing field by introducing pre-K for all young children, let's make sure that we deploy both adequate resources and the right leadership. Happily, Mayor de Blasio has made a promising appointment to this post. And we appreciate his strenuous efforts to assure that the funding for pre-K is adequate and sustained. We don't want to move in fits and starts.

People care about 3 and 4 year olds - and they care about launching our youngest New Yorkers in the right way. In fact, from the President, to the Governor, to the Mayor, the song is similar - create a good foundation for learning. People from around the education community are harmonizing - from Eva Moskowitz to Tweed. We can all unite around that goal, can't we?

And while we're singing from the same songbook, let's look at the words and music just a bit more. We think charters and district schools can and should co-exist in the delivery of pre-K services. We need to bring all available talent to the table. When charters tackle the task, they shouldn't be singing selective notes.

Student placement needs to be fair across all schools, structured so that children need not have a savvy or motivated parent to get an even break. That means creating real incentives and requirements to serve students with special needs. Furthermore, the data on the success of these students needs to be transparent.

Getting it right in the earliest years is critical. Teaching Matters is now investing in research and program design to bring our model of teacher support to K-3 early education. We are committed to getting students off on the right foot - and we are happy to know that public sentiment is so firmly behind the cause.

If we want to be one New York, serving the littlest New Yorkers is a great place to start.

*(Song title by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)