Let’s support efforts to level the academic playing field
September 22, 2016 12:00 AM
I was encouraged by friend and former Olympian Bruce Baumgartner in his Sept. 9 Perspectives piece, “The Academic Medal Count,” which equates the success of elite training of athletes at the youngest possible age to the need for doing the same with academics for students entering kindergarten. He poses a truly Olympian idea: Invest more in quality education for students to greatly improve the chances for their success at the outset of their lives.
The Pittsburgh Promise is one of many programs aimed at improving educational outcomes, closing the achievement gap and removing cost barriers for young people to succeed. The Promise has seen firsthand the need to bolster learning and ambition in children as early as possible. In fact, kindergarten-readiness is a prerequisite to Promise-readiness in our urban schools.
If our leaders in government and business would adopt such proposals to fund a game plan to enhance and expand a quality-driven prekindergarten plan for the children of Western Pennsylvania, educational interventions would conceivably be less necessary.
We must also consider that our current K-12 and postsecondary students will not directly benefit from these policy changes and must continue to remain deeply committed to the mission of The Promise — to ensure that all of Pittsburgh’s students have access to postsecondary education and successfully obtain a degree that connects them to meaningful employment.
Access to prekindergarten and programs like The Pittsburgh Promise create an opportunity to level the playing field for all children to achieve their full potential regardless of the income level of the families they inherited. Students, families, schools and businesses will all benefit from these important efforts and investments.
FRANCO HARRIS Chair, Board of Directors The Pittsburgh Promise Hill District
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