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The Head Start Program - Quality Early Childhood Education

            One mission of education is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to excel in both academics and life. However, many factors prevent education from serving this role. One of the main factors is the inequality of early childhood education received by children in different socioeconomic status, which is extremely significant in shaping a child's success academically and economically in later years. Socioeconomic status is often measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation. This means that those who are from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds suffer from low level education, low income, and have low-paying jobs. As a result, children from lower socio-economic backgrounds do not have equal access to quality early, childhood education causing them to fall behind academically.
             High-quality early childhood education, or preschool for children between the ages three and five, can significantly impact a child's success academically and economically in their adult years. In fact, many research articles prove the long-term positive effects of quality early, childhood education. For example, an article written by Schweinhart, Belfield, Nores, and Barnett (2005) talked about a high quality preschool program called The Perry Preschool Program. This program consists of three parts: a center-based program for 2.5 hours per day for each weekday, the ratio of 5 students to 1 teacher, and group meetings of parents. According to this study, adults at the age 40 who participated in the preschool program "had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than adults who did not have preschool " (Schweinhart et al., 2005, p. 14). The results from this study prove that children who participate in high quality preschool achieve higher academic and economic status compared to those who did not participate in any programs.

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