Kindergarden

Jason Moon for NHPR

 

It’s a pregnant moment for state education policy. Republicans control Concord, and Gov. Chris Sununu ran on a promise to change how education is delivered here. Key aspects of that debate – full-day kindergarten, broad school choice, and the power of the state education commissioner were all debated Tuesday by lawmakers. But the message was mixed, and decidedly less conservative than last year's election results would suggest.

This summer, millions of excited 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds will be getting ready for their first real year of school. But some of them may be in for a wake-up call when that first bell rings.

If you have young kids in school, or talk with teachers of young children, you've likely heard the refrain — that something's changed in the early grades. Schools seem to be expecting more of their youngest students academically, while giving them less time to spend in self-directed and creative play.

Thunder Hill Elementary via Flickr CC

The incomes of wealthy and poor American families have diverged over the past three decades, so too have the educational outcomes of the children in these families. For more on why money matters when it comes to early childhood education and success later in life, we turn to Greg Duncan. He, along with Richard J. Murnane, is the author of Whither Opportunity?, which looks at the consequences of rising inequality for America’s education. Duncan spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.