Since then, academic achievement has dropped considerably across the demographic spectrum. The reason for this is simple: Kids no longer, as a rule, come to school having already learned to pay attention to adults (women, in particular), accept assignment from them, do their best, and fear the consequences if they don’t. In the 1950s, the rare child who came to school having not learned those things was regarded as ill-trained. Today, he has a disorder and needs one or more drugs that have never reliably outperformed placebos in clinical trials. This amounts to a massive cover-up, a scam, a scandal.
A recent study has confirmed what Elkind and others said years ago: Pre-K programs are a waste of time and money — taxpayers’ money, to be exact. Children exposed to pre-K academic instruction entered kindergarten well ahead of children who had not, but the gains were unnoticeable by the end of the kindergarten year and “by second grade, the performance of the control children surpassed that of the (pre-K group) on some academic measures.” By the end of third grade, the control group (no pre-K instruction) were outperforming the pre-K children on every academic measure at a level of statistical significance. The authors of the study, published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, mention that their findings are consistent with outcomes for children enrolled in Head Start.