'Preschool for all' would help nation, say 2008 Grawemeyer Award winners

December 18, 2007

Making preschool available to all children age three and older in the United States would carry great benefits, say three Yale scholars who have won the 2008 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education.

The change would improve the school-readiness of the nation's young children, fill a gap for working families, lower the high school dropout rate, reduce crime and boost the economy, award winners Edward Zigler, Walter Gilliam and Stephanie Jones, argue in their winning 2006 book, "A Vision for Universal Preschool Education."

Forty U.S. states now fund pre-kindergarten programs, but the programs enroll fewer than 10 percent of all preschoolers, Zigler, Gilliam and Jones found.

Using research gathered over four decades, the winners set out specific actions that can be taken to develop good universal preschool systems. The book "stands alone in its field for its accessibility, clarity, timeliness and ability to combine a solid research background with practical recommendations," said their award nomination.

Zigler, a Yale University professor emeritus of psychology who helped found the nation's Head Start program, directs a child development and social policy center at Yale that carries his name.

Gilliam, a Yale psychologist, conducts research on the effects of preschool programs, while Stephanie Jones, now a Fordham University psychologist, studies the social and emotional aspects of early childhood and adolescence.

The Grawemeyer Foundation at UofL annually awards $1 million -- $200,000 each - for outstanding works in education, psychology, music composition, ideas improving world order, and religion.

The 2007 Grawemeyer Award in Education went to School Development Program founder James P. Comer, M.D., the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine's Child Study Center.
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For more details on all the 2008 winners of the Grawemeyer award or to download photos of the winners, see www.grawemeyer.org or contact Robert Felner, University of Louisville, 502-852-3235.

Yale University

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