Oklahoma! Where the Kids Learn Early
By Nicholas D. Kristof
November 9, 2013
LIBERALS don’t expect Oklahoma to serve as a model of social policy. But, astonishingly, we can see in this reddest of red states a terrific example of what the United States can achieve in early education.
Every 4-year-old in Oklahoma gets free access to a year of high-quality prekindergarten. Even younger children from disadvantaged homes often get access to full-day, year-round nursery school, and some families get home visits to coach parents on reading and talking more to their children.
The aim is to break the cycle of poverty, which is about so much more than a lack of money. Take two girls, ages 3 and 4, I met here in one Tulsa school. Their great-grandmother had her first child at 13. The grandmother had her first at 15. The mom had her first by 13, born with drugs in his system, and she now has four children by three fathers.