San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro has gone national with his Pre-K 4 SA initiative, proclaiming at the Democratic National Convention that it’s one way he is invested in education for the youngest of his constituents. Castro is counting on the measure to pass in the general election to give thousands of four-year-olds a quality, full-day early education.
Rutgers University’s Dr. Steven Barnett, who is the director for the National Institute for Early Education Research, thinks the program will make a difference, despite what critics say.
“It will serve 20,000 children over the life time of the initiative," said Barnett, "20,000 children who get a better start, who have a chance for a better future. That’s a big deal.”
He said his over 25 years of research has shown the benefit of investing in pre-school is 10 fold.
Barnett said he was a Navy brat who traveled from town to town and school to school and he knows the difference between good education and bad. It’s what led him to study education through the lens of economics, but why is he invested in education in Texas?
“I’m involved in Texas for two reasons," said Barnett. "One is, my wife’s a Texan. And she hasn’t lived here for a long time but Texas is home and she’s going to bring me back here someday. So I have a personal interest in the future of this state. But also, a very large percentage of American children live in Texas. So to some extent the future of Texas is the future of our country.”
Barnett said he thinks pre-K will keep children motivated and out of trouble, and will help them carve a path to success.
Each side of the Pre-K 4 SA program will be discussed this evening at the KSTX Town Hall at the Peal Full Goods Studio; the discussion begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.