Report examines impact of Iowa preschools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Report examines impact of Iowa preschools

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A report issued by the state Wednesday shows early academic gains in Iowa's preschool program may be lost by the third grade. A report issued by the state Wednesday shows early academic gains in Iowa's preschool program may be lost by the third grade.
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

A report issued by the state Wednesday shows early academic gains in Iowa's preschool program may be lost by the third grade.

The report states that preschool students made gains on a school readiness assessment, but the program's impact vanished later in reading and mathematics.

Through Linda Jacoby's nine years at Cedar Valley Preschool and Child Care Center, she has seen hundreds of children go through the program.

If you ask Jacoby, preschool works.

"I was shocked" by the report, Jacoby said. "It is definitely inaccurate."

She said it's an important time for these 1- through 5-year-olds in their learning.

"It's the time when the synapses and neurons are all working together, and we're trying to help build their capacity for learning," she said. "And, in that aspect, they are certainly working on a variety of skills including math concepts, literacy concepts (and) learning early reading skills."

According to Jason Glass, outgoing director of the Iowa Department of Education, the recent report was to determine whether the state's preschool program has a lasting effect on test scores.

He said the state's preschool program isn't showing an impact.

"But if you don't have those early experiences when their brains are so open to this and developing by the time they're 5, much of their criteria has been set in terms of what some of their skills are going to be available for," said Jacoby.

State Rep. Sandy Salmon, who serves on the House Education Committee, said they will have to take a better look at if the preschool programs do have an impact.

"We want to look at those results and re-evaluate and re-assess again, and measuring the merits and the cost and the available funding we have and the demands on that funding, and we'll have to take it from there," said Salmon.

Salmon, a Republican, said she doesn't know how much money from the government goes towards preschools.

She noted they will look at the data during the 2014 legislative session.

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