Tulsa Public Schools' early childhood education program gets high marks

Thursday, October 30th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A top grade for Tulsa Public Schools' early childhood education program. A team of Georgetown University researchers released a report Thursday that calls the district's 4-year-old program a success.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood breaks down the results.

This is one aspect of education where Oklahoma is leading the pack. Oklahoma offers parents a free, voluntary early education program with high standards for teachers. And the Georgetown study released Thursday says the program is working.

Researchers reported Tulsa's pre-K program is improving school readiness for 4-year-olds. They say kindergarteners who attended the pre-K program are more prepared for school than those who did not. Researchers say the teachers are a big factor in that success.

Oklahoma requires certified teachers in four-year-old classrooms and tries to keep those classes small. The study found low-income children in particular benefited from the program, improving their test scores by almost a third. Hispanic children participating in the pre-K program posted gains of more than 50%. And African-American students also showed substantial improvement, particularly when enrolled in a full day program.

William Gormley, Georgetown University researcher, "I think its evident that the Tulsa pre-K program is narrowing the achievement gap between blacks and whites, Hispanic and whites, and more broadly between more advantage and less advantaged."

Oklahoma is one of only three states that offers early education regardless of income.