Early education programs are important for all

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 16, 2014

Education is the key to success in life, so the earlier that process begins, the better a child will do in life.

With that in mind, it is essential that all children receive the opportunity to receive the best head start before entering the formal education system.

Years ago, most children began their formal education in kindergarten.

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These days there are several early education programs, such as Head Start and Early Head Start, which provide children of low-income families with the extra tools they can use to succeed as they work towards a high school diploma, or more.

Recently, the state pilot program entitled pre-K was announced for the Picayune area.

This program is similar to Head Start and Early Head Start in that it provides children with an educational leg up, but there is a difference.

The difference with this program is it is offered to any child from any background, not just children from low-income families.

This provides an opportunity for families who have an income just above the poverty level, but that income is not sufficient to provide the funds necessary to enroll their child in a costly award winning early education program.

That situation leaves those families with the difficult task of finding a program they can afford that will also provide a high level of education. With limited space, how does the program decide what child can attend, and who will not? There will most likely be a lottery held to ensure every child has the opportunity to receive the benefits.

The lottery may be the best way to ensure fairness in the enrollment process, but it means many children who could benefit from this program will miss out.

However, until a better process is conceived, the lottery is only fair way to approach this situation.