Q+A: Does Preschool Really Matter?

We talked to Parents advisor Robert Pianta, PhD, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, about why good, affordable early-childhood programs are important to all American kids.

Q. What's your take on the U.S. preschool system?

A. First, let me clarify something: We really don't have a "system." What we have is a crazy quilt of early-childhood options, ranging from formal pre-kindergarten programs to nursery schools in church basements and mom-and-pop daycare centers that only the neighbors know about. There are excellent programs in each of these categories, but there are many more that aren't so good.

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