Utah legislators are debating whether to expand the state’s digital UPSTART preschool program or allocate more funding for traditional pre-kindergarten classroom education. At issue is how effective digital learning compares to children who attend preschool in person.
Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-Jordan) introduced Senate Bill 42 on January 16. It requests an additional $6 million to expand programs for at-risk preschoolers and would fund computer labs outside regular school hours. Sen. Stuart Adams (R-Layton) is asking the state for an additional $1 million to $2 million to expand the UPSTART program, which was allocated $2.2 million for the 2013 to 2014 school year.
In its fifth year of educating Utah preschoolers, UPSTART currently instructs 1,500 students. Another 3,700 are pre-enrolled for the 2014-15 school year. Students are supposed to spend 15 minutes every day on what essentially looks like a learning game, where cartoon animals help them sound out letters and words and count.
Thursday's ed news
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This video presents a satirical (but not very inaccurate) look at the modern frenzy to push every kid into college.
Well-known scholar Charles Murray describes the current U.S. higher education system this way:
First, we will set up a single goal to represent educational success, which will take four years to achieve no matter what is being taught. We will attach an economic reward to it that seldom has anything to do with what has been learned. We will urge large numbers of people...