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Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?

To an outsider, it was tough to say which of the children’s behaviors were normal for 3- and 4-year-olds and which were signs of bigger issues. Increasingly, classrooms like the one over which Kelly presides are being eyed by social scientists and policymakers as both the place where problems emerge and the safety net that stands the best chance of addressing them. Preschool is often thought of as mere babysitting. But a growing body of research suggests that when done right, it can be much more than that. An effective early-education program can level the playing field for low-income black and Hispanic students relative to their white or wealthier counterparts, so much so that gaps in language comprehension and numeracy can often disappear by the start of kindergarten.