The Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics

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Overview

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year PSP Award for Excellence, Association of American Publishers
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
The Sandbox Investment comprehensively assesses the policy and politics of the preschool movement in the U.S. Kirp uses a wide range of data sources, including evidence from preschools in Chicago, discussions of preschool experiences in several U.S. states and in Great Britain, and an extensive overview of scientific and social scientific research on the subject. This large body of research, which comes from geneticists, neuroscientists, and economists, reveals that paying for universal preschool up front can reduce the substantial costs associated with crime, poor health, and unemployment later in life...The subject matter could not be timelier.
— N. Kraus
Education Next
Kirp has written a remarkably well-researched and comprehensive book on where we stand today on pre-K education. The variety of approaches different states have taken to extend education downward is impressive, and it is hard to see how or whether any “one best system” will emerge. Here is an issue that clearly deserves more research and fuller exploration.
— Nathan Glazer
American Prospect

The first comprehensive portrait of this universal pre-kindergarten (pre-k for short) movement. For those interested in children's and education issues, it's a valuable primer on this significant but relatively new movement.
— Sara Mead

San Francisco Chronicle

A productive read for parents, teachers and policymakers alike...[Kirp] leaves his reader with no doubt that our country would be better off if every child had the opportunity to attend a good-quality preschool and walks the reader through the benefits with concrete examples to explain what universal, quality preschool involves. He also makes a clear distinction between quality education and the education our government is currently providing.
— Amy Alamar

Roanoke Times

David L. Kirp presents a cautionary tale of the results to be faced if American children are not provided meaningful, accessible and mandatory prekindergarten programs...The Sandbox Investment chronicles America's attempts to provide meaningful pre-K education to all. It is a clarion call so that we not underestimate the ramifications of a lack of early learning and its effect upon American life in the 21st century. An excellent and necessary read for both the student of education and soon-to-be parents.
— Amy Roberson

District Administration

This behind-the-scenes account of shrewd political campaigning introduces readers to key local and national figures in school systems, foundations, universities and legislatures who are trying to develop and run preschools. It also provides a clear and comprehensive account of academic developmental psychology and developmental neuroscience research on the plasticity of the growing brain and the long-term impact of early experience. All the elements that have propelled the preschool movement, such as brain science, molecular genetics, economics, evaluation and issue-framing, are dissected.
— Carol Patton

Choice

The Sandbox Investment comprehensively assesses the policy and politics of the preschool movement in the U.S. Kirp uses a wide range of data sources, including evidence from preschools in Chicago, discussions of preschool experiences in several U.S. states and in Great Britain, and an extensive overview of scientific and social scientific research on the subject. This large body of research, which comes from geneticists, neuroscientists, and economists, reveals that paying for universal preschool up front can reduce the substantial costs associated with crime, poor health, and unemployment later in life...The subject matter could not be timelier.
— N. Kraus

Education Next

Kirp has written a remarkably well-researched and comprehensive book on where we stand today on pre-K education. The variety of approaches different states have taken to extend education downward is impressive, and it is hard to see how or whether any “one best system” will emerge. Here is an issue that clearly deserves more research and fuller exploration.
— Nathan Glazer

Robert B. Reich
What's the best investment we can make in the next generation? David Kirp gives us the answer in this clear and passionate book: early childhood education. The evidence is overwhelming. The need is beyond doubt. Read this and send copies to everyone you know who's concerned about the future.
Diane Ravitch
With wit and style, David Kirp offers a forceful and engaging persuasive analysis of the scientific and economic case for universal high-quality preschool.
Deborah Stipek
The Sandbox Investment masterfully weaves together economic, political, social, and personal histories to reveal how the preschool movement has had such success. It's an invaluable primer for anyone concerned about social reform.
Daniel Pedersen
The Sandbox Investment takes us on a compelling grand tour of the most important frontier in public education-- the first five years of life. More than that, he unveils fresh horizons for policy-making right here on our own planet, right now, from the Great Plains to Great Britain. The verdict is clear: children are born learning. We ignore this fact at great peril to our future.
James B. Hunt
David Kirp gets the importance of preschool and knows how to tell the story of the smart politics of the heart. The Sandbox Investment offers us the roadmap for making America a much better place to be a child.
Robert H. Frank
One of the most pressing concerns about growing income and wealth inequality is the toll it takes on the ideal of equal opportunity for children. David Kirp's spirited book will persuade you that we may actually be able to do something about this problem.
Alison Gopnik
Political discussion of preschool is often dominated by ideology. The Sandbox Investment gives us a thoughtful and exceptionally intelligent account of the psychology, economics and sociology of preschool - written in a very lively, readable and enjoyable way. It should be required reading for anyone who is interested in the welfare of young children- which should mean everyone.
American Prospect - Sara Mead
The first comprehensive portrait of this universal pre-kindergarten (pre-k for short) movement. For those interested in children's and education issues, it's a valuable primer on this significant but relatively new movement.
San Francisco Chronicle - Amy Alamar
A productive read for parents, teachers and policymakers alike...[Kirp] leaves his reader with no doubt that our country would be better off if every child had the opportunity to attend a good-quality preschool and walks the reader through the benefits with concrete examples to explain what universal, quality preschool involves. He also makes a clear distinction between quality education and the education our government is currently providing.
Roanoke Times - Amy Roberson
David L. Kirp presents a cautionary tale of the results to be faced if American children are not provided meaningful, accessible and mandatory prekindergarten programs...The Sandbox Investment chronicles America's attempts to provide meaningful pre-K education to all. It is a clarion call so that we not underestimate the ramifications of a lack of early learning and its effect upon American life in the 21st century. An excellent and necessary read for both the student of education and soon-to-be parents.
District Administration - Carol Patton
This behind-the-scenes account of shrewd political campaigning introduces readers to key local and national figures in school systems, foundations, universities and legislatures who are trying to develop and run preschools. It also provides a clear and comprehensive account of academic developmental psychology and developmental neuroscience research on the plasticity of the growing brain and the long-term impact of early experience. All the elements that have propelled the preschool movement, such as brain science, molecular genetics, economics, evaluation and issue-framing, are dissected.
Choice - N. Kraus
The Sandbox Investment comprehensively assesses the policy and politics of the preschool movement in the U.S. Kirp uses a wide range of data sources, including evidence from preschools in Chicago, discussions of preschool experiences in several U.S. states and in Great Britain, and an extensive overview of scientific and social scientific research on the subject. This large body of research, which comes from geneticists, neuroscientists, and economists, reveals that paying for universal preschool up front can reduce the substantial costs associated with crime, poor health, and unemployment later in life...The subject matter could not be timelier.
Education Next - Nathan Glazer
Kirp has written a remarkably well-researched and comprehensive book on where we stand today on pre-K education. The variety of approaches different states have taken to extend education downward is impressive, and it is hard to see how or whether any “one best system” will emerge. Here is an issue that clearly deserves more research and fuller exploration.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674026414
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David L. Kirp is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of fourteen books, most recently Almost Home: America's Love-Hate Relationship with Community.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Before School 1

1 Small Miracles 15

2 Life Way After Preschool 50

3 The Futures Market 76

4 The Imprimatur of Science 93

5 Who Cares for the Children? 136

6 Jump-Starting a Movement 153

7 The Politics of the Un-Dramatic 179

8 English Lessons 226

9 Kids-First Politics 241

Notes 271

Acknowledgments 317

Index 325

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