4th Grade Math Results Reflect Success of Early Childhood
recently released figures reflecting an unprecedented rise
in 4th grade math scores is a direct reflection, at least in
part, of the success of the State Assembly’s LADDER (Learning,
Achieving, Developing by Directing Educational Resources) program, ýiming
education aid to early childhood programs and especially for
reduced class sizes in grades K-3 and a rolling out of universal
pre-k programs for four-year-olds. Begun in 1998, the LADDER
initiative, spearheaded by Speaker Sheldon Silver and me, is
predicated on the Assembly’s steadfast commitment to the notion
that investment in early childhood programs makes a tremendous
difference in getting our youngest children to acquire learning
skills that will establish their academic foundation and set
them on a course for future success.
educators and leading experts have agreed for years that investing
in early childhood education brings tangible results, with
children at the most impressionable age acquiring an openness
and focus that renders them optimally prepared to learn and
to enjoy the acquisition of knowledge and critical learning
is the first 4th grade class that entered school as LADDER
moneys were first allocated in the 1998-99 school year, and
these dollars have clearly paid off. Statewide, the new scores
reflect a 10.5 percent increase in the number of 4th grade
students scoring in levels 3 or 4, which means they are meeting
standards or exceeding them. And in New York City, the number
of 4th grade students in the public schools meeting or exceeding
state standards in math jumped 14.7 percent, bringing the total
number of 4th graders in levels 3 or 4 to 66.7 percent.
are remarkable results, which is not to say that everything
is suddenly perfect in our elementary schools. These numbers,
however, do demonstrate how right the Assembly majority
has been to fight Governor Pataki’s assault on early childhood
education each and every year since LADDER was enacted.
is worthwhile to note that the very exciting results of New
York City public school students in 4th grade math greatly
exceeds results for 8th graders, where the falloff is dramatic.
In New York City, for example, only 34.4 percent of 8th graders
achieved scores putting them in the level 3 or level 4 category—meeting
the aggregate, over the first five years of Ladder’s implementation,
the State invested close to a billion and a half dollars for
reduced class size and universal pre-k, of which approximately
two-thirds—or a billion dollars—went to New York City schools.
we invest and establish a sound education program at the earliest
age, and when we emphasize instruction and getting children
off to a good start, they will have continued academic success
throughout the succeeding years, enhancing not only their grades,
but also their confidence and self esteem.#
Sanders is chairman of the New York State Assembly’s Committee
on Education. You may contact him at (212) 979-9696, email
him at email@example.com or
write to him at 201 East 16th Street (4th floor), New York
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 1588, New York, NY 10159.
Tel: (212) 477-5600. Fax: (212) 477-5893. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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