Thanks for your insightful editorial regarding the need for preschool education. It contained two points that need further comment.

You pointed out that even the youngest child can learn more, and more quickly, than most people know. And you said the sooner the process begins, the more prepared kindergarteners are for future success.

Here’s why preschool has, in your words, a vital role: It’s now doing what should have already been done at home.

Reams of studies show if a parent sings, talks and reads to a child starting at birth or even before, those kids begin, and finish, their formal schooling well ahead of their peers. Yet thousands of children come to school each year not able to count to 10 or recite their ABCs.

They don’t know the difference between red and blue. They’ve never seen a book or heard one read to them.

I know the arguments: time restraints, job pressures et cetera. But a parent’s first responsibility is, and always has been, to help their children succeed in life.

There is clear evidence that unfertilized brains, like unfertilized crops, don’t grow to reach their full potential. Until we find a way to remind parents of their duty to be their children’s first teacher, Louisiana will always be trying and failing to play catch-up in jobs, innovation, invention or economic growth.

Russ Wise

St. John the Baptist Parish School Board member

LaPlace