The Gas Pump is No Place for a Child to Play: The case for replacing 12th grade with universal Pre-K

This piece is the first prize winner of the 2019 Baines Report Op-Ed Contest. _ It’s the autumn of 1995 in a sleepy East Texas town. The principal of the local preschool stops by the store for groceries, when she notices a young child playing outside by the gas pumps. She rushes to the child’s father, who is working the cash register, and explains to him the importance of early childhood education. Within minutes, she has helped him enroll the girl in the preschool where she is principal. As she leaves, she tells him sternly, “The gas pump is...

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