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Students in a pre-K class at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Universal preschool would help close the math and reading gaps between white and black children who are approaching kindergarten, an analysis from the National Institute for Early Education Research shows.

The big picture: Schools with high quality learning programs have resources to ensure a child is on track in age-appropriate learning activities. These programs have systemically left black children behind due to high tuition and waiting lists.

  • Black children are on average nearly nine months behind in math and almost seven months behind in reading compared to their white non-Hispanic peers, the report notes.

Why it matters: Math and reading skills at kindergarten entry are indicators of later school success, and children who enter kindergarten behind are unlikely to catch up.

What they're saying: Universal pre-K would practically eliminate the reading skills gap for kindergarten and cut the math skills gap almost in half — from about nine months to five months.

  • Only Florida, Vermont and Washington, D.C., offer full universal pre-K, according to the Education Commission of the States.
  • Some cities, such as San Antonio, have expanded pre-K programs for eligible families.

Yes, but: Economic turmoil often leads to less spending in public schools, with lower standards and decreased enrollment. And right now, states are absorbing massive public health costs and economic blowback from the pandemic.

The bottom line, per Rutgers University researchers: "Providing all Black children access to high-quality preschool will not be a small task. It will require raising quality standards, expanding enrollment, and, of course, more funding."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Elizabeth Warren: "I love a good plan, and Joe Biden has really good plans"

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) promoted universal child care during her Wednesday evening address to the Democratic National Convention.

Why it matters: Warren argued that child care should be part of the "basic infrastructure of this nation," adding that Biden and Harris "will make high-quality child care affordable for every family, make preschool universal and raise the wages of every childcare worker."

Mike Allen, author of AM
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.