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Report Gives San Diego Preschools Bronze Medal For Quality

Students leave Graham Memorial Preschool in Coronado, Dec. 1, 2009.

Credit: Flickr

Above: Students leave Graham Memorial Preschool in Coronado, Dec. 1, 2009.

A new report from public health think tank CityHealth and Rutgers University gives San Diego’s public preschools a bronze medal. The assessment looked at the quality of preschool offerings in the nation’s 40 largest cities and dings San Diego for its class sizes.

“Class size should be no larger than 20 students, and you want to have two teachers to that 20, so 1 in 10,” CityHealth President Dr. Shelly Hearne said. “Unfortunately, class size is too big in San Diego.”

The report does not say how large classes are here, but state regulations cap preschool classes at 24 students per teacher.

RELATED: Too Few Preschools—What If Day Cares Were Smarter?

San Diego also missed the mark on teacher preparation and training; San Diego does not require lead teachers to have a bachelor’s degree nor participate in ongoing training, the report said. In all, San Diego met seven of the report’s 10 benchmarks for quality.

It examined only the city’s state-funded preschools, as was the case for Long Beach, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco. All received the bronze rating.

The report comes as policymakers eye improvements to early education in the state. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed spending $2 billion over the next three years on preschools and other early education programs.

RELATED: Governor’s Budget A Boon For Early Education, But Help Is Already Coming To San Diego Parents

Hearne praised Newsom’s policy goals.

“Pre-K might be one of the most important policies to have in place if you want to create a healthy, thriving community,” she said. “There are actually correlations with reduced obesity rates, increased graduation rates, improved lifetime earnings, it even actually reduces teenage pregnancy.”

The report looked at the quality of preschool offerings in the nation’s 40 largest cities, and dings San Diego for its class sizes.

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