It turns out great teachers do matter - especially if you're lucky enough to have one in kindergarten. According to an article in yesterday's New York Times, the impact an awesome kindergarten teacher has on a student in later life is, frankly, astounding. Here's a quote: "Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more."
And the best part: Based on the value of additional income a full class of students can expect to earn over their careers, researchers estimate that an outstanding kindergarten teacher is worth $320,000 a year. Just a bit higher than those very minimal salaries most are currently earning.
In my book, Beyond Smart: Boosting Your Child's Social, Emotional, and Academic Potential, I discuss ways to make sure your kids are kindergarten-ready - and ways to help them make that transition from preschool to kindergarten. Perhaps I should add this addendum to these chapters: Take a good, careful look at your child's teacher. If you find a great one, celebrate. This person may make a monumental difference in your child's life.