(Kansas City Star) — Compared to our counterparts in the developed world, the United States is a wealthy nation of dummies and dropouts. A few years ago, American 15-year-olds were ranked 17th in science and an unimpressive 25th in math when compared with their peers in other countries.

Does it have to be this way? Of course not. In fact, for decades, experts in early-childhood education have argued that a relatively direct way to improve school achievement is to enroll all children in preschool.

President Obama made a pitch for just such a program in his State of the Union Address, but he might as well have requested the moon, lassoed and gift-boxed.

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