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Directions (1-5): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/ phrases are printed in bold to help you to locate them while answering some of the questions.
Universal preschool is the next big thing in public education—or at least, in the politics of education. Hailed as a great equalizer by children’s advocates and championed as a bipartisan line item for conservatives and liberals. The only problem is that universal pre-K isn’t very universal in the communities that need it most.
The latest data crunch of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) suggests that while universal pre-Kindergarten holds enormous promise, programs in many cities and states suffer from inconsistent funding, uneven standards and failure to develop workforces to meet widening social needs. NIEER’s report shows that in 2015 there was “continued improvement in state funded pre-K with larger increases in enrollment, spending, spending per child, and quality standards than the previous year. State funded pre-K served almost 1.4 million children in 2014-2015, an increase of 37,167 children from the previous year” (about 29 percent of 4 year olds and 5 percent of three year olds nationwide). Pre-K spending has risen to nearly $4,500 per student, though this is still down from 2008 levels. Still, as with many nominally universal social programs, the rapid spread across states have also brought greater polarization—often along the same socioeconomic lines that universal pre-K was designed to help erase. The researchers noted that while some states are hitting new achievement benchmarks, “progress has been unequal and uneven with some states taking large steps forward and other states moving backward.”
Some substandard pre-K programs, according to the report, were concentrated in some of the largest, poorest communities: “California, Texas, and Florida have the highest numbers of children in poverty, serve the largest numbers of children, and have some of the lowest quality standards in the nation.” Meanwhile, volatile education budgets have hampered overall expansion: Pre-K programs in “13 states…reduced enrollment with Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin cutting enrollment by more than 2,000 children each.”
States are nonetheless getting more universal in terms of promoting uniform early-education standards: Nationwide, benchmarks for preschool programs have intensified, with more programs requiring, for example, that pre-K teachers have at least 15 hours of in-service training and a bachelor’s degree. But in some states like Texas and Pennsylvania, programs have failed to set parameters for decent class size and staff-student ratio standards. Reflecting the tension between access and quality, the pattern suggests that classes may grow at a rate that outpaces the growth and improvement of the teaching workforce.
The federal government can play a major part in shifting the country toward a universal preschool infrastructure. Many programs have been boosted by the White House’s Preschool Development Grant program. But again, year-to-year grants come on a piecemeal basis, which won’t resolve generational challenges to systemically overhauling early education programs.
The research on early childhood development shows that, as a social investment, preschool is associated with long-term cognitive gains and saves states money down the line by reducing academic problems like grade repetition and special-education placement. But the early-childhood premium attached to precious young ones is hardly reflected in the treatment of early-childhood educators, which in turn undermines preschool’s potential as a social equalizer.
According to a 2014 report by University of California–Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Childcare Employment, childcare workers and preschool teachers are some of the lowest-paid sectors of the educational workforce. Today, the median hourly wage for regular preschool teachers is less than $14, and many struggle to cover basic needs. In one survey of early-childhood teaching staff, nearly half of respondents “expressed worry about having enough food for their families,” and nearly two-thirds reported relying on public benefits like food stamps in the last three years. Those earning less than $12.50 an hour and those working outside of public-school settings, in private facilities, experienced especially high rates of hardship. This suggests that it’s not just higher pay but the kind of stable working environment that a standard public-school system offers that leads to better job quality. That could include a union contract with long-term job security. (Collective-bargaining policies cover preschool teachers in just 13 states.)
Pre-K educators generally earn less than teachers of grades K-3. The gap is even greater for teachers in privately managed programs that have been contracted to provide new slots for rapidly expanding preschool initiatives. (A pre-K teacher at a community center, for example, typically earns nearly $27,000 less than a K-3 public school teacher.) Though some states have narrowed the wage gap between in-school and out-of-school preschool staff, NIEER Director Steve Barnett says via e-mail, “Overall public programs offer better pay, better benefits, and better working conditions.”
Q1. Which of the following options is NOT TRUE according to the given passage?
(a) Pre-k Teaching is not a lucrative profession.
(b) Pre-k Teachers are having a tough time.
(c) There is a great gap between the condition of living of the teachers of privately and publicly managed K schools
(d) There has been a fall in the number of students enrolled in 2015 as compared to that of 2014
(e) The median hourly wage for regular preschool teachers is less than $14.
Q2. Which of the following are the revelations of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)?
(a) Universal pre-Kindergarten holds enormous promise throughout the country.
(b) There exist great disparities in the primary education systems of various states.
(c) Pre-k schools do not have sufficient funds to pay salaries to the teachers.
(d) The quality of education of the country is not at par with that of rest of the world.
(e) All of these
Q3. According to the given passage, how are pre-schools beneficial in long run? (choose the most apt option)
(a) It strengthens the base of a student and reduces various academic problems.
(b) It provides competent workforce to the country.
(c) It creates employment opportunity to the people.
(d) It attaches early-childhood premium to the precious young ones.
(e) All of these
Q4. Which of the following options describes the main concern of the author of the above passage?
(a) Poor living conditions of Pre-school teachers.
(b) Various problems that arise due to poor infrastructure of pre-schools.
(c) Problems and solutions arising out of lack of proper facilities to the pre-schools
(d) Failure to develop workforces to meet widening social needs.
(e) Various complications faced by pre-schools arising mainly due to lack of proper funds.
Q5. According to the given passage, which of the following is the reason for the better job quality in public pre-K schools?
(a) Good working conditions.
(b) Higher pay
(c) Stable working environment
(d) Both (b) and (c)
(e) All (a), (b) and (c)
Directions (6-10): In the given passage, there are blanks, each of which has been numbered. Against each five words are suggested, one of which fits the blank appropriately. Find out the appropriate word in each case.
With the (6) of Indian economy (7) various initiatives, banking sector occupies, a pivotal role in the process of achieving higher economic growth and also in (8) the social well being at large. The public sector banks in India have the twin tasks ahead of meeting the social branding (9) and at the same time generating adequate profits to meet the costs associated with growth. At present, banks have more than 76.1 per cent of their total branch network in rural and semi-urban (10).
Q6. (a) Nationalization (b) expansion (c) liberalization (d) Computerization (e) Accommodation
Q7. (a) from (b) over (c) between (d) through (e) thorough
Q8. (a) increasing (b) enhancing (c) Encouraging (d) improving (e) Innovation
Q9. (a) limitations (b) obligations (c) derivatives (d) facilities (e) Liabilities
Q10. (a) households (b) residences (c) areas (d) locals (e) suburbs
Exp. It is given in the second paragraph that ‘State funded pre-K served almost 1.4 million children in 2014-2015, an increase of 37,167 children from the previous year’. Hence, (d) is not true. and is the correct option.
Exp. It is given in the second paragraph that ‘progress has been unequal and uneven with some states taking large steps forward and other states moving backward.’ From this statement, we can conclude that (b) is the correct option.
Exp. It is given in the sixth paragraph ‘preschool is associated with long-term cognitive gains and saves states money down the line by reducing academic problems.’. Hence, we can conclude that (a) is the correct option.
Exp. All the problems described in the passage roots down to the lack of proper funds. Hence, (e) is the most appropriate option.
Exp. it’s not just higher pay but the kind of stable working environment that a standard public-school system offers that leads to better job quality. Here ‘kind of’ suggests that the public pre-K schools have ‘good’ kind of working conditions , hence, (e) is the correct option.