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Universal Preschool News

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In this section, you'll find editorials, legislation, public policy and trends on issues relating to preschool, pre-kindergarten, childcare and the push toward universal preschool education. Particularly of note are articles concerning the states claim of a compelling interest in compulsory preschool education. Visit often for the latest preschool news.

Let's Experiment With Universal Preschool I'm a considerable fan of early childhood education. Megan McArdle says she's tentatively in favor too, but "I am opposed to blind boosterism of such programs, the kind that confidently predicts marvelous results from thin empirical evidence. I would like to see us experiment more with these programs. But the key word here is "experiment." Which is to say we should: Try more programs....Take the programs that seem to work and scale them up to a larger group....Rinse and repeat [until we figure out what, if anything, works.] That would be the sane, sensible way to go about constructing policy in an important area. September 24, 2015 [More Results from]
The Case Against Universal Preschool Universal prekindergarten sounds like a good thing. Early education for all! Why not? Anything for the kids. Universal pre-k already exists-or is close to existing-in a number of states, including Oklahoma, Florida, and, most recently, New York. And given the appeal of the idea, it's no wonder "preschool for all" emerged as a key talking point this election season, a year or so after President Barack Obama proposed a $75 billion federal universal pre-k program that involves partnerships with states. July 15, 2015 [More Results from]
Organic Baby Food Might Not Be More Nutritious, But I'm Still Buying It Some experts are saying that organic baby food may not be more nutritious for your little one -- just more expensive. Okay, be that as it may, it can't hurt to buy organic, can it? And why does everyone hate organic food all of a sudden? I'm certainly not going to argue with a person who holds the title of "Director of Pediatric Nutrition", and I definitely think that feeding children a wide variety of foods from the start isn't just the healthy thing to do, it's the smart thing -- of course we all want kids who are willing to try different things! But when it comes to my baby, I'm sticking to organic, because that's what I think is best for her. by Nicole Fabian-Weber March 20, 2013 [More Results from]
Why Universal Pre-K Is a Step Backwards Obama's call for universal preschool access, one of the few concrete proposals in an otherwise bland State of the Union Address, was the culmination of an idea inspired by the success of programs like the Perry Preschool Program. There has been some research to suggest that children who attend preschool regularly go on to lead more successful lives than those who don't, even when socioeconomic factors are accounted for. In response to the President's State of the Union speech, the WSJ took a look at Oklahoma, one of the first states to roll out state-funded preschools, to see how their program is actually faring. March 10, 2013 [More Results from]
Study: kindergarten does not help Enrolling students in kindergarten and other early education programs may have little effect on their future success, according to a new study by economics professor Elizabeth Cascio. The study analyzed the relative success of students born between 1954 and 1978 in 24 states that began funding universal kindergarten programs after 1960. The sample included students who attended elementary school before and after the implementation of kindergarten programs, according to the study. by Stephen Kirkpatrick March 8, 2010 [More Results from The Dartmouth]
Don't Rush to Get Onboard With Universal Preschool President Obama has pledged to spend $10 billion more a year on "zero to five" education, and his 2010 budget makes a $2 billion "down payment" on that commitment. (Billions more are already in the "stimulus" package.) Preschool is educationally effective. On the contrary, while a few tiny, costly programs targeting very poor children have shown some lasting positive effects, the overwhelming majority of studies show that most pre-K programs have little to no educational impact... by Chester E. Finn Jr. May 15, 2009 [More Results from The Washington Post]
Wall Street Bailout: What Else Can $700 Billion Buy? A while back the New York Times was concerned about the cost of the Iraq War and published some estimates of what else we could have bought with that money. We didn't find that very interesting at the time, but now, while trying to wrap our minds around just how effing huge the $700 billion proposed bailout of Wall Street really is. For $35 Billion you can get universal preschool. Half-days for 3-year-olds and full days for 4-year-olds. September 24, 2008 [More Results from The Consumerist]
Who should prepare kids for kindergarten? Georgia already offers universal pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds and there has been talk about expanding the program to 3-year-olds. Some argue the state shouldn't teach more children until it can provide quality education to its k-12 students. They question why the state should get involved when part of the problem comes from poor parenting. by Laura Diamond March 31, 2008 [More Results from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills On October 3, 1955, the Mickey Mouse Club debuted on television. As we all now know, the show quickly became a cultural icon, one of those phenomena that helped define an era. What is less remembered but equally, if not more, important, is that another transformative cultural event happened that day: The Mattel toy company began advertising a gun called the "Thunder Burp." by Alix Spiegel February 24, 2008 [More Results from The Angry Gnome]
New Study Identifies Three Ways To Lower Pre-K Expulsion Rates The new study identifies ways policymakers can reduce expulsion rates. It is based on data from the National Prekindergarten Survey of 4,800 classrooms in the 40 states that fund prekindergarten. January 10, 2008 [More Results from The Pew Charitable Trusts]
Kaine Trims Pre-K Proposal RICHMOND -- Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday scrapped his campaign promise to provide universal access to pre-kindergarten. Announcing that he will instead push to more than double the number of underprivileged 4-year-olds eligible for early education at the state's expense. In his 2005 bid for governor, Kaine promised to pay for preschool without regard to a parent's income. by Tim Craig August 17, 2007 [More Results from The Washington Post (VA)]
As States Tackle Poverty, Preschool Gets High Marks It took a well-orchestrated campaign to put pre-K on the top of political agendas -- and new tactics that didn't rely on do-gooder rhetoric. "The current full-scale Head Start program is having a disappointing impact on kids," says Douglas Besharov of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "Pre-K is an important part of the tool chest for reducing the achievement gap...but will the return on investment be as great as people say? I don't think so." by Debirah Solomon August 9, 2007 [More Results from The Wall Street Journal]
The Evidence Shows 'Success' Fades WASHINGTON -- The senator who wrote "It Takes a Village" apparently believes it takes the federal government to decide how American families prepare their 4-year-olds for kindergarten. Evaluations of early education interventions have shown that while participating students may yield gains in the short-run, these benefits typically disappear over time. Other academic studies, such as a 2005 study published by Stanford and University of California researchers, have reported that students who attend preschool may be more likely to exhibit negative social behaviors. June 24, 2007 [More Results from The Free Lance-Star (VA)]
When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten? According to the apple-or-coin test, used in the Middle Ages, children should start school when they are mature enough for the delayed gratification and abstract reasoning involved in choosing money over fruit. In 15th- and 16th-century Germany, parents were told to send their children to school when the children started to act "rational." And in contemporary America, children are deemed eligible to enter kindergarten according to an arbitrary date on the calendar known as the birthday cutoff... by Elizabeth Weil June 3, 2007 [More Results from The New York Times]
Plug of war Conversations on the ins and outs of pacifiers can get contentious The pacifier. Despite its name, the small plastic plug seems to rile up controversy rather than calm it. Aside from breast-feeding and circumcision, few other topics can get parents, grandparents, pediatricians and child experts so stirred up that a timeout may be in order. by Jennifer Davies May 19, 2007 [More Results from The Union Tribune (CA)]
Study Says Preschool Child Care Affects Vocabulary, Behavior Later Children who got quality child care before entering kindergarten had better vocabulary scores in the fifth grade than did youngsters who received lower-quality care. Also, the more time that children spent in child care, the more likely their sixth-grade teachers were to report problem behavior. The findings come from the largest study of child care and development conducted in the United States. March 26, 2007 [More Results from The Washington Post]
Poor Behavior Is Linked to Time in Day Care A report from the largest study of American child care finds that keeping a preschooler in a day care for a year or more increased the likelihood that the child would become disruptive in class - the effect persisted through sixth-grade. Every year spent in day care centers for at least 10 hours per week was associated with a 1 percent higher score on a standardized assessment of problem behaviors completed by teachers, said Dr. Margaret Burchinal, a co-author of the study and a psychologist at the University of North Carolina. by Benedict Carey March 26, 2007 [More Results from The New York Times]
Ratings and pilots are advised for state preschool programs A rating system for pre-K programs and pilot preschools in six communities were two recommendations made to the governor Wednesday by a group looking into kindergarten for all 4-year-olds in the state. The Start Strong Council, a group of 25 legislators, business leaders, educators and early childhood advocates, was created by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. One of the themes of his campaign last year was making preschool available to all children in Virginia. by Amy Coutee' December 7, 2006 [More Results from The Virginian-Pilot]
Denver tots offer lesson for Ohio By approving a massive, citywide pre school initiative, Denver voters have given Ohio leaders a model to watch. Gov.-elect Ted Strickland made improving early childhood programs a major part of his campaign platform, while Cuyahoga County officials recently announced plans to launch a preschool effort next fall. December 2, 2006 [More Results from The Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH)]
I was wrong: Schools should raise our kids The Scottsdale Unified School District is going to spend $535,000 for additional counselors, which proves once and for all that schools have become a substitute for parents when it comes to raising children. It's humiliating and embarrassing for me to admit this, but I've been wrong all these years about public education in general and the Scottsdale Unified School District in particular. Clearly, government schools are more effective than parents in raising children. What else can explain the fact that most Arizonans are in favor of free all-day kindergarten? Or how about the fact that no one seems to think it's peculiar that SUSD is going to spend $535,000 for additional counselors. by Craig J. Cantoni July 8, 2006 [More Results from The Arizona Republic]
Preschool Blues E.J. Dionne surveys the defeat of a recent ballot initiative to fund universal preschool in California and concludes that liberals need to face the fact that the public remains deeply skeptical of big government programs. Progressives have a lot to think about. For one thing, there remains a deep skepticism about government spending, even for the best purposes. On the same day the two propositions went down, voters in five California counties rejected sales tax increases, mostly to fund transportation projects. Attacks on tax-and-spend sound old and tired, but they still have force. by Kevin Drum June 12, 2006 [More Results from The Washington Monthly]
Voters reject Prop. 82 California voters soundly rejected Proposition 82 on Tuesday, crushing the hopes of early-childhood education advocates who hoped to make universal preschool public policy in the nation's most populous state. Though Proposition 82 enjoyed support in staunchly liberal enclaves like San Francisco, it was overwhelmingly rejected in the Central Valley, Orange County and other parts of the state. Reiner and his campaign aides overestimated the breadth of their support -- and misjudged the depth of the opposition's. by Dana Hull June 7, 2006 [More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Voters reject Prop. 82 California voters soundly rejected Proposition 82 Tuesday, crushing the hopes of early childhood education advocates who hoped to make universal preschool public policy in the nation's most populous state. Throughout much of the evening, returns showed that 60 percent of voters statewide opposed Prop. 82 while just 40 percent supported it, making it nearly impossible for the measure to ever get the simple majority it needed to pass. "It doesn't look good," admitted Hollywood director Rob Reiner, who spoke to about 200 supporters at a Los Angeles hotel ballroom shortly after 10 p.m. But he vowed to fight on, saying that the push for universal preschool would not go away. "This is important, and if it is not today the train has left the station." by Dana Hull June 7, 2006 [More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Prop 82: No, no, no If ever a political matter illustrated the proverbial wisdom that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, it is Proposition 82. Rob Reiner's "free preschool for all" initiative stems from the filmmaker-activist's sincere concern that many poor children's lack of early intellectual development dooms them to substandard lives. But Reiner came to believe his altruism was all that mattered - that in pursuing his crusade, he had no responsibility to forge wise public policy or to behave in ethical fashion. June 5, 2006 [More Results from The San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
Preschool plan not for all Gov. Rod Blagojevich's landmark "Preschool for All Children" initiative won't give all children access to free preschool after all, at least in the short run. Although any family could apply, the program approved by the Illinois House and Senate on Thursday gives first priority to children at risk of failing in school, and then to working families that meet income guidelines--restrictions not part of so-called universal preschool programs offered elsewhere. by Diane Rado May 5, 2006 [More Results from Chicago Tribune (IL)]