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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.

Do Pre-K Center Care Programs Work? A number of states have initiated, or are in the process of initiating, free pre-K center care programs for children from low-income families. In the case of Smart Start and Kid Stuff, the states estimate that when fully implemented, these programs will cost in excess of $300 million per year.

During the past 40 years there have been five large-scale trials conducted to investigate the relationship between pre-K and developmental outcomes in children. We will examine each of these studies to see if they support the claim that high quality pre-K contributes to the intellectual, academic, and behavioral development of children.
by Verne R. Bacharach, Ph.D., Appalachian State University; Alfred A. Baumeister, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; Jaimily A. Stoecker, M.A., C.A.S., Caldwell County NC Public School District August 1, 2003 [More Results from Eagle Forum]
NEA Convention Mantra Includes Mandatory Kindergarten and Universal Preschool Delegates to this year's NEA convention approved a new policy on early childhood education that was developed by a committee formed at last year's convention. The NEA's new preschool demand is based on the false assumption that "there is no longer any serious doubt about the value of pre-kindergarten." As the Education Intelligence Agency (EIA) reported (7-4-03): "It was accepted without question by all [the delegates] that mandatory full-day kindergarten is a good thing, and that optional, publicly funded, universal preschool for all three- and four-year-olds is also a good thing." August 1, 2003 [More Results from Eagle Forum]
K-12 Education: The Cornerstone of Our Future Carlos Garcia began his description of the American public school system by quipping, "Everybody is an expert about schools, because everyone went to school." Expectations have changed dramatically since the 1950s when a high school would been praised for sending 50 percent of its students on to higher education. At both ends, students are expected to achieve more than ever before: kindergartners are expected to read, and exit exams are required for a high school diploma. Furthermore, a high school diploma no longer represents the end of a respectable education; America has upped the bar to at least a two-year college education. by Sponsored by Knowledge Universe April 2, 2003 [More Results from Milken Institute]
Drumbeat Grows for Universal Preschool OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - The "Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Act," still in committee in the Oklahoma State Senate at this writing, could be brought before the full Senate and House some time this year. This bill is based on the Governor's Task Force on Early Childhood Education/Care report of December 2000, which pro-family activists characterize as "nothing less than a blueprint for a state-run child care, health care and education system for Oklahoma children from the womb through age five." April 24, 2002 [More Results from Ed Watch]
Opinion: Preschool is No Answer Those who call for more state funding for preschool age children are ignoring one important fact: American preschoolers are doing better than ever. Throughout the 20th century, the scores of preschool age children on IQ and kindergarten readiness tests have climbed steadily upward.

In short, American children start school better prepared than ever. It's not until they move up through grade school and on to high school that their performance declines.
by David F. Salisbury January 10, 2002 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Trading Sippy-Cups for School Desks At the American Federation of Teachers' biennial conference this summer, AFT President Sandra Feldman called for a "national commitment" to schooling all 3- and 4-year-olds. At least Feldman was magnanimous enough to suggest that preschool remain voluntary. District of Columbia Councilman Kevin Chavous, on the other hand, sees no problem with forcibly taking young children from their parents. His ominously titled "Compulsory School Attendance Amendment Act" would make school, well, compulsory, for every preschool-aged child in the nation's capital. by Darcy Olsen August 14, 2001 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Hand that ignores the cradle The headlines are about problems with childcare. It all comes from the conclusions of a study of cause and effect, and those study results contain some real shockers. Bottom line' Bratty, disobedient, nasty, bullies in kindergarten, whether boys or girls, are the result of out-of-home, non-Mom child care. The study conclusion shows that it is simply a result of the number of hours the child spends away from mom and dad. It doesn't matter at all whether the childcare comes from an in-home nanny (baby-sitter), with relatives or friends, or at a care center -- more hours, more trouble. by Barbara Simpson April 23, 2001 [More Results from World Net Daily]
Much Too Early! Realistic developmental needs in early childhood education and preschool, discussed by Professor of Child Development, Dr. David Elkind. In one sentence, Froebel, father of the kindergarten, expressed the essence of early-childhood education. Children are not born knowing the difference between red and green, sweet and sour, rough and smooth, cold and hot, or any number of physical sensations. The natural world is the infant's and young child's first curriculum, and it can only be learned by direct interaction with things. by David Elkind, Ph.D. February 5, 2001 [More Results from Best Homeschooling.org]
Early Childhood Research & Practice. Fall 1999. A Comparison of the National Preschool Curricula in Norway and Sweden Norway and Sweden have similar histories within the field of early childhood education and similar traditions of state financial support of children. Recently, both countries adopted national preschool plans for children ages 1 to 5 years old. When comparing the two plans, the first noticeable difference is that the Norwegian approach gives teachers a detailed framework for their work with suggestions on content, methods to be used, and expected outcomes. In contrast, the Swedish plan is goal directed with a short introduction on the perspectives and values of children's learning and development. by Marit Alvestad & Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson September 10, 1999 [More Results from Earch Childhool Research & Practice]
Don't Cry for Me, Head Start It's been 33 years since the Head Start program was founded in hopes that it would end what President Johnson described as the "pattern of poverty." Perhaps, its founders reasoned, federally subsidized early intervention could help all children enter school on an equal footing and thereby give disadvantaged children opportunities formerly reserved to the middle and upper classes. Unfortunately, the experiment has fallen short of fulfilling that hope. by Darcy Olsen and Eric Olsen August 15, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Benefits of Preschool Don't Last - Education and Child Policy In the Roald Dahl tale Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a golden ticket transforms a poor boy's life into one of opportunity and hope, precisely what Al Gore says "universal preschool" can do for all disadvantaged children. Universal preschool" is the education establishment's catchphrase for expanding the public school system to include all 3- and 4-year-olds, and Gore is making it a centerpiece of his presidential run. "If you elect me president, I will make high-quality preschool available to every child," he announced earlier this month in Denver. by Darcy Olsen August 10, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Preschool in the Nanny State - Education and Child Policy Make No Mistake: The push for universal preschool is on. Already the state of Georgia offers free preschool to every 4-year-old, and New York is phasing in a statewide system. Legislators in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are itching to follow suit. If Al Gore is elected president in 2000, this state-by-state expansion could be preempted by a federal mandate. As the vice president recently told a Denver audience, "If you elect me president, I will make high-quality preschool available to every child." by Darcy Olsen August 9, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Universal Preschool Is No Golden Ticket: Why Government Should Not Enter the Preschool Business Across the country legislators are deciding whether to require public school districts to provide no-fee prekindergarten classes for all three- and four-year-olds. Georgia and New York have implemented universal preschool programs for four-year-olds. Experience provides little reason to believe universal preschool would significantly benefit children, regardless of family income. For nearly 40 years, local, state, and federal governments and diverse private sources have funded early intervention programs for low-income children, and benefits to the children have been few and fleeting. There is also evidence that middle-class children gain little, if anything, from preschool. by Darcy Ann Olsen February 9, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Universal Preschool Is No Golden Ticket: Why Government Should Not Enter the Preschool Business Across the country legislators are deciding whether to require public school districts to provide no-fee prekindergarten classes for all three- and four-year-olds. Experience provides little reason to believe universal preschool would significantly benefit children, regardless of family income. For nearly 40 years, local, state, and federal governments and diverse private sources have funded early intervention programs for low-income children, and benefits to the children have been few and fleeting. by Darcy Ann Olsen February 9, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Indiana: Feasibility Study Concerning Mandatory Half-Day Kindergarten In the past nine years, an average of 9,368 Indiana children have not attended public or non-public kindergarten. This represents an average of 11. 1 percent. While only 12 states mandate kindergarten attendance at the present time, this is a new development, and several other states are moving to mandate attendance in either half- or full-day kindergarten. No state mandates attendance exclusively for full-day kindergarten. by Mrs. Pat Taylor-Denham February 1, 1990 [More Results from Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation]