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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.

Lawmakers quietly considering universal preschool After California's voters last June defeated a $2.3 billion universal preschool initiative, Proposition 82, the issue of early education seemed dead. But reports of its demise have proved premature. The debate over how much to spend on pre-K and for which kids is now in the hands of the state politicians, and the issue will resurface this week when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger releases his revised 2008 budget. by David L. Kirp May 7, 2007 [More Results from San Jose Mercury News (CA)]
Is your baby playing with its toes yet? If not the government wants to know why Babies will be assessed on their gurgling, babbling and toe-playing abilities when they are a few months old under a legally enforced national curriculum for children from birth to five published by the government yesterday. When children enter compulsory schooling, they should be able to read simple sentences using a phonics-based approach, count reliably up to 10 and sing simple songs from memory, as well as respecting others' beliefs and learning to share and take turns. by Lucy Ward March 14, 2007 [More Results from Guardian Unlimited (UK)]
Hi-tech toys offer no educational gain, say researchers Parents who invest in toy computers and other electronic games marketed as boosting learning for babies and pre-schoolers could save their money and help their children to learn themselves, according to new research. A government-funded study examining the role of technology in the lives of three- and four-year-old children and their families found that the hi=tech devices - one of the fastest growing sectors of the toy market, aimed at infants as young as nine months - are no more effective than traditional ways of introducing basic literacy and number skills. by Lucy Ward November 14, 2006 [More Results from Guardian Unlimited (UK)]
Stressing Over Raising Superkids Today's parents are stressed out about their children's academic success and believe starting early is the key to achievement, according to a new poll. In fact, 54 percent of parents of children aged 2 to 5 said they had anxiety about their child's academic performance and 38 percent felt that their child was in competition with other kids. The new findings come from a telephone poll of about 1,000 parents of children aged 2 to 11 conducted in July 2006 by the National Parent and Teachers Association (PTA) in New York and the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) Parents. by Denise Mann August 12, 2006 [More Results from CBS News]
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)]
Some preschools are opposed to Prop. 82 It came as a shock to the sponsors of California's two failed school voucher ballot initiatives when their idea was rejected by many of the private schools which could have begun collecting state money under those plans. Similarly, preschools by the dozen have surprised advocates of Proposition 82 this spring, insisting they favor the concept of universal preschool advanced by the current initiative, but don't like what it might force them to do. Their opinions eerily echo those expressed six years ago, when Headmaster Thomas Hudnut of the elite Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles viewed the 2000 Proposition 38, most recent effort by California's voucher advocates. by Thomas Elias June 6, 2006 [More Results from Pasadena Star-News]
Vote 'no' on Prop. 82 VOTERS should join scores of businesses, education advocates, preschools, legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in turning down Rob Reiner's Proposition 82 that proposes to tax the rich to provide free preschool for wealthy and middle-class kids. That's right, while proponents say the Universal Preschool for All Act is necessary to give impoverished youngsters access to quality preschool, analysts say middle-class parents will most likely be the main users of the free half-day sessions. Poor children are already afforded preschool through Head Start and other programs. The wealthy, of course, need no subsidies. May 7, 2006 [More Results from Pasadena Star-News]
Ohio Infant & Toddler Guidelines Unveiled COLUMBUS -- A leadership team of private and public organizations this week unveiled developmental guidelines for Ohio's youngest children, from birth to age three. The "birth announcement" was held at COSI in Columbus and included remarks by Ohio First Lady Hope Taft. Designed to assist parents, providers and policy makers, the Guidelines include the following developmental domains and include best practices in the areas of: health, emotional, social, motor, language/communication and cognitive. by Alicia Leatherman March 12, 2006 [More Results from PR Newswire (CA)]
Should California pay for preschool? In June, Californians will vote on a proposal to offer three hours a day of free preschool to every 4-year-old in the state by 2010 -- paid for by a new tax on the state's highest-earning residents. Proponents of Proposition 82, also known as the Preschool for All Act, say preschool is a sound investment, citing research showing that children who attend preschool are more likely to avoid repeating a grade, graduate from high school and steer clear of crime. Opponents say a new government-run preschool system is destined to be a costly bureaucratic disaster. by Dana Hull February 12, 2006 [More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Preschool funding plan on ballot Friends and foes of Rob Reiner's "Preschool for All" initiative got word from the secretary of state's office late Thursday afternoon that the initiative has qualified for the June 2006 ballot. The measure proposes taxing the state's wealthiest residents to provide a year of free preschool to California 4-year-olds. The issue promises to be one of the most heated of the coming election season. by Dana Hull January 13, 2006 [More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Taxpayer Groups Demand That Rob Reiner Stop All Taxpayer-Funded First 5 Preschool Ads SACRAMENTO -- Taxpayer groups today demanded that the taxpayer-funded First 5 ads currently airing statewide on radio, TV and in major newspapers be pulled immediately. It is illegal to use taxpayer funds to support political campaigns and ballot initiatives. The $18 million dollar ad campaign airing now and paid for with taxpayer dollars emphasizes the purported benefits of preschool. January 12, 2006 [More Results from PR Newswire (CA)]
Rob Reiner's Ads Use Taxpayer Funds Opponents of actor-director Rob Reiner's $2.3 billion universal preschool initiative in California say a series of "public service announcements" are in fact taxpayer-funded ads for the measure. The foes complain that Reiner not only leads the initiative campaign, but also chairs the state commission that is paying for the ads - which carry the message that preschool is good for society at large, the Sacramento Bee reports. "It's a matter of sheer common sense - this is an expenditure of taxpayer dollars promoting preschool," Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, told the Bee. December 19, 2005 [More Results from Newsmax]
Mixed response to toddler plans There has been a mixed reaction to the government's idea of a national curriculum for babies and toddlers. Under the Childcare Bill, childminders would teach the curriculum to children "from birth" - with some worrying that it might be too prescriptive. The National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations called the proposals "bizarre". November 9, 2005 [More Results from BBC News (UK)]
New report examines effects nationwide of preschool on kids' development While middle-class children benefit modestly from preschool, youngsters from poor families experience two times the gains in early language and mathematics learning, according to a new study of more than 14,000 kindergartners nationwide. The report - "The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children's Development Nationwide: How Much Is Too Much'" - also examined whether long hours in preschool centers lead to diminishing returns in children's early development. Most surprising, is that the social skills of white, middle-class children suffer- in terms of cooperation, sharing and engagement in classroom tasks - after attending preschool centers for more than six hours a day, compared to similar children who remain at home with a parent prior to starting school. by Kathleen Maclay November 1, 2005 [More Results from UC Berkeley News]
NHSA: Funds for 35,000 Head Start At-Risk Children Slots Would Vanish Under 2% Across-the-Board Federal Spending Cut WASHINGTON -- Despite being one of the most successful programs in the federal government, Head Start, which gets America's poorest children ready to learn in kindergarten and beyond, would be decimated by funding cuts. NHSA calculates that the effects of a 2 percent cut would result in the equivalent of closing enrollment to at least 35,000 currently served children. Although House leaders did not have the votes to push through a broad-based spending cut last week, they have vowed to press ahead with the plan. October 27, 2005 [More Results from PR Newswire Association]
Playtime, nursery rhymes and progress tests Plans for a national curriculum for babies will only add to pressure on parents, says Alice Thomson The blue indicator line shows. "I'm pregnant." It all seems so easy. All you have to do is wait nine months and there's your baby. You can take them home and they are all yours. You can cuddle them, play with them, care for them and enjoy watching them grow. That's what you think. From the moment you inform the state that you are having a baby, there's a third parent in the relationship. It starts the moment that you tell your doctor. October 11, 2005 [More Results from Telegraph News (UK)]
Official: babies do best with mother One of the most detailed studies of UK childcare has concluded that young children who are looked after by their mothers do significantly better in developmental tests than those cared for in nurseries, by childminders or relatives. The study on children from birth to three will reignite the controversy over the best way to bring up young children. It found babies and toddlers fared worst when they were given group nursery care. Those cared for by friends or grandparents or other relatives did a little better while those looked after by nannies or childminders were rated second only to those cared for by mothers. by Yvonne Roberts October 2, 2005 [More Results from Guardian Unlimited (UK)]
Study: Preschool Kids Drive Flu Epidemics When the flu strikes, preschool kids may be the first age group affected, passing the flu on to other people, a new study shows. If so, vaccinating 3- and 4-year-olds against flu might help curb flu epidemics, write researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology. by Miranda Hitti October 1, 2005 [More Results from FOX News]
Hidden stress of the nursery age · Study finds hormone level soars when daycare starts · Extra time with parents needed to help calm down Toddlers starting at nursery after being at home since birth experience high levels of stress in the first weeks after separating from their mothers, and are still showing "chronic mild stress" as long as five months after their first day in the new environment, according to a study measuring hormone levels in young children. by Lucy Ward September 19, 2005 [More Results from Guardian (UK)]
Too much learning damaging children's play, says report Young children are being denied the chance to play at being pirates and astronauts because they spend so much time learning to read and write, according to research published today. Role play games such as pretending to be doctors or police officers are vital to help children learn how to make friends and develop their imagination, the University of Plymouth study found. But the pressures of the formal primary school curriculum, such as the drive to teach literacy, mean there is too little time for play, the research said. September 8, 2005 [More Results from Guardian (UK)]
Will New CA. Bill Stop Homeschooling? When it comes to preschool, the race is on. I remember questions from other moms about what I was going to do regarding preschool when my oldest son was a baby. I said "we're homeschooling" because it was an easy answer and I had indeed thought about doing so, but still I felt compelled to check out preschools, to apply frantically, and to make a deposit so that my child wouldn't be left out of the race. I was already feeling as though I wasn't good enough to teach my own child. by Tricia S. Vaughan July 30, 2005 [More Results from News With Views (CA)]
Dawn to dusk care plan for schools All children under 14 in England will be offered "dawn to dusk" care under a radical extension of the current school day, which the government hopes will become known in the education lexicon as "Kelly hours". But today's announcement by the education secretary, Ruth Kelly, is likely to be overshadowed by questions from teachers' leaders about how the so-called extended schools - open from 8am to 6pm - will be funded, and warnings of the bureaucracy involved. by Rebecca Smithers June 13, 2005 [More Results from Guardian Unlimited (UK)]
Three-year-olds 'face criminal risk test' Children as young as three should be targeted as potential criminals, according to a leaked government report. The Home Office study suggested nursery staff should be trained to spot tots at risk of becoming criminals when they grow up. The publication said that infants not "under control" by the age of three were four times more likely to be convicted of a criminal offence once they reached maturity, according to a report in the Sunday Times. The 250-page report by the Home Office strategy unit, entitled Crime Reduction Review, was drawn up to identify the most effective ways of cutting crime by 2008. by Helene Mulholland June 13, 2005 [More Results from Guardian Unlimited (UK)]
Stick to what works, researchers tell preschool advocates and policy makers As efforts accelerate to develop a universal preschool system, advocates and policy makers should focus dollars on blue-collar families, not hand preschools over to public schools. "The worthy cause of extending preschool to all families is gaining steam, money and big-name proponents," said Bruce Fuller, co-author of the report and UC Berkeley professor of education and public policy. "But key pillars of initial programs are founded on the sands of weak evidence, ignoring the lessons from leading states." by Kathleen Maclay May 5, 2005 [More Results from UC Berkeley News]