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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.

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)]
Preschool ads draw fire from critics SACRAMENTO - Two television ads tell Californians that children who go to preschool are more likely to graduate from college. A radio spot describes a 4-year-old named Amy who is helping to improve the economy and fight crime simply by attending preschool To most Californians, the ads may seem little more than public service announcements encouraging parents to send their young children to preschool. But to opponents of actor-director Rob Reiner's pending $2.3 billion universal preschool initiative, the spots feel more like taxpayer-financed political advocacy that primes voters for the June election. They criticize the fact that Reiner chairs the state commission paying for the ads and also leads the initiative campaign that may benefit by its message. by Kevin Yamamura December 23, 2005 [More Results from Contra Costa Times (CA)]
Universal preschool is inviting universal disaster Ideas that seem great in theory are often a disaster in practice. California's Preschool for All initiative being pushed by director-turned-child advocate Rob Reiner is just such an idea. This is not mere ivory-tower doom-mongering. This is what a sober assessment of a similar universal day care program in Quebec suggests. The arguments Reiner and San Francisco child care advocates make are identical to the ones made in Quebec eight years ago. The final price tag for Quebec's day care program is 33 times what was originally projected: It was supposed to cost $230 million over five years, but now gobbles $1.7 billion every year. by Shikha Dalmia, Lisa Snell December 4, 2005 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle]
Preschool Damages Children's Social Skills and Emotional Development BERKELEY - Preschool has a negative effect on a child's social and emotional development, according to a study of 14,000 US preschool children. The new research from University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, found 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 Terry Vanderheyden November 10, 2005 [More Results from Life Site (CA)]
Too much preschool harmful, studies say Two new studies have concluded that extended time in preschool or day care can thwart a child's social development, a finding already fueling a debate surrounding a nationwide movement to expand early education programs. One study found that the social harm persists through third grade, regardless of how well caregivers work with preschoolers. Preschool advocates in California want voters to approve a measure heading for the June ballot that would raise the tax on the wealthy to fund more preschool programs. by Helen Gao November 1, 2005 [More Results from San Diego Union Tribune (CA)]
Preschool study finds bright side, dark side / It helps language, math -- can hurt social development As taxpayers, parents and educators debate the value of preschool for every child, a new study by UC Berkeley and Stanford finds for the first time that middle-class children -- receive a boost in language and math skills from preschool. But its darker findings bolster earlier, more controversial conclusions that preschool can hinder social development. The study, "How much is too much' The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children's Development Nationwide," was released today and comes as Hollywood movie director Rob Reiner leads a group of universal preschool advocates pushing for a June 2006 ballot measure that would tax the wealthiest Californians to fund preschool for all who want it. by Carrie Sturrock November 1, 2005 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
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)]
Human Services chief bids farewell Under Borland's leadership, the county undertook welfare reform before it was launched on a national level. Now the agency is supporting an effort to make preschool available to every child in the county, another area where it is leading the state. At her request, the supervisors on Tuesday approved a $1.75 million grant over three years from her agency to the First 5 San Mateo County Preschool for All program. by Laura Ernde July 17, 2005 [More Results from San Mateo County Times]
Preschool for All plan put into action California Gathered last week in front of a blue banner with big letters reading "Preschool for All," actor-turned-preschool advocate Rob Reiner and a bevy of San Francisco bigwigs kicked off the enrollment season for the city's new preschool program. The goal is for all 4-year-olds in the city to have the opportunity to attend a free, high-quality preschool within five years, regardless of their families' income levels. The launch involves $3.3 million in city funds supporting 1,000 children at 22 preschool programs clustered in Visitacion Valley, the Excelsior, the Mission and Bayview.

Reiner -- joined by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, District Attorney Kamala Harris and Board of Education members Jill Wynns and Norman Yee -- said investing in early-childhood education will have a tremendous ripple effect in the future, with lower crime rates and an improved economy.
by Heather Knight July 15, 2005 [More Results from The San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
Toilet training tips from the pros Ever hear the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink'" The same can be said for leading a toddler to a toilet, says Michael McCabe, a pediatrician with North Canton Medical Foundation. "There are a few things parents can't make their children do," he said. "They can't make them eat, they can't make them go to sleep and they can't make them poop in a toilet. But they can teach them to do these things." Instead of turning toilet time into a power struggle, start getting little ones comfortable with the bathroom when they are between 15 months and 18 months old, he said. by Cheryl Powell June 12, 2005 [More Results from The Salt Lake Tribune (UT)]
Scary Preschool Utopia Did you know, the earnest lady asked, that one-quarter of even the affluent children in this country start kindergarten without full knowledge of the alphabet? She clearly found this information a shocker, evidence that this nation needs universal pre-kindergarten, right away. This was, after all, Libby Doggett, the executive director of Pre-K Now, speaking at a seminar for reporters this spring in Denver. by Karin Klein June 7, 2005 [More Results from Los Angeles Times (CA)]
Pre-K plan may have a big flaw Use of religious schools for programs could be a violation of the state constitution. As they crafted Florida's free prekindergarten program last year, lawmakers were largely silent on one potential hang-up: Their plan may be unconstitutional. The problem is that Florida lawmakers, rather than relying on public schools as other states have done, opted to offer public money for 4-year-olds to attend religious schools. by Joe Follick June 7, 2005 [More Results from Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)]
County readies for free preschool Universal preschool " or free and voluntary preschool for all " is creating a huge buzz in California, with the prospect looming of a June 2006 ballot initiative led by Rob Reiner to fund such as proposal. First 5 Commission leads effort to create countywide program. Contra Costa County had been mulling the idea for free preschool for more than a year now. But on Thursday, about 75 representatives of early childhood education, private preschools, K-12 school districts, the parent community and nonprofit organizations met to begin the planning process. by Rebecca F. Johnson, June 3, 2005 [More Results from Inside Bay Area - Tri-Valley Herald (CA)]
Op-Ed Not the time for universal preschool ballot measure The free preschool program would be voluntary, but 70 percent of the state's 500,000 eligible 4-year-olds would be expected to enroll. Why wouldn't they? It's free. Reiner's proposal raises a lot of questions. Do we want to transform today's network of independent operators into a statewide operation' Do we want a formally institutionalized preschool system with uniform standards and a bureaucracy' How big would it be' Given how strapped California is for money, including education dollars, do we want to fund preschool for wealthy and middle-class children or start by targeting needy children for financial aid' April 24, 2005 [More Results from The Oakland Tribune (CA)]
Reiner proposes taxing the wealthy to pay for preschool program Director and Hollywood activist Rob Reiner proposed a ballot initiative to provide universal preschool in California for 4-year-olds in what could be a prelude to a run for governor. Reiner and a coalition of supporters announced the filing in coming days of an initiative that would impose a 1.7 percent tax on the state's upper 1 percent of wage earners to pay for the estimated $2.3 billion annual costs of the program. Reiner called his proposed constitutional amendment an "historic piece of legislation that will not only provide quality preschool experience for all 4-year-olds..." by Jim Wasserman April 24, 2005 [More Results from San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
Preschool helps kids improve their German Clap your hands and stomp your feet. Turn around. Touch the ground. Now, do it in German. Too kompliziert (complicated)? It's a breeze for kids in KinderZoo. The German-based preschool is similar to any other, except that students and/or their parents are native German speakers. Kids sing, dance, play, tell stories and do art projects while speaking German. by Amanda Daniels April 21, 2005 [More Results from San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
DVD schools kids on kindergarten Teachers reach out to students who did not attend preschool. Preschool wasn't an option for Tyler Fink. His working parents couldn't afford it, and Tyler didn't qualify for the free programs offered to low-income families. So when it came time to register for school, his mother was relieved when two kindergarten teachers at Harvey Green Elementary School gave her son a workbook and a DVD about kindergarten. The DVD was the brainchild of Green teachers Kristin Dil and Peggy Prestidge. Tired of playing catch-up each year with their non-preschool students, the teachers decided that they needed to reach the children, who otherwise would fall behind, long before school started. by Grace Rauh March 26, 2005 [More Results from Tri-Valley Herald (CA)]
Parents matter more than preschool Thanks for printing teacher Matt Baxter's insightful letter (March 10). It's unbelievable the way that universal preschool is being pushed. Studies have repeatedly shown the most important factor in a child's success is the presence of the mother and father in a loving and committed relationship to each other and the children above all else. by Jan Llovera March 12, 2005 [More Results from San Jose Mercury News]
Parents go to school on giving kids a good start Police take up the cry to get all 4-year-olds into preschool. The situation in San Leandro is not unique. A statewide survey of publicly funded preschool programs found anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 children waiting for slots in either Head Start, state preschool programs or general child care - all of which serve low-income families.

Sponsored by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, the survey included responses from about 2,800 state programs, a 48 percent response rate.
by Jill Tucker and Katy Murphy February 10, 2005 [More Results from The Daily Review (CA)]