Universal Preschool News
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.
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.
June 6, 2006
[More Results from Pasadena Star-News]
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)]
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]
No on Proposition 82
Preschool initiative amounts to welfare for middle-class parents. Voters in the June 6 primary should vote "no" on Prop. 82 and let parents meet their own obligations without subsidies.
Proponents of Proposition 82 want the state to do what parents should: care for their children. The most fiscally dangerous political initiative to emerge from Hollywood director Rob Reiner's rather generous cranium in recent years seeks to pay for the preschool education of every child â€" even those whose parents can afford it on their own.
April 30, 2006
[More Results from Press-Telegram]
Universal preschool would mean universal disaster for US kids
Your March 27 editorial, "Universal preschool, universal benefits," was extraordinarily biased. The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project referred to in the article only focused on 123 disadvantaged African-American kids.
The sample group was too small to make generalizations across all preschool populations. The results not only couldn't be duplicated, they came under fire for biased reporting. Using such a flawed report as a basis for a cost-benefit analysis to justify public universal preschool programs is absurd.
April 5, 2006
[More Results from The Christian Science Monitor]
The Reiner rip-off: Taxpayer-funded push for initiative reeks
It's hard to fathom how a Hollywood actor-director-activist with a reputation for caring about children could make the transition to sleazy pol so quickly, but that's just what Rob Reiner has done.
His role in orchestrating the use of millions in taxpayer money to push his latest cause is beyond slimy and way past arrogant... There's talk of seeking a state Fair Political Practices Commission investigation of this mess, but that doesn't go far enough. Attorney General Bill Lockyer, come on down. A slap on the wrist is not sufficient. The use of $23 million in public funds for a personal crusade merits a criminal investigation.
February 23, 2006
[More Results from The San Diego Union-Tribune (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.
February 12, 2006
[More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Backers: Child care plan could boost business, reduce crime
An effort to boost the quality of child care in Wyoming would not only be good for kids, it would be good for business and would reduce crime, supporters told lawmakers Monday.
"It's about economic development and work force development as well as child development," said Deanna Frey,director of the Wyoming Children's Action Alliance. A Wyoming Business Council executive as well as the head of the state corrections department were among those who lent their support to the bill at a meeting of the Joint Labor, Health and Social Services interim committee in Casper.
January 13, 2006
[More Results from Casper Star-Tribune (WY)]
Vilsack wants preschool for all 4-year-olds
DES MOINES -- Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that he will ask the Legislature to guarantee preschool for every child.
The proposal, which would cost $15 million in its first year, would make preschool a recurring part of the state budget rather than an optional expense that must be renewed each year.
House Speaker Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, said the governor's plan would guarantee preschool by expanding the K-12 school funding formula to include 4-year-olds.
January 13, 2006
[More Results from Quad-City Times (IA)]
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.
January 13, 2006
[More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Puffed up promise of preschool
If preschool is a requirement for success, how did so many of us succeed without it? And why are so many students today failing with it?
Robert Fulghum's bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten recounts the life lessons we carry from our early years. So it is with learning the ABCs: All Children Really Need to Know They Can Learn in Kindergarten. No preschool required. Nevertheless, kids are skipping off to class earlier and earlier. If the average mother in past generations felt pressure to be home with her children, the average mother today feels pressure to send her toddlers to preschool.
December 20, 2005
[More Results from The Arizona Republic [Free Subscription Required]]
Universal preschool trend has critics
TROUTDALE - All across the country, governors and legislators from both parties are pouring money into universal preschool programs.
In New Mexico, Gov. Bill Richardson is preparing to press for universal preschool in the 2006 legislative session, a move that could cost about $59 million a year, and Illinois has set aside $90 million over the next three years for early-childhood education. In all, spending on pre-K programs is just over $2.5 billion nationwide, according to Pre-K Now, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.
December 19, 2005
[More Results from The Seattle Times (WA)]
Campaign 2006: 'Meathead' Is at It Again
LOS ANGELES -- Celebrities with a social conscience are a growing breed in Hollywood. But it would be nice if they'd stick to whales and landmines and leave our children alone.
Unfortunately, California parents have no such luck. Movie director turned child advocate Rob Reiner--best known for playing the role of "Meathead" on "All in the Family"--recently acquired a million signatures to put his Preschool for All initiative on the California ballot next June, his second attempt to launch a "universal" preschool program. The initiative would impose a 1.7% income tax on couples making over $800,000 a year ($400,000 for individuals) to offer three hours of free preschool for all the state's 4-year-olds.
December 11, 2005
[More Results from Opinion Journal - The Wall Street Journal]
Research Disputes Benefits of Early Education
Arizona's move toward more government preschool and kindergarten programs is not unprecedented. In France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, there is nearly universal enrollment of three-and four-year-olds in center-based institutions.
A few states across the country have adopted similar systems. Georgia created the first statewide universal preschool program for four-year-olds in 1993, and Oklahoma, New York, and West Virginia have moved in a similar direction. In 2002, Florida voters adopted a constitutional amendment requiring the state to provide free preschool for every four-year-old child.
November 24, 2005
[More Results from Eagle Forum]
Full-day kindergarten would mean big changes
North Syracuse district officials are closely watching a proposal before the state's Board of Regents that would mandate full-day kindergarten in all districts as well as other early childhood education programs.
Superintendent Jerome Melvin told school board members on Monday night that the district would need half an elementary school building to accommodate a full-day kindergarten. The proposed policy also would require pre-kindergarten in all districts and services to children from birth to age 2. It also drops the compulsory school age from 6 years old to 5 years old.
November 10, 2005
[More Results from The Post-Standard (NY)]
JCCEO Celebrates 40 Years Of Head Start
The Head Start program for preschool children is 40 years old this year, and the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity Head Start Program celebrated this milestone at all its centers.
Begun in 1965 as a summer program, when the need to help low-income children prepare for kindergarten and first grade became apparent, the program has served thousands of children here in Jefferson County, and more than 22 million children across the nation.
October 27, 2005
[More Results from The Birmingham Times]
Pre-K enrollment lower than expected
ORLANDO - Enrollment in Florida's new $387 million prekindergarten program is not meeting expectations, missing projections by tens of thousands of children, state officials said Friday.
Gladys Wilson, deputy director of early learning for the state agency that manages the program, told a conference of small-business leaders assembled by the nonprofit Florida TaxWatch that only about 80,000 4-year-olds are enrolled. That's 54 percent of the 147,000 expected to attend.
October 15, 2005
[More Results from The Gainesville Sun (FL)]
Don't judge a preschool by whether it has computers
Unless you count the plastic one next to the two real-but-not-connected telephones in the dress-up corner of the yellow room, there's no computer in the classrooms at Watertown Cooperative Nursery School.
In the search for the perfect preschool, that could make or break some parents' decision. Teaching director Margaret Cleremont makes no apologies. "If what they are looking for is reading skills and worksheets and an emphasis on academics rather than on social and emotional development, we're not for them," she says.
September 29, 2005
[More Results from The Boston Globe]
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.
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.
June 12, 2005
[More Results from The Salt Lake Tribune (UT)]
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.
June 7, 2005
[More Results from Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)]
County readies for free preschool
Universal preschool â€" or free and voluntary preschool for all â€" 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.
June 3, 2005
[More Results from Inside Bay Area - Tri-Valley Herald (CA)]
Maybe Preschool Is the Problem
IF six out of every 1,000 preschool children are asked to pack up their Goldfish crackers and never return to nursery school - expelled at the tender age of 4 - whose fault is that?
But maybe, some education experts say, the problems stem from preschool itself. A new study released last week by the Yale Child Study Center found that preschool children are three times as likely to be expelled as children in primary school, and that roughly 5,000 preschool children are turned out each year.
May 22, 2005
[More Results from The New York Times [Requires free subscription]]
Research Finds a High Rate of Expulsions in Preschool
So what if typical 3-year-olds are just out of diapers, still take a daily nap and can't tie their shoes? They are old enough to be expelled, the first national study of expulsion rates in pre-k programs has found.
In fact, preschool children are three times as likely to be expelled as children in kindergarten through 12th grade, according to the new study, by researchers from the Yale Child Study Center. Although preschool expulsion rates varied widely by state and type of setting, the study found that on average, boys were expelled at 4.5 times the rate of girls, African-Americans at twice the rate of Latinos and Caucasians, and 4-year-olds at 1.5 times the rate of 3-year-olds.
May 17, 2005
[More Results from The New York Times]