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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 children be children | Is your 5-year-old stressed out because so much is expected? We've just finished test time again in the schools of California. The mad frenzy of testing infects everyone from second grade through high school. For 30 years as a teacher of primary kids, I have operated on the Any Fool Can See principle. And any fool can see that the spread between what is developmentally appropriate for 7- and 8-year-old children and what is demanded of them on these tests is widening. A lot of what used to be in the first-grade curriculum is now taught in kindergarten. Is your 5-year-old stressed out? Perhaps this is why. by Penelope H. Bevan June 13, 2007 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
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)]
Preschool and Daycare can mean Behavior Problems in Elementary School The studied tracked 1,364 children from birth as part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development and is the largest and longest running study to understand the effects of child care. The children were measured for academic achievement, cognitive abilities from kindergarten through 5th grade. They studied the social development from kindergarten through 6th grade. March 26, 2007 [More Results from Best Syndication]
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]
Hispanic Children Gain an Academic Edge When Their Education Starts Early The National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics released a national report, Para Nuestros Ninos: Expanding and Improving Early Education for Hispanics. The Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics, along with the California Community Foundation and Los Angeles Universal Preschool, will address educators and community leaders at a briefing this morning to reveal key findings and recommendations. by Marketwire March 19, 2007 [More Results from Sys-Con Media]
Redshirting: A "Moving" Experience The question about whether a child should begin kindergarten when he or she reaches the prescribed age for school entry has "readiness" written all over it. And as we all know, "readiness" is not something that can be easily measured. What variables need to be considered when we think about readiness for? Ask any child who has had to repeat a grade how they feel about having been "left back" and you'll quickly realize how serious a decision this is for parents and educators to make. An early study asked young students to rate a series of stressful events, and being left back ranked third, immediately following "going blind" and "losing a parent." Point made! by Dr. Sheldon H. Horowitz August 18, 2006 [More Results from National Center for Learning Disabilities]
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]
Proposition 82 / Preschool supporters aren't giving up on their quest Preschool advocates plan to continue fighting to increase quality and expand access to preschool, they said Wednesday, despite the resounding defeat of Proposition 82. In 13 counties, including San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Los Angeles, advocates already are implementing publicly funded preschool, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed $100 million in next year's budget to increase preschool opportunities for 4-year-olds from low-income families. "We're in this for the long haul ... and we'll work locally and at the state level," said Maryann O'Sullivan, founder of Preschool California, an advocacy group. "People are very committed and saying we need another strategy." by Janine DeFao June 8, 2006 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
Props. 82, 81 rejected CALIFORNIA VOTERS soundly rejected an effort to create universal preschools throughout the state. In defeating Proposition 82, Californians wisely ended a two-year effort by actor Rob Reiner and other backers of creating state-operated preschools with revenue solely from high-income taxpayers. Evidently voters realized that Prop. 82 was unfair taxation of a mobile sector of the population and that the measure was a highly inefficient way to provide preschools for children who were not already attending classes. Proposition 81, the statewide library bond measure, also went down to defeat even though Democrats, who usually favor such issues, came out in larger numbers than Republicans. June 6, 2006 [More Results from Contra Costa Times (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)]
Is Universal Preschool Beneficial? An Assessment of RAND Corporation's Analysis and Proposals for California Almost two-thirds of California families currently choose to send their 4-year-olds to preschool.Of those who do, almost half choose a preschool program operated by the state of California, while the other half choose a privately operated preschool. If Proposition 82, an initiative on the June ballot, is implemented those figures will radically change. Most family- and other privately owned preschools will vanish, replaced by government-run, taxpayer-funded preschools. This report assesses RAND Corporation's cost benefit analysis and finds that it significantly overestimates the upsides and drastically underestimates the downsides of universal preschool and the California proposal. Using RAND's own data and alternative assumptions based on the studies they reference, it is easy to demonstrate that universal preschool generates losses of 25 to 30 cents for every dollar spent. by Christopher F. Cardiff and Edward Stringham May 30, 2006 [More Results from Reason Foundation [pdf]]
Professors Find Preschool Benefits Grossly Exaggerated Los Angeles (May 30, 2006) " A Rand Corporation study that claims universal preschool will deliver $2.62 in benefits for every dollar spent by California taxpayers has been thoroughly discredited by two San Jose State University economics professors. San Jose State University economics professors show the Rand preschool study "cherry-picked" data, based its claims on "unbelievable assumptions that bias the results," and omitted numerous costs and other factors that significantly lower the alleged benefits of universal preschool. May 30, 2006 [More Results from Reason Foundation]
Announcing New Website: Tykes On Trikes One size does not fit all children. Government needs to stay out of preschools. Help Stop the War on Toddlers! Join the Preschool Boycott scheduled for Election Day, Tuesday, June 6th! You've heard what politicians, teachers, big business and law enforcement have to say about California's Proposition 82: The Preschool For All Act. Now it's time to hear what we, the preschoolers themselves, have to say! by Sandy Vester May 29, 2006 [More Results from Tykes On Trikes]
The Case Against Universal Preschool in California The Institute for American's Future and the Center for American Progress are calling for $325 billion of added federal education spending over the next decade to create a nationwide, universal preschool program. Although the coalition has not released a specific plan, typical universal preschool proposals call for replacing the private parentdriven preschool system with a taxpayer-funded system that would likely add one or two years of "voluntary" preschool for all children onto the current K-12 public education system. Nationwide, at least 40 states provide funding for preschool programs, and at least 28 considered legislation to expand state-funded preschool programs in 2005. by Lisa Snell April 17, 2006 [More Results from Reason (CA)]
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. by Diane Flynn Keith April 5, 2006 [More Results from The Christian Science Monitor]
The Reiner Initiative and Preschool Pressures: An Interview with Diane What might be the problem with preschool? Where can conscientious parents and educators find common ground? Diane Flynn Keith shares her views about California's "First Five" advertisements, Rob Reiner, standardized testing, and much more. "I can tell you, however, that last Fall, at a Preschool Advocacy Day in Sacramento that was sponsored by the non-profit Packard Foundation, I witnessed a presumptuous and cocky Reiner urge the audience to turn out the yes vote on Preschool-For-All in June 2006. Reiner acknowledged that he wasn't supposed to say that (due to IRS regulations restricting non-profits from political and lobbying activities) but told the audience he didn't care and invited the Feds to come and get him." by Diane Flynn Keith March 31, 2006 [More Results from HorseSense and Nonsense]
Disingenuous ploy: Reiner should stop hiding behind 'the kids' Perhaps the most tiresome Stupid Politician Trick of all is when someone under fire declares that the real goal of his critics is to try to hurt the weak and powerless folks he protects. This defense is so common that it's become a cliche: "I'm just trying to help the kids," said Sen. For-Sale Smith as he downplayed the $10 million that mysteriously turned up in his bank account. March 18, 2006 [More Results from The San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
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)]
CALIFORNIA / UC study examines preschool benefits / By third grade, no difference shown among students As proponents of universal preschool in California kicked off their campaign with news of an upbeat poll, a study on the lasting effects of preschool indicates many of its benefits may wear off by the time students reach third grade. The University of California study, parts of which will be released today at a Sacramento conference, focuses on non-English-speaking children who went to preschool. Students who had gone to preschool gained a head start on literacy and language skills that gave them a leg up through third grade, according to the study by UC Santa Barbara professor Russell Rumberger, director of the UC Linguistic Minority Research Institute. by Ilene Lelchuk January 28, 2006 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
Just Whose Children Are They? With the push across the country for universal pre-school and all-day kindergarten, this article by a home school mom and activist is timely. The Minnesota organization, Ready4K, has a clone in every state. It was that time of year when the government rounds up all the preschool age children they can find in order to screen them for school readiness. My friends grandson went through this assembly line process only to be labeled unprepared for kindergarten. The reason? He could not adequately stand on one foot and he did not give the predetermined answer to a question. When shown a ball and asked what it was, the boy replied that it was a sphere with air in it. by Karen Bryant January 16, 2006 [More Results from Ed Action]
The Early Bird Misses the Worm: Evidence on Early Childhood Education The movement for an increased government role in early childhood education is gaining momentum. Early childhood education is the complete system of education for children from birth to school entry. Georgia, Oklahoma, and Florida have already implemented universal public preschool, while such states as California and Arizona may follow closely behind. Is universal pre-K a good investment of taxpayers' money' With the majority of four-year-olds in Texas and the United States already attending preschool, is it necessary for government to take an even larger role' by Jamie Story January 5, 2006 [More Results from Texas Public Policy Foundation [pdf]]
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)]
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. by Darcy Olsen December 20, 2005 [More Results from The Arizona Republic [Free Subscription Required]]
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. by Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell December 11, 2005 [More Results from Opinion Journal - The Wall Street Journal]