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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.

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]
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. by Community News October 27, 2005 [More Results from The Birmingham Times]
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)]
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]
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]
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)]
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. by Jennifer Steinhauer 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. by Tamar Lewin May 17, 2005 [More Results from The New York Times]
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]
Classic toys never grow old with kids At a time when many 3-year-olds can operate a DVD player to watch their favorite movies, it's nice to know classic toys still have a place in their lives. Fisher-Price Toys Inc. is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and although the company has kept in touch with the times with hot licensed products and electronic gizmos, it's the classics that have captured the imaginations of generations of kids. Company lore has it that in 1934, Herman Fisher's mother, who was a teacher, coined the term "preschool" toys and a new toy segment was born. by Denise I. O'Neal April 22, 2005 [More Results from Chicago Sun-Times (IL)]
Archbishop accuses Britain's parents of child 'abuse' - Britain - Times Online Britain is a society of infantilised adults who are abusing their own children by default, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said today. He condemned the "malign" obsession with testing in schools and issued a clarion call for the British people to grow up. "When adults stop being infants, children can be children," he told an audience of headmasters, church and mosque leaders, community workers and academics in east London. by Ruth Gledhill April 11, 2005 [More Results from Times Online (UK)]
Public preschool a smart investment, study says The study, conducted by the RAND Corporation, builds on research in Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee that has followed preschool students over time, comparing their lives with those of similar children. The financial analysis assumes a voluntary, part-day program that would pay to place 4-year-olds in existing private preschools as well as new programs run by school districts, said Lynn Karoly, the study's lead researcher. by Sara Steffens March 30, 2005 [More Results from Contra Costa Times]
Out of play Florida schoolkids can name the presidents, speak foreign languages and studiously practice the FCAT. But they don't know what recess is. For 25 minutes every Friday, the first-graders get to play. They don't run laps or do pushups, practicing for some president's fitness test. They don't get pushed into whole-class kickball, where someone always gets stuck on the team with slow Stanley. They don't do anything where their teacher referees or anyone tells them what to do or with whom. by Lane DeGregory March 29, 2005 [More Results from St. Petersburg Times]
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]
Opinion: Redwood City School District There's no free preschool The Mercury News reported Feb. 15 that parents in the Redwood City School District will get the first shot at enrolling their children in the county's first "free" preschool classes. Whether one is philosophically in favor or opposed to the concept of universal preschool, selling the idea that it is "free" is misleading at best. Property owners and taxpayers of other venues know who will be footing the bill for those "free" preschools while organized educators statewide are crying to Sacramento for even more money. by Mary Thompson February 17, 2005 [More Results from The Mercury News - [free subscription required]]
Popping Pills in Preschool No one flinched when a child psychiatrist told a conference of parents and counselors that she had prescribed antidepressants to children as young as 3-1/2. Audience members at the San Diego conference, after all, were quite familiar with the concept of preschoolers on Prozac. Many of the parents in the audience have children who suffer from a debilitating form of shyness called selective mutism, one of a handful of mental disorders thought to strike children younger than 6. by Randy Dotinga February 5, 2005 [More Results from Wired News]
Imitating Mom May Build a Better Conscience Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it may also be a powerful conscience builder for toddlers, according to a new study. Researchers found that differences in how toddlers imitate their mothers can be related to how developed their conscience is as preschoolers. The study showed that toddlers who enthusiastically imitate their mothers tend to develop a sense of right and wrong sooner than those who don’t. by Jennifer Warner October 30, 2004 [More Results from FOX News]
Compulsory Mental Health Screening is Coming for Adults and Children Preschool and Up... There is a new major U.S. mental health initiative on the docket, based on a report of the New Freedom in Mental Health Commission, which recommends mental health screening for adults and children as young as preschool age. It also includes expanding school-based mental health programs requiring specific treatments for specific conditions, including the use of specific medications. Despite a growing public opposition to universal mental health screening, states are being encouraged by the federal government to adopt the measure. by Sharon Hughes August 24, 2004 [More Results from Mich News]