San Francisco Bay Homes - Cliff Keith and Team

Universal Preschool News

Confused about the benefits or harm of Universal Preschool? Is it a silver bullet for education reform or a waste of money?
Watch this 10-minute documentary...

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.

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)]
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]
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)]
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)]
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)]
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)]
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)]
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]
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]
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]]
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)]
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]