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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.

Little scholars, big business As more parents seek to give kids an edge, learning centers thrive Rather than play outside on the mild afternoon, a half-dozen boys and girls hone verbal skills and hurtle through math drills inside a nondescript Newton storefront. Across the room, students sweat over synonyms and earn high fives after completing each unit. Struggling students in need of remedial help' No. They're normal elementary-school pupils who came to the local Score! learning center for an hour of "personal academic training" while their mothers ran errands. by Mary C. Lord April 10, 2005 [More Results from The Boston Globe]
The danger of confusing education and childcare Education and childminding have long been closely associated. In the 1830s, all three Brontë sisters went out from Haworth Parsonage to be governesses, either in boarding schools or private homes. The posts involved both teaching and childcare, extending, in the case of Emily, "from six in the morning until near eleven at night". Why, then, do I feel the balance between the two is now so seriously out of kilter that the integrity of the education service is threatened' From the end of the Second World War, day nurseries were set up by the government to meet the needs of the wartime female workforce with no pretence they provided education - other than on a very informal social basis. After the war, this continued in local authority day nurseries and through the voluntary playgroup movement.
At some stage, however, the concept of preschool education entered the scene. Nursery schools were established, typically staffed by one qualified teacher and a number of nursery nurses. The teacher provided an educational veneer for what was essentially organised play.
by Fred Forrester April 6, 2005 [More Results from The Scotsman]
No Child Left Unmedicated Big Brother is on the march. A plan to subject all children to mental health screening is underway, and pharmaceutical companies are gearing up for bigger sales of antidepressant and psychostimulant drugs. Like most liberal big-spending ideas, this one was slipped into the law under cover of sweet words. It started with the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health created by President George W. Bush's Executive Order 13263 of April 29, 2002. The Commission issued its report on July 22, 2003. President Bush has instructed 25 federal agencies to develop a plan to implement the Commissions recommendations. In 2004, Congress appropriated $20 million to finance the recommendations of this New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. Congress also passed the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act that included $7 million for suicide screening, and tens of millions more for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and its Center for Mental Health Services. by Phyllis Schlafly March 30, 2005 [More Results from Eagle Forum]
Study pushes preschool for all Report: payoff to state would be twice $1 billion investment About 35 percent of California's children don't go to preschool at all. Giving those kids access to the early learning, socialization and development that happen in preschool will cut down on costly school dropouts, special education, remedial work and juvenile crime, the Rand study states. by Jennifer Larson March 30, 2005 [More Results from The Desert Sun]
Hard-charging high schools urge students to do less Sprawling across two huge campuses in Chicago's affluent northern suburbs, the venerable New Trier High School is usually cited as the epitome of public-school excellence. New Trier, like a number of large, high-performing schools, is beginning to acknowledge that a culture of excellence can have a dark side, and that the push to craft gilded college applications can bring on stress and overscheduling. Now the school - considered a stalwart of traditional education - is rethinking everything from its schedule to class rank and weighted GPAs in an effort to alleviate pressure. by Amanda Paulson March 21, 2005 [More Results from The Christian Science Monitor (IL)]
Public schools follow the market, pitch all-day kindergarten | csmonitor.com It's a working parent's dream - kindergartens competing to take your children off your hands all day, and the promise that they'll learn something, too. Competition for students has always existed between public and private schools. But open enrollment, home schooling, and a growing number of charter schools have widened parents' choices, and now public schools are facing one of their biggest competitors yet - themselves. by Tim Vanderpool March 9, 2005 [More Results from The Christian Science Monitor]
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)]
Do Pre-K Center Care Programs Work? A number of states have initiated, or are in the process of initiating, free pre-K center care programs for children from low-income families. In the case of Smart Start and Kid Stuff, the states estimate that when fully implemented, these programs will cost in excess of $300 million per year.

During the past 40 years there have been five large-scale trials conducted to investigate the relationship between pre-K and developmental outcomes in children. We will examine each of these studies to see if they support the claim that high quality pre-K contributes to the intellectual, academic, and behavioral development of children.
by Verne R. Bacharach, Ph.D., Appalachian State University; Alfred A. Baumeister, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; Jaimily A. Stoecker, M.A., C.A.S., Caldwell County NC Public School District August 1, 2003 [More Results from Eagle Forum]
NEA Convention Mantra Includes Mandatory Kindergarten and Universal Preschool Delegates to this year's NEA convention approved a new policy on early childhood education that was developed by a committee formed at last year's convention. The NEA's new preschool demand is based on the false assumption that "there is no longer any serious doubt about the value of pre-kindergarten." As the Education Intelligence Agency (EIA) reported (7-4-03): "It was accepted without question by all [the delegates] that mandatory full-day kindergarten is a good thing, and that optional, publicly funded, universal preschool for all three- and four-year-olds is also a good thing." August 1, 2003 [More Results from Eagle Forum]
Early Childhood Research & Practice. Fall 1999. A Comparison of the National Preschool Curricula in Norway and Sweden Norway and Sweden have similar histories within the field of early childhood education and similar traditions of state financial support of children. Recently, both countries adopted national preschool plans for children ages 1 to 5 years old. When comparing the two plans, the first noticeable difference is that the Norwegian approach gives teachers a detailed framework for their work with suggestions on content, methods to be used, and expected outcomes. In contrast, the Swedish plan is goal directed with a short introduction on the perspectives and values of children's learning and development. by Marit Alvestad & Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson September 10, 1999 [More Results from Earch Childhool Research & Practice]