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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.

Universal preschool is inviting universal disaster Ideas that seem great in theory are often a disaster in practice. California's Preschool for All initiative being pushed by director-turned-child advocate Rob Reiner is just such an idea. This is not mere ivory-tower doom-mongering. This is what a sober assessment of a similar universal day care program in Quebec suggests. The arguments Reiner and San Francisco child care advocates make are identical to the ones made in Quebec eight years ago. The final price tag for Quebec's day care program is 33 times what was originally projected: It was supposed to cost $230 million over five years, but now gobbles $1.7 billion every year. by Shikha Dalmia, Lisa Snell December 4, 2005 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle]
Public school for 4-year-olds coming soon Next fall, Onalaska will join the rising ranks of school districts that offer 4-year-old kindergarten, and Holmen might not be far behind. According to the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, almost half of the school districts in the state have 4K programs, although those school districts only account for half of the state's 4-year-olds. This fall, seven school districts added 4K programs - Bloomer, Kiel, Monroe, New Glarus, Eau Claire, Park Falls and Stanley/Boyd - and next fall there will be at least one more: Onalaska. by Randy Erickson December 2, 2005 [More Results from Onalaska Community Life (WI)]
Day Scare Will child care stunt your kid's social skills? Three studies find downsides... As if overcrowded classrooms and school budget cuts weren't enough, parents who opened up Tuesday's New York Times found something else to worry about: the findings from three new studies about child care that call into question some of its supposed benefits. Parents who thought their children were acquiring valuable social skills at day care discovered that two of the studies, which focused on cognitive and social development in kindergartners and third-graders, found that while kids who spent long hours in child care developed strong reading and math skills, they tended to have poorer social skills than children who stayed at home with a parent. by Priya Jain November 2, 2005 [More Results from Salon]
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)]
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]
Program Benefits Homeschool Families with Kindergarten, Preschool Lesson Plans EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA -- Kindergarten and preschool lesson plans are now available to homeschoolers and parents who want to help their children with early reading skills. The program focuses on reading and writing skills. The lesson plans also inspire creativity and draw from a wide variety of subject areas from the traditional preschool and kindergarten curriculum. by David M. Bresnahan October 10, 2005 [More Results from American Chronicle]
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. by Barbara F. Meltz September 29, 2005 [More Results from The Boston Globe]
Early Childhood Early Childhood Articles/Research Head Start helps poor, disadvantaged children narrow a gap in reading skills compared with other preschoolers, but the program doesn't help them catch up in math or their ability to comprehend what people say to them. July 25, 2005 [More Results from ParentDirectedEducation.org]
Daycares Don't Care, How Can a Daycare Love? ~ Daycare Quote of the Month ~
First Day at Daycare - My daughter comes home smelling like another woman's perfume.
Everyone knows it's true; but almost everyone's afraid to say it: Daycare institutions don't care about or love your child like you do. For years, many experts have been warning us about the detrimental consequences for children placed in day care. This website contains an extensive index of publications about daycare from well-known child development authorities, psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, public policy analysts, sociologists, daycare providers, and others. July 19, 2005 [More Results from daycaresdontcare.org]
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)]
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]]
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)]
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)]
World Congress of Families II "The learning tools -- vision, hearing, cognition, nervous system-- of average children who enroll at today's early ages are not tempered for structured academic tasks. Students lose physical and mental health from 1) uncertainty from leaving the family nest, 2) bafflement from social pressures and restrictions, 3) frustration from pressure to use their unready "learning tools" which can't handle the regimentation and routine of formal lessons, 4) hyperactivity growing out of tattered nerves warring against rigid studies, 5) failure which flows from the episodes above, 6) delinquency which is failure's twin, and 7) a sense of family lost, often including suicide. by Raymond S. Moore, Ph.D. April 11, 2005 [More Results from The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society]
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 Costs and Benefits of Universal Preschool in California Research has shown that well-designed preschool education programs serving disadvantaged children can generate benefits to government and the rest of society that outweigh program costs. As a result of such evidence, there has been a growing conviction among U.S. business leaders, policymakers, and the public that children benefit from structured programs preparing them for school entry. That conviction has been accompanied by increasing enthusiasm for public-sector investment in preschool. March 31, 2005 [More Results from Rand Corporation]
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]
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]
Are Santa Clara County Kindergarteners Prepared to Learn? Released today at a community forum of business, civic and education leaders, Ready for School? A Report on the Skill Levels of Santa Clara County Kindergarteners, assesses readiness in five developmental areas. According to a new study from the Santa Clara County Partnership for School Readiness, nearly 75 percent of preschoolers meet teacher expectations for overall kindergarten readiness, while 10 percent fall significantly below expectations. Additionally, less than 41% of children entering kindergarteners are proficient, or even in progress toward proficiency, in language and communication skills. March 8, 2005 [More Results from United Way Silicon Valley]
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]]
Statewide Evaluation of First 5 California Funded Programs First 5 California dispenses tobacco tax funds raised by Proposition 10, a ballot initiative passed in 1998, to the 58 California counties. County Commissions allocate these funds to support local programs that serve all children, from before birth to 5 years of age, and their families, to improve child health, child development, family functioning, and systems of care. February 1, 2005 [More Results from prop10evaluation.com]
Low-income parents support plans to subsidize preschool for more kids Heide De Anda's 4-year-old son, Andrew, started classes at a Kapalama preschool just last September, but she is already seeing a difference. Her son seems more comfortable around other children, more willing to share. His exposure to the teachers and environment at KCAA's Laura Morgan Pre-School will make the step to kindergarten much easier. But De Anda and her husband, who works at City Mill, could not afford preschool without a state subsidy for low-income parents. by Derrick DePledge January 26, 2005 [More Results from Honolulu Advertiser (HI)]