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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.

Poor Behavior Is Linked to Time in Day Care A report from the largest study of American child care finds that keeping a preschooler in a day care for a year or more increased the likelihood that the child would become disruptive in class - the effect persisted through sixth-grade. Every year spent in day care centers for at least 10 hours per week was associated with a 1 percent higher score on a standardized assessment of problem behaviors completed by teachers, said Dr. Margaret Burchinal, a co-author of the study and a psychologist at the University of North Carolina. by Benedict Carey March 26, 2007 [More Results from The New York Times]
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]
Preschool, one grant at a time HOW CAN the state bring about universal preschool? Since its wallet is bare, Massachusetts has to start small and build. So the state is giving out $4.6 million in grants to early education and care programs that serve low-income children and asking them to experiment with ways to improve their programs. by The Boston Globe March 17, 2007 [More Results from Rutland Herald (MA)]
The Getting-Into-Preschool Puzzle Can an admissions director really evaluate a 2-year-old? It's March, which means it's time for a spate of stories about the high comedy of preschool admissions. In certain cities-or rather, in certain well-off circles in a few cities-getting a 2- or 3-year-old into a coveted school is an enormous preoccupation. The preschool wars have adopted the weapons and lingo of the college wars: consultants, essays, safety schools, and early decision($). by Emily Bazelon March 15, 2007 [More Results from Slate Magazine]
Is your baby playing with its toes yet? If not the government wants to know why Babies will be assessed on their gurgling, babbling and toe-playing abilities when they are a few months old under a legally enforced national curriculum for children from birth to five published by the government yesterday. When children enter compulsory schooling, they should be able to read simple sentences using a phonics-based approach, count reliably up to 10 and sing simple songs from memory, as well as respecting others' beliefs and learning to share and take turns. by Lucy Ward March 14, 2007 [More Results from Guardian Unlimited (UK)]
Free preschool enjoys growth The growth of free preschools in San Joaquin County has been dramatic. Unlike existing federal and state preschool programs, these new spots in classrooms across the county don't require families to meet income eligibility requirements. The Legislature approved $50 million for preschools attached to low-performing schools. The governor's May budget revision may include more money. There are several bills in the works, including one that would fund pre-kindergarten classes much the same way as existing funding for higher grades. by Zachary K. Johnson March 13, 2007 [More Results from Recordnet]
Getting a head start Kerrville Independent School District has introduced Handwriting Without Tears, a program that teaches students top-down and left-to-right formations, capital letters and letter recognition with wooden pieces. Diane Flynn Keith, founder of Universal Preschool, an advocacy group designed to protect parents' rights to determine educational choices for their children, said pre-schoolers learn best when they are permitted to explore and follow their own interests. by Alison Beshur December 21, 2006 [More Results from Universal Preschool]
Gates Beats Bush as Most Influential in Education, Survey Says Billionaire Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., beat out President George W. Bush as the most influential person in U.S. education for the past decade, according to a survey by a nonprofit education publisher. Gates sparked national movements to improve high schools and to create smaller schools through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that he co-chairs with his wife, said Editorial Projects in Education Inc. in a report today. The results are based on an e-mail survey by the publishing group, which produces Education Week. by Emily Sachar December 13, 2006 [More Results from Bloomberg]
4 -year-old Accused of Improperly Touching Teacher BELLMEAD- A four-year-old hugged his teachers aide and was put into in-school suspension, according to the father. But La Vega school administrators have a different story. Damarcus Blackwell's four-year-old son was lining-up to get on the bus after school last month, when he was accused of rubbing his face in the chest of a female employee. by Jennifer Kent December 8, 2006 [More Results from KXXV (TX)]
Parents struggle with daycare Most working parents with preschoolers at home see the morning day-care dropoff as more of a necessity than a choice. In a survey by the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, more than 80 percent of parents said the primary reason for seeking child care is that they have to work. December 8, 2006 [More Results from Financial Express]
Ratings and pilots are advised for state preschool programs A rating system for pre-K programs and pilot preschools in six communities were two recommendations made to the governor Wednesday by a group looking into kindergarten for all 4-year-olds in the state. The Start Strong Council, a group of 25 legislators, business leaders, educators and early childhood advocates, was created by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. One of the themes of his campaign last year was making preschool available to all children in Virginia. by Amy Coutee' December 7, 2006 [More Results from The Virginian-Pilot]
State Panel Seeks Hike In Preschool Spending Connecticut should spend as much as $100 million over the next two years to expand children's services, including preschool classes, to make the state "a national model for early childhood education." The ambitious recommendation is the first stage of a five-year proposal to more than double the number of low-income children in preschool classes, to train more preschool teachers and aides, and to bolster the quality of preschool programs statewide. by Robert A. Frahm December 7, 2006 [More Results from Hartford Courant]
Nickelodeon consolidates preschool teams The U.S. cable channel Nickelodeon is merging creative and management teams for its 'preschool on TV' shows under one flag to be headed by Brown Johnson. Noggin -- the commercial-free educational channel for preschoolers, is merging with Nick Jr., part of the Nickelodeon programming channel that takes over Nickelodeon every weekday morning for the under-5 set. by James Wray and Ulf Stabe December 7, 2006 [More Results from Smallscreen]
Full-day option for all, but where will kids learn? Daniels' proposal would phase in plan over 3 years, but educators say it lacks cash for extra space, resources The plan unveiled by the governor Tuesday to expand full-day kindergarten includes money for more teachers, but educators and lawmakers worry because it includes nothing to build the hundreds of needed classrooms. by Staci Hupp and Mary Beth Schneider December 6, 2006 [More Results from IndyStar]
Denver tots offer lesson for Ohio By approving a massive, citywide pre school initiative, Denver voters have given Ohio leaders a model to watch. Gov.-elect Ted Strickland made improving early childhood programs a major part of his campaign platform, while Cuyahoga County officials recently announced plans to launch a preschool effort next fall. December 2, 2006 [More Results from The Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH)]
Hi-tech toys offer no educational gain, say researchers Parents who invest in toy computers and other electronic games marketed as boosting learning for babies and pre-schoolers could save their money and help their children to learn themselves, according to new research. A government-funded study examining the role of technology in the lives of three- and four-year-old children and their families found that the hi=tech devices - one of the fastest growing sectors of the toy market, aimed at infants as young as nine months - are no more effective than traditional ways of introducing basic literacy and number skills. by Lucy Ward November 14, 2006 [More Results from Guardian Unlimited (UK)]
Indiana Mental Health Plan moves forward, following in Illinois footsteps A mental health screening plan stating all Indiana children from birth to 22 years "shall" be screened survived the 11-1 vote yesterday. The comprehensive plan was part of a law passed last year to reorganize services the state provides to children. Illinois legislators also passed a bill in 2003 that they did not bother to read, or at least think through, and many admitted that they had no idea what they were signing on to at the time. by Rhonda Robinson October 26, 2006 [More Results from Illinois Review]
Vermont asks, "What is Universal Preschool's Real-World Record?" Evidence from performance on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which is considered the nation's report card, shows no evidence of academic gain from U-Pre-K. What results have these programs garnered for mainstream children? Apart from a lack of academic benefit, a study of the Quebec program by the C.D. Howe Institute showed a detrimental impact on children emotionally. by Rob Roper September 14, 2006 [More Results from Freedom Works]
Childrenís Social, Emotional & Behavioral Health Plan Initiated by Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 529 during the 2005 legislative session, it is the product of eleven months of work. The legislation specified what the plan should address, and who should participate in its development. The plan covers many topics including assessment, accountability and outcome measurement, finance and budget, best practices, referral networks, school standards, workforce development, and training. Considerable information and insight were gathered through three public forums conducted in the north, central and southern regions of the state. August 29, 2006 [More Results from DOE State of Indiana [pdf file]]
Preschool Pros and Cons Melanie Bailey of Bossier City, La., has a background in preschool & kindergarten education, so sending her daughters to preschool was not an automatic decision for her. She already knew they would be academically ready, so it was just the social aspect she had to consider. "Up until just recently, I was a stay-at-home mom so my kids never experienced the social factors of a daycare setting," says Bailey. "Academically I wasn't worried about them, [but] I can imagine that kindergarten would be overwhelming for a child that has never attended a preschool program. by Kelly Burgess August 29, 2006 [More Results from Preschoolers Today]
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]
Stressing Over Raising Superkids Today's parents are stressed out about their children's academic success and believe starting early is the key to achievement, according to a new poll. In fact, 54 percent of parents of children aged 2 to 5 said they had anxiety about their child's academic performance and 38 percent felt that their child was in competition with other kids. The new findings come from a telephone poll of about 1,000 parents of children aged 2 to 11 conducted in July 2006 by the National Parent and Teachers Association (PTA) in New York and the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) Parents. by Denise Mann August 12, 2006 [More Results from CBS News]
Let's Walk before We Run: Cautionary Advice on Childcare Ottawa and the provinces should use their spending powers to ensure access to reasonable quality childcare programs for "at risk" children, rather than launch universal childcare, says a Commentary released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. Childcare programs targeted on disadvantaged families could generate significant benefits, says the paper, Let's Walk before We Run: Cautionary Advice on Childcare, by John Richards, Professor, Public Policy Program, at Simon Fraser University and Matthew Brzozowski, Assistant Professor, Economics, at the University of Western Ontario. While studies show childcare programs benefit children from low-income or single-parent families, who are likely to be disadvantaged in terms of preparation for formal schooling, the net benefits for children from stable, middle-class homes are doubtful, according to the study. Why do "at risk" children clearly benefit? Evidence from US studies suggests that benefits are a function of the gap between the quality of the childcare centre and the home as a learning environment. by John Richards and Matthew Brzozowski August 11, 2006 [More Results from C.D. Howe Institute [pdf]]
Baby brains are hard-wired for math LiveScience:  Researchers confirm that infants as early as 6 months in age can detect mathematical errors, putting to rest a debate that has gone on for over a decade. Next time someone complains about arithmetic being hard, math lovers can defend themselves by saying "even a 6-month-old can do it." Through monitoring the brains of infants, researchers confirmed that infants as early as 6 months in age can detect mathematical errors, putting to rest a debate that has gone on for over a decade. by Sara Goudarzi August 9, 2006 [More Results from MSNBC (OR)]
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]