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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.

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]
Pre-K program lacks students Only 56 4-year-olds are in the Brooksville summerprogram to get ready for kindergarten. Only 56 students have enrolled so far in the program at Brooksville, Pine Grove and Westside elementary schools, said elementary curriculum specialist Elaine Wooten. While nearly 1,000 other Hernando students took advantage of a similar school-year program offered by private child care providers, she said, the summer turnout has been a disappointment. by Tom Marshall June 28, 2006 [More Results from St. Petersburg Times (FL)]
The Price of Day Care Can Be High There is one place in North America where parents of young children don't have to worry about child care. In Quebec, full-time day care costs just $7 a day, thanks to a government program aimed at one of the thorniest problems that workers in their 20's, Starting in 1997, the Quebec Family Policy subsidized day care for 4-year-olds at government-approved centers around the province. By 2000, the program had expanded to cover any child not old enough for kindergarten, all the way down to infants. This is universal day care, an audacious idea that recognizes the revolution in women's work over the last 30 years. by David Leonhardt June 14, 2006 [More Results from New York Times (Canada)]
Preschool Blues E.J. Dionne surveys the defeat of a recent ballot initiative to fund universal preschool in California and concludes that liberals need to face the fact that the public remains deeply skeptical of big government programs. Progressives have a lot to think about. For one thing, there remains a deep skepticism about government spending, even for the best purposes. On the same day the two propositions went down, voters in five California counties rejected sales tax increases, mostly to fund transportation projects. Attacks on tax-and-spend sound old and tired, but they still have force. by Kevin Drum June 12, 2006 [More Results from The Washington Monthly]
Proposition 82 / Preschool supporters aren't giving up on their quest Preschool advocates plan to continue fighting to increase quality and expand access to preschool, they said Wednesday, despite the resounding defeat of Proposition 82. In 13 counties, including San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Los Angeles, advocates already are implementing publicly funded preschool, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed $100 million in next year's budget to increase preschool opportunities for 4-year-olds from low-income families. "We're in this for the long haul ... and we'll work locally and at the state level," said Maryann O'Sullivan, founder of Preschool California, an advocacy group. "People are very committed and saying we need another strategy." by Janine DeFao June 8, 2006 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
David Beats Goliath - Again Today California preschoolers can breath a sigh of relief as the dust settles on the California Initiative - Proposition 82, otherwise known as the 'Preschool-For-All' initiative. Prop. 82 was soundly defeated 39.1% to 60.9% during the primary elections last night. For the past two years Diane Flynn Keith producer and editor of UniversalPreschool.com, has been pouring her heart and soul into rallying opposition forces, in what at times seemed like David vs. Goliath. by Annette M. Hall June 7, 2006 [More Results from Reliable Answers.com]
Voters reject Prop. 82 California voters soundly rejected Proposition 82 on Tuesday, crushing the hopes of early-childhood education advocates who hoped to make universal preschool public policy in the nation's most populous state. Though Proposition 82 enjoyed support in staunchly liberal enclaves like San Francisco, it was overwhelmingly rejected in the Central Valley, Orange County and other parts of the state. Reiner and his campaign aides overestimated the breadth of their support -- and misjudged the depth of the opposition's. by Dana Hull June 7, 2006 [More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Voters reject Prop. 82 California voters soundly rejected Proposition 82 Tuesday, crushing the hopes of early childhood education advocates who hoped to make universal preschool public policy in the nation's most populous state. Throughout much of the evening, returns showed that 60 percent of voters statewide opposed Prop. 82 while just 40 percent supported it, making it nearly impossible for the measure to ever get the simple majority it needed to pass. "It doesn't look good," admitted Hollywood director Rob Reiner, who spoke to about 200 supporters at a Los Angeles hotel ballroom shortly after 10 p.m. But he vowed to fight on, saying that the push for universal preschool would not go away. "This is important, and if it is not today the train has left the station." by Dana Hull June 7, 2006 [More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Some preschools are opposed to Prop. 82 It came as a shock to the sponsors of California's two failed school voucher ballot initiatives when their idea was rejected by many of the private schools which could have begun collecting state money under those plans. Similarly, preschools by the dozen have surprised advocates of Proposition 82 this spring, insisting they favor the concept of universal preschool advanced by the current initiative, but don't like what it might force them to do. Their opinions eerily echo those expressed six years ago, when Headmaster Thomas Hudnut of the elite Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles viewed the 2000 Proposition 38, most recent effort by California's voucher advocates. by Thomas Elias June 6, 2006 [More Results from Pasadena Star-News]
Props. 82, 81 rejected CALIFORNIA VOTERS soundly rejected an effort to create universal preschools throughout the state. In defeating Proposition 82, Californians wisely ended a two-year effort by actor Rob Reiner and other backers of creating state-operated preschools with revenue solely from high-income taxpayers. Evidently voters realized that Prop. 82 was unfair taxation of a mobile sector of the population and that the measure was a highly inefficient way to provide preschools for children who were not already attending classes. Proposition 81, the statewide library bond measure, also went down to defeat even though Democrats, who usually favor such issues, came out in larger numbers than Republicans. June 6, 2006 [More Results from Contra Costa Times (CA)]
Prop 82: No, no, no If ever a political matter illustrated the proverbial wisdom that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, it is Proposition 82. Rob Reiner's "free preschool for all" initiative stems from the filmmaker-activist's sincere concern that many poor children's lack of early intellectual development dooms them to substandard lives. But Reiner came to believe his altruism was all that mattered - that in pursuing his crusade, he had no responsibility to forge wise public policy or to behave in ethical fashion. June 5, 2006 [More Results from The San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
Preschool for All by Tricia Shore The California crowd, a generally insecure lot who so worries their pretty heads about whether their infant is reading a Baby Einstein flashcard more quickly than their neighbor's, tends to take preschool pretty darn seriously. Private preschools and kindergartens and such can run you $20,000 per year easily. You are often judged as a parent based on your child's preschool. Yes, the preschool. People have every right to do this, of course. I've heard many moms tell me that they dropped their three-year-old off at preschool with the little one crying for mommy not to leave. "But I had to," one mother dramatically said, "It's for his own good!" At three' That particular mother spoke two languages and yet, she evidently found it beyond her reach to think about teaching her own child the alphabet of either language. Or anything else. by Tricia Shore June 5, 2006 [More Results from LewRockwell (CA)]
Preschool for all? California thinks so. Who should decide when your child gets introduced to the institution we call public schooling? What should they be learning? Who will decide? A campaign is going strong for Californians to vote against Proposition 82. The addition to California law is being seen as a gateway for mandatory preschool for children two to five years of age. Right now, it is only slated as a voluntary program for 4 year olds. If you remember, they were trying to do this in California before with 18 month old children. For some reason their governing fathers believe that making children leave their parents and join in with the rest of the world before they know what their homes look like is a good thing. June 3, 2006 [More Results from People Matter]
Is Universal Preschool Beneficial? An Assessment of RAND Corporation's Analysis and Proposals for California Almost two-thirds of California families currently choose to send their 4-year-olds to preschool.Of those who do, almost half choose a preschool program operated by the state of California, while the other half choose a privately operated preschool. If Proposition 82, an initiative on the June ballot, is implemented those figures will radically change. Most family- and other privately owned preschools will vanish, replaced by government-run, taxpayer-funded preschools. This report assesses RAND Corporation's cost benefit analysis and finds that it significantly overestimates the upsides and drastically underestimates the downsides of universal preschool and the California proposal. Using RAND's own data and alternative assumptions based on the studies they reference, it is easy to demonstrate that universal preschool generates losses of 25 to 30 cents for every dollar spent. by Christopher F. Cardiff and Edward Stringham May 30, 2006 [More Results from Reason Foundation [pdf]]
Professors Find Preschool Benefits Grossly Exaggerated Los Angeles (May 30, 2006) " A Rand Corporation study that claims universal preschool will deliver $2.62 in benefits for every dollar spent by California taxpayers has been thoroughly discredited by two San Jose State University economics professors. San Jose State University economics professors show the Rand preschool study "cherry-picked" data, based its claims on "unbelievable assumptions that bias the results," and omitted numerous costs and other factors that significantly lower the alleged benefits of universal preschool. May 30, 2006 [More Results from Reason Foundation]
Announcing New Website: Tykes On Trikes One size does not fit all children. Government needs to stay out of preschools. Help Stop the War on Toddlers! Join the Preschool Boycott scheduled for Election Day, Tuesday, June 6th! You've heard what politicians, teachers, big business and law enforcement have to say about California's Proposition 82: The Preschool For All Act. Now it's time to hear what we, the preschoolers themselves, have to say! by Sandy Vester May 29, 2006 [More Results from Tykes On Trikes]
Vote 'no' on Prop. 82 VOTERS should join scores of businesses, education advocates, preschools, legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in turning down Rob Reiner's Proposition 82 that proposes to tax the rich to provide free preschool for wealthy and middle-class kids. That's right, while proponents say the Universal Preschool for All Act is necessary to give impoverished youngsters access to quality preschool, analysts say middle-class parents will most likely be the main users of the free half-day sessions. Poor children are already afforded preschool through Head Start and other programs. The wealthy, of course, need no subsidies. May 7, 2006 [More Results from Pasadena Star-News]
Preschool plan not for all Gov. Rod Blagojevich's landmark "Preschool for All Children" initiative won't give all children access to free preschool after all, at least in the short run. Although any family could apply, the program approved by the Illinois House and Senate on Thursday gives first priority to children at risk of failing in school, and then to working families that meet income guidelines--restrictions not part of so-called universal preschool programs offered elsewhere. by Diane Rado May 5, 2006 [More Results from Chicago Tribune (IL)]
No on Proposition 82 Preschool initiative amounts to welfare for middle-class parents. Voters in the June 6 primary should vote "no" on Prop. 82 and let parents meet their own obligations without subsidies. Proponents of Proposition 82 want the state to do what parents should: care for their children. The most fiscally dangerous political initiative to emerge from Hollywood director Rob Reiner's rather generous cranium in recent years seeks to pay for the preschool education of every child " even those whose parents can afford it on their own. April 30, 2006 [More Results from Press-Telegram]
The Case Against Universal Preschool in California The Institute for American's Future and the Center for American Progress are calling for $325 billion of added federal education spending over the next decade to create a nationwide, universal preschool program. Although the coalition has not released a specific plan, typical universal preschool proposals call for replacing the private parentdriven preschool system with a taxpayer-funded system that would likely add one or two years of "voluntary" preschool for all children onto the current K-12 public education system. Nationwide, at least 40 states provide funding for preschool programs, and at least 28 considered legislation to expand state-funded preschool programs in 2005. by Lisa Snell April 17, 2006 [More Results from Reason (CA)]
Universal preschool would mean universal disaster for US kids Your March 27 editorial, "Universal preschool, universal benefits," was extraordinarily biased. The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project referred to in the article only focused on 123 disadvantaged African-American kids. The sample group was too small to make generalizations across all preschool populations. The results not only couldn't be duplicated, they came under fire for biased reporting. Using such a flawed report as a basis for a cost-benefit analysis to justify public universal preschool programs is absurd. by Diane Flynn Keith April 5, 2006 [More Results from The Christian Science Monitor]
The Reiner Initiative and Preschool Pressures: An Interview with Diane What might be the problem with preschool? Where can conscientious parents and educators find common ground? Diane Flynn Keith shares her views about California's "First Five" advertisements, Rob Reiner, standardized testing, and much more. "I can tell you, however, that last Fall, at a Preschool Advocacy Day in Sacramento that was sponsored by the non-profit Packard Foundation, I witnessed a presumptuous and cocky Reiner urge the audience to turn out the yes vote on Preschool-For-All in June 2006. Reiner acknowledged that he wasn't supposed to say that (due to IRS regulations restricting non-profits from political and lobbying activities) but told the audience he didn't care and invited the Feds to come and get him." by Diane Flynn Keith March 31, 2006 [More Results from HorseSense and Nonsense]
Disingenuous ploy: Reiner should stop hiding behind 'the kids' Perhaps the most tiresome Stupid Politician Trick of all is when someone under fire declares that the real goal of his critics is to try to hurt the weak and powerless folks he protects. This defense is so common that it's become a cliche: "I'm just trying to help the kids," said Sen. For-Sale Smith as he downplayed the $10 million that mysteriously turned up in his bank account. March 18, 2006 [More Results from The San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]