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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.

Should California pay for preschool? In June, Californians will vote on a proposal to offer three hours a day of free preschool to every 4-year-old in the state by 2010 -- paid for by a new tax on the state's highest-earning residents. Proponents of Proposition 82, also known as the Preschool for All Act, say preschool is a sound investment, citing research showing that children who attend preschool are more likely to avoid repeating a grade, graduate from high school and steer clear of crime. Opponents say a new government-run preschool system is destined to be a costly bureaucratic disaster. by Dana Hull February 12, 2006 [More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Sending babies to government nurseries They're kidding, right' The "Illinois Turnaround Team" of Gidwitz and Rauschenberger can turn around one more time. "The P-16 Plan." The education plan advocates moms pushing their babies onto big yellow buses that tote their little ones off to impersonal government nurseries for mandatory preschool and kindergarten. What a disappointment. by Fran Eaton February 7, 2006 [More Results from Illinois Review]
CALIFORNIA / UC study examines preschool benefits / By third grade, no difference shown among students As proponents of universal preschool in California kicked off their campaign with news of an upbeat poll, a study on the lasting effects of preschool indicates many of its benefits may wear off by the time students reach third grade. The University of California study, parts of which will be released today at a Sacramento conference, focuses on non-English-speaking children who went to preschool. Students who had gone to preschool gained a head start on literacy and language skills that gave them a leg up through third grade, according to the study by UC Santa Barbara professor Russell Rumberger, director of the UC Linguistic Minority Research Institute. by Ilene Lelchuk January 28, 2006 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
Just Whose Children Are They? With the push across the country for universal pre-school and all-day kindergarten, this article by a home school mom and activist is timely. The Minnesota organization, Ready4K, has a clone in every state. It was that time of year when the government rounds up all the preschool age children they can find in order to screen them for school readiness. My friends grandson went through this assembly line process only to be labeled unprepared for kindergarten. The reason? He could not adequately stand on one foot and he did not give the predetermined answer to a question. When shown a ball and asked what it was, the boy replied that it was a sphere with air in it. by Karen Bryant January 16, 2006 [More Results from Ed Action]
Backers: Child care plan could boost business, reduce crime An effort to boost the quality of child care in Wyoming would not only be good for kids, it would be good for business and would reduce crime, supporters told lawmakers Monday. "It's about economic development and work force development as well as child development," said Deanna Frey,director of the Wyoming Children's Action Alliance. A Wyoming Business Council executive as well as the head of the state corrections department were among those who lent their support to the bill at a meeting of the Joint Labor, Health and Social Services interim committee in Casper. by Barbara Nordby January 13, 2006 [More Results from Casper Star-Tribune (WY)]
Vilsack wants preschool for all 4-year-olds DES MOINES -- Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that he will ask the Legislature to guarantee preschool for every child. The proposal, which would cost $15 million in its first year, would make preschool a recurring part of the state budget rather than an optional expense that must be renewed each year. House Speaker Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, said the governor's plan would guarantee preschool by expanding the K-12 school funding formula to include 4-year-olds. by Dan Gearino January 13, 2006 [More Results from Quad-City Times (IA)]
Preschool funding plan on ballot Friends and foes of Rob Reiner's "Preschool for All" initiative got word from the secretary of state's office late Thursday afternoon that the initiative has qualified for the June 2006 ballot. The measure proposes taxing the state's wealthiest residents to provide a year of free preschool to California 4-year-olds. The issue promises to be one of the most heated of the coming election season. by Dana Hull January 13, 2006 [More Results from The Mercury News (CA)]
Taxpayer Groups Demand That Rob Reiner Stop All Taxpayer-Funded First 5 Preschool Ads SACRAMENTO -- Taxpayer groups today demanded that the taxpayer-funded First 5 ads currently airing statewide on radio, TV and in major newspapers be pulled immediately. It is illegal to use taxpayer funds to support political campaigns and ballot initiatives. The $18 million dollar ad campaign airing now and paid for with taxpayer dollars emphasizes the purported benefits of preschool. January 12, 2006 [More Results from PR Newswire (CA)]
The Early Bird Misses the Worm: Evidence on Early Childhood Education The movement for an increased government role in early childhood education is gaining momentum. Early childhood education is the complete system of education for children from birth to school entry. Georgia, Oklahoma, and Florida have already implemented universal public preschool, while such states as California and Arizona may follow closely behind. Is universal pre-K a good investment of taxpayers' money' With the majority of four-year-olds in Texas and the United States already attending preschool, is it necessary for government to take an even larger role' by Jamie Story January 5, 2006 [More Results from Texas Public Policy Foundation [pdf]]
Preschool ads draw fire from critics SACRAMENTO - Two television ads tell Californians that children who go to preschool are more likely to graduate from college. A radio spot describes a 4-year-old named Amy who is helping to improve the economy and fight crime simply by attending preschool To most Californians, the ads may seem little more than public service announcements encouraging parents to send their young children to preschool. But to opponents of actor-director Rob Reiner's pending $2.3 billion universal preschool initiative, the spots feel more like taxpayer-financed political advocacy that primes voters for the June election. They criticize the fact that Reiner chairs the state commission paying for the ads and also leads the initiative campaign that may benefit by its message. by Kevin Yamamura December 23, 2005 [More Results from Contra Costa Times (CA)]
The Secret, Dirty Life of a Non-Preschool Student When advocates of universal preschool imply that a child's success in the world depends on a year of listening and learning at preschool, it's time to set the record straight. I have a confession to make: I never went to preschool. Yes, it's true. While other kids stacked blocks or lay in squishy beanbags, I was in the kitchen picking rocks out of piles of dried black beans with my mom. The worst part is, my secret is no longer safe with me. Now, thanks to the dubious claims of a campaign for universal preschool in California, I will have to admit to the world that while preschoolers were napping on plastic mats and drinking milk out of Dixie cups, I was taking in a half-hour of "Sesame Street" and digging up earthworms after a good rain with my brother. It's horrible, I know. by Daffodil Altan December 21, 2005 [More Results from New America Media]
Puffed up promise of preschool If preschool is a requirement for success, how did so many of us succeed without it? And why are so many students today failing with it? Robert Fulghum's bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten recounts the life lessons we carry from our early years. So it is with learning the ABCs: All Children Really Need to Know They Can Learn in Kindergarten. No preschool required. Nevertheless, kids are skipping off to class earlier and earlier. If the average mother in past generations felt pressure to be home with her children, the average mother today feels pressure to send her toddlers to preschool. by Darcy Olsen December 20, 2005 [More Results from The Arizona Republic [Free Subscription Required]]
Universal preschool trend has critics TROUTDALE - All across the country, governors and legislators from both parties are pouring money into universal preschool programs. In New Mexico, Gov. Bill Richardson is preparing to press for universal preschool in the 2006 legislative session, a move that could cost about $59 million a year, and Illinois has set aside $90 million over the next three years for early-childhood education. In all, spending on pre-K programs is just over $2.5 billion nationwide, according to Pre-K Now, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group. by Julia Silverman December 19, 2005 [More Results from The Seattle Times (WA)]
Rob Reiner's Ads Use Taxpayer Funds Opponents of actor-director Rob Reiner's $2.3 billion universal preschool initiative in California say a series of "public service announcements" are in fact taxpayer-funded ads for the measure. The foes complain that Reiner not only leads the initiative campaign, but also chairs the state commission that is paying for the ads - which carry the message that preschool is good for society at large, the Sacramento Bee reports. "It's a matter of sheer common sense - this is an expenditure of taxpayer dollars promoting preschool," Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, told the Bee. December 19, 2005 [More Results from Newsmax]
Study shows free preschool changes kids' lives forever Experts say universal program is big investment with big returns If California offered free, top-notch preschool to every 4-year-old, the state would see a $2.7 billion return on its $2.4 billion investment, but it's about more than money, according a study released today. by Jill Tucker December 15, 2005 [More Results from Inside Bay Area]
Campaign 2006: 'Meathead' Is at It Again LOS ANGELES -- Celebrities with a social conscience are a growing breed in Hollywood. But it would be nice if they'd stick to whales and landmines and leave our children alone. Unfortunately, California parents have no such luck. Movie director turned child advocate Rob Reiner--best known for playing the role of "Meathead" on "All in the Family"--recently acquired a million signatures to put his Preschool for All initiative on the California ballot next June, his second attempt to launch a "universal" preschool program. The initiative would impose a 1.7% income tax on couples making over $800,000 a year ($400,000 for individuals) to offer three hours of free preschool for all the state's 4-year-olds. by Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell December 11, 2005 [More Results from Opinion Journal - The Wall Street Journal]
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)]
Research Disputes Benefits of Early Education Arizona's move toward more government preschool and kindergarten programs is not unprecedented. In France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, there is nearly universal enrollment of three-and four-year-olds in center-based institutions. A few states across the country have adopted similar systems. Georgia created the first statewide universal preschool program for four-year-olds in 1993, and Oklahoma, New York, and West Virginia have moved in a similar direction. In 2002, Florida voters adopted a constitutional amendment requiring the state to provide free preschool for every four-year-old child. by Darcy Olsen, with research assistance from Jennifer Martin November 24, 2005 [More Results from Eagle Forum]
Reiner Steals From Children Six years after actor-director Rob Reiner won voter approval in 1998 for a 50-cent-a-pack cigarette tax, millions of dollars raised by the measure in LA County have been spent on travel and administration but the universal preschool program it was suppose A recent state audit found the commission had only spent 15 percent of its funds. Since its creation in 1999, the commission has received $820 million in tobacco tax revenues. Similar problems have arisen elsewhere in the state. by Troy Anderson November 16, 2005 [More Results from Smokers Club Inc]
UK Proposes Mandatory Preschool from Birth LONDON, - A proposed law to mandate that all children enter preschool from birth is being debated by UK lawmakers. Introducing the bill, Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said the program would provide "integrated care and education from birth. We want to establish a coherent framework that defines progression for young children from nought to five." by Terry Vanderheyden November 11, 2005 [More Results from LifeSite]
Full-day kindergarten would mean big changes North Syracuse district officials are closely watching a proposal before the state's Board of Regents that would mandate full-day kindergarten in all districts as well as other early childhood education programs. Superintendent Jerome Melvin told school board members on Monday night that the district would need half an elementary school building to accommodate a full-day kindergarten. The proposed policy also would require pre-kindergarten in all districts and services to children from birth to age 2. It also drops the compulsory school age from 6 years old to 5 years old. by Michele Reaves November 10, 2005 [More Results from The Post-Standard (NY)]
Homeschool group uses Berkeley research to encourage parents to keep kids at home A new study on the effects of preschool on children, which finds attendance harms kids' emotional and social development, is being used by a homeschool organization to help encourage parents to educate their children at home. "The report's a bit sobering for governors and mayors " including those in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Oklahoma " who are getting behind universal preschool," Fuller said. Fuller says those elected officials pushing for compulsory preschool should rethink the idea. by Ron Strom November 10, 2005 [More Results from World Net Daily]
Preschool Damages Children's Social Skills and Emotional Development BERKELEY - Preschool has a negative effect on a child's social and emotional development, according to a study of 14,000 US preschool children. The new research from University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, found 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 Terry Vanderheyden November 10, 2005 [More Results from Life Site (CA)]
Mixed response to toddler plans There has been a mixed reaction to the government's idea of a national curriculum for babies and toddlers. Under the Childcare Bill, childminders would teach the curriculum to children "from birth" - with some worrying that it might be too prescriptive. The National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations called the proposals "bizarre". November 9, 2005 [More Results from BBC News (UK)]