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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.

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)]
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)]
Mandatory, universal preschool? The "education" lobby works tirelessly to create more jobs for its constituents. Currently that lobby, embodied in the teachers' unions, is making common cause with rich socialists like actor-producer Rob Reiner to establish "universal preschool." The state, through a tobacco tax-funded propaganda mill known as First Five California, is happily on board, buying TV advertising that trumpets the benefits of getting kids out of homes and into institutions sooner than the law currently requires.

Of course, this is all for the benefit of the children. The First Five ads, some of which feature a rich, successful white executive, declare that kids learn quicker, are better adjusted socially and less likely to become drug addicts and/or criminals if they get into institutional settings by age four.
by Michael Ackley December 13, 2004 [More Results from World Net Daily]
Study: Children don't exercise nearly enough at preschool Children are supposed to play, run, jump and be active for at least two hours a day, but most aren't doing even half that much at preschool, says one of the first large studies to examine physical activity in children ages 3 to 5. This low activity level could be contributing to the increasing problem of excess weight in kids, says researcher Russ Pate, a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. About 10% of children ages 2 to 5 are overweight; another 12% are at risk of becoming so, the latest government statistics show. More than half of 3- to 5-year-olds go to preschool. Children need more vigorous play during unstructured free time at preschool, Pate says, and they also need more organized physical activities, like dancing the hokey-pokey. by Nanci Hellmich November 1, 2004 [More Results from USA TODAY]
Imitating Mom May Build a Better Conscience Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it may also be a powerful conscience builder for toddlers, according to a new study. Researchers found that differences in how toddlers imitate their mothers can be related to how developed their conscience is as preschoolers. The study showed that toddlers who enthusiastically imitate their mothers tend to develop a sense of right and wrong sooner than those who don’t. by Jennifer Warner October 30, 2004 [More Results from FOX News]
Compulsory Mental Health Screening is Coming for Adults and Children Preschool and Up... There is a new major U.S. mental health initiative on the docket, based on a report of the New Freedom in Mental Health Commission, which recommends mental health screening for adults and children as young as preschool age. It also includes expanding school-based mental health programs requiring specific treatments for specific conditions, including the use of specific medications. Despite a growing public opposition to universal mental health screening, states are being encouraged by the federal government to adopt the measure. by Sharon Hughes August 24, 2004 [More Results from Mich News]
The False Promise of Universal Pre-school Universal, free pre-school for all four-year-olds. Sounds great, especially if you're a working parent shelling out thousands of dollars a year for private pre-school and child care. Let the state pay for it! But most middle-class children don't need pre-school to reach their full potential. Poor children need a lot more -- high-quality, high-cost, full-day child care starting well before the age of four. by Joanne Jacobs April 15, 2004 [More Results from TCS: Tech Central Station]
Quotes and References from Early Childhood Testimony Head Start - "Once the children enter school there is little difference between the scores of Head Start and control children. . . Findings for the individual cognitive measures--intelligence, readiness and achievement--reflect the same trends as the global measure. . . By the end of the second year there are no educationally meaningful differences on any of the measures." by Karen R. Effrem, MD October 20, 2003 [More Results from Ed Watch]
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]
Drumbeat Grows for Universal Preschool OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - The "Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Act," still in committee in the Oklahoma State Senate at this writing, could be brought before the full Senate and House some time this year. This bill is based on the Governor's Task Force on Early Childhood Education/Care report of December 2000, which pro-family activists characterize as "nothing less than a blueprint for a state-run child care, health care and education system for Oklahoma children from the womb through age five." April 24, 2002 [More Results from Ed Watch]
Trading Sippy-Cups for School Desks At the American Federation of Teachers' biennial conference this summer, AFT President Sandra Feldman called for a "national commitment" to schooling all 3- and 4-year-olds. At least Feldman was magnanimous enough to suggest that preschool remain voluntary. District of Columbia Councilman Kevin Chavous, on the other hand, sees no problem with forcibly taking young children from their parents. His ominously titled "Compulsory School Attendance Amendment Act" would make school, well, compulsory, for every preschool-aged child in the nation's capital. by Darcy Olsen August 14, 2001 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Much Too Early! Realistic developmental needs in early childhood education and preschool, discussed by Professor of Child Development, Dr. David Elkind. In one sentence, Froebel, father of the kindergarten, expressed the essence of early-childhood education. Children are not born knowing the difference between red and green, sweet and sour, rough and smooth, cold and hot, or any number of physical sensations. The natural world is the infant's and young child's first curriculum, and it can only be learned by direct interaction with things. by David Elkind, Ph.D. February 5, 2001 [More Results from Best Homeschooling.org]
Don't Cry for Me, Head Start It's been 33 years since the Head Start program was founded in hopes that it would end what President Johnson described as the "pattern of poverty." Perhaps, its founders reasoned, federally subsidized early intervention could help all children enter school on an equal footing and thereby give disadvantaged children opportunities formerly reserved to the middle and upper classes. Unfortunately, the experiment has fallen short of fulfilling that hope. by Darcy Olsen and Eric Olsen August 15, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Benefits of Preschool Don't Last - Education and Child Policy In the Roald Dahl tale Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a golden ticket transforms a poor boy's life into one of opportunity and hope, precisely what Al Gore says "universal preschool" can do for all disadvantaged children. Universal preschool" is the education establishment's catchphrase for expanding the public school system to include all 3- and 4-year-olds, and Gore is making it a centerpiece of his presidential run. "If you elect me president, I will make high-quality preschool available to every child," he announced earlier this month in Denver. by Darcy Olsen August 10, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Preschool in the Nanny State - Education and Child Policy Make No Mistake: The push for universal preschool is on. Already the state of Georgia offers free preschool to every 4-year-old, and New York is phasing in a statewide system. Legislators in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are itching to follow suit. If Al Gore is elected president in 2000, this state-by-state expansion could be preempted by a federal mandate. As the vice president recently told a Denver audience, "If you elect me president, I will make high-quality preschool available to every child." by Darcy Olsen August 9, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]
Universal Preschool Is No Golden Ticket: Why Government Should Not Enter the Preschool Business Across the country legislators are deciding whether to require public school districts to provide no-fee prekindergarten classes for all three- and four-year-olds. Experience provides little reason to believe universal preschool would significantly benefit children, regardless of family income. For nearly 40 years, local, state, and federal governments and diverse private sources have funded early intervention programs for low-income children, and benefits to the children have been few and fleeting. by Darcy Ann Olsen February 9, 1999 [More Results from CATO Institute]