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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.

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)]
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)]
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)]
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)]
Ohio Infant & Toddler Guidelines Unveiled COLUMBUS -- A leadership team of private and public organizations this week unveiled developmental guidelines for Ohio's youngest children, from birth to age three. The "birth announcement" was held at COSI in Columbus and included remarks by Ohio First Lady Hope Taft. Designed to assist parents, providers and policy makers, the Guidelines include the following developmental domains and include best practices in the areas of: health, emotional, social, motor, language/communication and cognitive. by Alicia Leatherman March 12, 2006 [More Results from PR Newswire (CA)]
The Reiner rip-off: Taxpayer-funded push for initiative reeks It's hard to fathom how a Hollywood actor-director-activist with a reputation for caring about children could make the transition to sleazy pol so quickly, but that's just what Rob Reiner has done. His role in orchestrating the use of millions in taxpayer money to push his latest cause is beyond slimy and way past arrogant... There's talk of seeking a state Fair Political Practices Commission investigation of this mess, but that doesn't go far enough. Attorney General Bill Lockyer, come on down. A slap on the wrist is not sufficient. The use of $23 million in public funds for a personal crusade merits a criminal investigation. February 23, 2006 [More Results from The San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
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)]
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)]
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)]
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)]
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]
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)]
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)]
JCCEO Celebrates 40 Years Of Head Start The Head Start program for preschool children is 40 years old this year, and the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity Head Start Program celebrated this milestone at all its centers. Begun in 1965 as a summer program, when the need to help low-income children prepare for kindergarten and first grade became apparent, the program has served thousands of children here in Jefferson County, and more than 22 million children across the nation. by Community News October 27, 2005 [More Results from The Birmingham Times]
Pre-K enrollment lower than expected ORLANDO - Enrollment in Florida's new $387 million prekindergarten program is not meeting expectations, missing projections by tens of thousands of children, state officials said Friday. Gladys Wilson, deputy director of early learning for the state agency that manages the program, told a conference of small-business leaders assembled by the nonprofit Florida TaxWatch that only about 80,000 4-year-olds are enrolled. That's 54 percent of the 147,000 expected to attend. October 15, 2005 [More Results from The Gainesville Sun (FL)]
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]