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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 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)]
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)]
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]
Preschool for All plan put into action California Gathered last week in front of a blue banner with big letters reading "Preschool for All," actor-turned-preschool advocate Rob Reiner and a bevy of San Francisco bigwigs kicked off the enrollment season for the city's new preschool program. The goal is for all 4-year-olds in the city to have the opportunity to attend a free, high-quality preschool within five years, regardless of their families' income levels. The launch involves $3.3 million in city funds supporting 1,000 children at 22 preschool programs clustered in Visitacion Valley, the Excelsior, the Mission and Bayview.

Reiner -- joined by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, District Attorney Kamala Harris and Board of Education members Jill Wynns and Norman Yee -- said investing in early-childhood education will have a tremendous ripple effect in the future, with lower crime rates and an improved economy.
by Heather Knight July 15, 2005 [More Results from The San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
Maybe Preschool Is the Problem IF six out of every 1,000 preschool children are asked to pack up their Goldfish crackers and never return to nursery school - expelled at the tender age of 4 - whose fault is that? But maybe, some education experts say, the problems stem from preschool itself. A new study released last week by the Yale Child Study Center found that preschool children are three times as likely to be expelled as children in primary school, and that roughly 5,000 preschool children are turned out each year. by Jennifer Steinhauer May 22, 2005 [More Results from The New York Times [Requires free subscription]]
Research Finds a High Rate of Expulsions in Preschool So what if typical 3-year-olds are just out of diapers, still take a daily nap and can't tie their shoes? They are old enough to be expelled, the first national study of expulsion rates in pre-k programs has found. In fact, preschool children are three times as likely to be expelled as children in kindergarten through 12th grade, according to the new study, by researchers from the Yale Child Study Center. Although preschool expulsion rates varied widely by state and type of setting, the study found that on average, boys were expelled at 4.5 times the rate of girls, African-Americans at twice the rate of Latinos and Caucasians, and 4-year-olds at 1.5 times the rate of 3-year-olds. by Tamar Lewin May 17, 2005 [More Results from The New York Times]
Opinion: Teaching is the answer Learning to read is the key, not universal preschool - Universal preschools are not a solution to our education problems. If it were, universal kindergarten would have solved the problem long ago. In California, approximately 65 percent of young children go to preschool. Yet, nowhere in the literacy performance of our children does that number appear in results. The U.S Department of Education has put its finger on the problem in a backward sort of way. In two official booklets about what your child should be learning in preschool and in primary grades, they do not mention that teachers should be teaching children how to read. Just stuff like reading to children, rhyming and alliteration. Nowhere is it suggested that teachers should actually teach children how to read. They imply that if you do those things, kids will catch on and learn. Life just doesn't work that way. by Murray T. Bass April 24, 2005 [More Results from The Reporter - Forum]
Op-Ed Not the time for universal preschool ballot measure The free preschool program would be voluntary, but 70 percent of the state's 500,000 eligible 4-year-olds would be expected to enroll. Why wouldn't they? It's free. Reiner's proposal raises a lot of questions. Do we want to transform today's network of independent operators into a statewide operation' Do we want a formally institutionalized preschool system with uniform standards and a bureaucracy' How big would it be' Given how strapped California is for money, including education dollars, do we want to fund preschool for wealthy and middle-class children or start by targeting needy children for financial aid' April 24, 2005 [More Results from The Oakland Tribune (CA)]
Little scholars, big business As more parents seek to give kids an edge, learning centers thrive Rather than play outside on the mild afternoon, a half-dozen boys and girls hone verbal skills and hurtle through math drills inside a nondescript Newton storefront. Across the room, students sweat over synonyms and earn high fives after completing each unit. Struggling students in need of remedial help' No. They're normal elementary-school pupils who came to the local Score! learning center for an hour of "personal academic training" while their mothers ran errands. by Mary C. Lord April 10, 2005 [More Results from The Boston Globe]
Study pushes preschool for all Report: payoff to state would be twice $1 billion investment About 35 percent of California's children don't go to preschool at all. Giving those kids access to the early learning, socialization and development that happen in preschool will cut down on costly school dropouts, special education, remedial work and juvenile crime, the Rand study states. by Jennifer Larson March 30, 2005 [More Results from The Desert Sun]
Public schools follow the market, pitch all-day kindergarten | It's a working parent's dream - kindergartens competing to take your children off your hands all day, and the promise that they'll learn something, too. Competition for students has always existed between public and private schools. But open enrollment, home schooling, and a growing number of charter schools have widened parents' choices, and now public schools are facing one of their biggest competitors yet - themselves. by Tim Vanderpool March 9, 2005 [More Results from The Christian Science Monitor]
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)]