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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 children be children | Is your 5-year-old stressed out because so much is expected? We've just finished test time again in the schools of California. The mad frenzy of testing infects everyone from second grade through high school. For 30 years as a teacher of primary kids, I have operated on the Any Fool Can See principle. And any fool can see that the spread between what is developmentally appropriate for 7- and 8-year-old children and what is demanded of them on these tests is widening. A lot of what used to be in the first-grade curriculum is now taught in kindergarten. Is your 5-year-old stressed out? Perhaps this is why. by Penelope H. Bevan June 13, 2007 [More Results from San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
Plug of war Conversations on the ins and outs of pacifiers can get contentious The pacifier. Despite its name, the small plastic plug seems to rile up controversy rather than calm it. Aside from breast-feeding and circumcision, few other topics can get parents, grandparents, pediatricians and child experts so stirred up that a timeout may be in order. by Jennifer Davies May 19, 2007 [More Results from The Union Tribune (CA)]
Preschool and Daycare can mean Behavior Problems in Elementary School The studied tracked 1,364 children from birth as part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development and is the largest and longest running study to understand the effects of child care. The children were measured for academic achievement, cognitive abilities from kindergarten through 5th grade. They studied the social development from kindergarten through 6th grade. March 26, 2007 [More Results from Best Syndication]
Study Says Preschool Child Care Affects Vocabulary, Behavior Later Children who got quality child care before entering kindergarten had better vocabulary scores in the fifth grade than did youngsters who received lower-quality care. Also, the more time that children spent in child care, the more likely their sixth-grade teachers were to report problem behavior. The findings come from the largest study of child care and development conducted in the United States. March 26, 2007 [More Results from The Washington Post]
Hispanic Children Gain an Academic Edge When Their Education Starts Early The National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics released a national report, Para Nuestros Ninos: Expanding and Improving Early Education for Hispanics. The Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics, along with the California Community Foundation and Los Angeles Universal Preschool, will address educators and community leaders at a briefing this morning to reveal key findings and recommendations. by Marketwire March 19, 2007 [More Results from Sys-Con Media]
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)]
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)]
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]
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)]
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)]
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]
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)]
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)]
Day Scare Will child care stunt your kid's social skills? Three studies find downsides... As if overcrowded classrooms and school budget cuts weren't enough, parents who opened up Tuesday's New York Times found something else to worry about: the findings from three new studies about child care that call into question some of its supposed benefits. Parents who thought their children were acquiring valuable social skills at day care discovered that two of the studies, which focused on cognitive and social development in kindergartners and third-graders, found that while kids who spent long hours in child care developed strong reading and math skills, they tended to have poorer social skills than children who stayed at home with a parent. by Priya Jain November 2, 2005 [More Results from Salon]
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)]
NHSA: Funds for 35,000 Head Start At-Risk Children Slots Would Vanish Under 2% Across-the-Board Federal Spending Cut WASHINGTON -- Despite being one of the most successful programs in the federal government, Head Start, which gets America's poorest children ready to learn in kindergarten and beyond, would be decimated by funding cuts. NHSA calculates that the effects of a 2 percent cut would result in the equivalent of closing enrollment to at least 35,000 currently served children. Although House leaders did not have the votes to push through a broad-based spending cut last week, they have vowed to press ahead with the plan. October 27, 2005 [More Results from PR Newswire Association]
Program Benefits Homeschool Families with Kindergarten, Preschool Lesson Plans EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA -- Kindergarten and preschool lesson plans are now available to homeschoolers and parents who want to help their children with early reading skills. The program focuses on reading and writing skills. The lesson plans also inspire creativity and draw from a wide variety of subject areas from the traditional preschool and kindergarten curriculum. by David M. Bresnahan October 10, 2005 [More Results from American Chronicle]
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]