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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.

Getting a head start Kerrville Independent School District has introduced Handwriting Without Tears, a program that teaches students top-down and left-to-right formations, capital letters and letter recognition with wooden pieces. Diane Flynn Keith, founder of Universal Preschool, an advocacy group designed to protect parents' rights to determine educational choices for their children, said pre-schoolers learn best when they are permitted to explore and follow their own interests. by Alison Beshur December 21, 2006 [More Results from Universal Preschool]
Gates Beats Bush as Most Influential in Education, Survey Says Billionaire Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., beat out President George W. Bush as the most influential person in U.S. education for the past decade, according to a survey by a nonprofit education publisher. Gates sparked national movements to improve high schools and to create smaller schools through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that he co-chairs with his wife, said Editorial Projects in Education Inc. in a report today. The results are based on an e-mail survey by the publishing group, which produces Education Week. by Emily Sachar December 13, 2006 [More Results from Bloomberg]
4 -year-old Accused of Improperly Touching Teacher BELLMEAD- A four-year-old hugged his teachers aide and was put into in-school suspension, according to the father. But La Vega school administrators have a different story. Damarcus Blackwell's four-year-old son was lining-up to get on the bus after school last month, when he was accused of rubbing his face in the chest of a female employee. by Jennifer Kent December 8, 2006 [More Results from KXXV (TX)]
Parents struggle with daycare Most working parents with preschoolers at home see the morning day-care dropoff as more of a necessity than a choice. In a survey by the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, more than 80 percent of parents said the primary reason for seeking child care is that they have to work. December 8, 2006 [More Results from Financial Express]
Ratings and pilots are advised for state preschool programs A rating system for pre-K programs and pilot preschools in six communities were two recommendations made to the governor Wednesday by a group looking into kindergarten for all 4-year-olds in the state. The Start Strong Council, a group of 25 legislators, business leaders, educators and early childhood advocates, was created by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. One of the themes of his campaign last year was making preschool available to all children in Virginia. by Amy Coutee' December 7, 2006 [More Results from The Virginian-Pilot]
State Panel Seeks Hike In Preschool Spending Connecticut should spend as much as $100 million over the next two years to expand children's services, including preschool classes, to make the state "a national model for early childhood education." The ambitious recommendation is the first stage of a five-year proposal to more than double the number of low-income children in preschool classes, to train more preschool teachers and aides, and to bolster the quality of preschool programs statewide. by Robert A. Frahm December 7, 2006 [More Results from Hartford Courant]
Nickelodeon consolidates preschool teams The U.S. cable channel Nickelodeon is merging creative and management teams for its 'preschool on TV' shows under one flag to be headed by Brown Johnson. Noggin -- the commercial-free educational channel for preschoolers, is merging with Nick Jr., part of the Nickelodeon programming channel that takes over Nickelodeon every weekday morning for the under-5 set. by James Wray and Ulf Stabe December 7, 2006 [More Results from Smallscreen]
Full-day option for all, but where will kids learn? Daniels' proposal would phase in plan over 3 years, but educators say it lacks cash for extra space, resources The plan unveiled by the governor Tuesday to expand full-day kindergarten includes money for more teachers, but educators and lawmakers worry because it includes nothing to build the hundreds of needed classrooms. by Staci Hupp and Mary Beth Schneider December 6, 2006 [More Results from IndyStar]
Denver tots offer lesson for Ohio By approving a massive, citywide pre school initiative, Denver voters have given Ohio leaders a model to watch. Gov.-elect Ted Strickland made improving early childhood programs a major part of his campaign platform, while Cuyahoga County officials recently announced plans to launch a preschool effort next fall. December 2, 2006 [More Results from The Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH)]
Indiana Mental Health Plan moves forward, following in Illinois footsteps A mental health screening plan stating all Indiana children from birth to 22 years "shall" be screened survived the 11-1 vote yesterday. The comprehensive plan was part of a law passed last year to reorganize services the state provides to children. Illinois legislators also passed a bill in 2003 that they did not bother to read, or at least think through, and many admitted that they had no idea what they were signing on to at the time. by Rhonda Robinson October 26, 2006 [More Results from Illinois Review]
Vermont asks, "What is Universal Preschool's Real-World Record?" Evidence from performance on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which is considered the nation's report card, shows no evidence of academic gain from U-Pre-K. What results have these programs garnered for mainstream children? Apart from a lack of academic benefit, a study of the Quebec program by the C.D. Howe Institute showed a detrimental impact on children emotionally. by Rob Roper September 14, 2006 [More Results from Freedom Works]
Preschool Pros and Cons Melanie Bailey of Bossier City, La., has a background in preschool & kindergarten education, so sending her daughters to preschool was not an automatic decision for her. She already knew they would be academically ready, so it was just the social aspect she had to consider. "Up until just recently, I was a stay-at-home mom so my kids never experienced the social factors of a daycare setting," says Bailey. "Academically I wasn't worried about them, [but] I can imagine that kindergarten would be overwhelming for a child that has never attended a preschool program. by Kelly Burgess August 29, 2006 [More Results from Preschoolers Today]
Stressing Over Raising Superkids Today's parents are stressed out about their children's academic success and believe starting early is the key to achievement, according to a new poll. In fact, 54 percent of parents of children aged 2 to 5 said they had anxiety about their child's academic performance and 38 percent felt that their child was in competition with other kids. The new findings come from a telephone poll of about 1,000 parents of children aged 2 to 11 conducted in July 2006 by the National Parent and Teachers Association (PTA) in New York and the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) Parents. by Denise Mann August 12, 2006 [More Results from CBS News]
Baby brains are hard-wired for math LiveScience:  Researchers confirm that infants as early as 6 months in age can detect mathematical errors, putting to rest a debate that has gone on for over a decade. Next time someone complains about arithmetic being hard, math lovers can defend themselves by saying "even a 6-month-old can do it." Through monitoring the brains of infants, researchers confirmed that infants as early as 6 months in age can detect mathematical errors, putting to rest a debate that has gone on for over a decade. by Sara Goudarzi August 9, 2006 [More Results from MSNBC (OR)]
Pre-K program lacks students Only 56 4-year-olds are in the Brooksville summerprogram to get ready for kindergarten. Only 56 students have enrolled so far in the program at Brooksville, Pine Grove and Westside elementary schools, said elementary curriculum specialist Elaine Wooten. While nearly 1,000 other Hernando students took advantage of a similar school-year program offered by private child care providers, she said, the summer turnout has been a disappointment. by Tom Marshall June 28, 2006 [More Results from St. Petersburg Times (FL)]
The Price of Day Care Can Be High There is one place in North America where parents of young children don't have to worry about child care. In Quebec, full-time day care costs just $7 a day, thanks to a government program aimed at one of the thorniest problems that workers in their 20's, Starting in 1997, the Quebec Family Policy subsidized day care for 4-year-olds at government-approved centers around the province. By 2000, the program had expanded to cover any child not old enough for kindergarten, all the way down to infants. This is universal day care, an audacious idea that recognizes the revolution in women's work over the last 30 years. by David Leonhardt June 14, 2006 [More Results from New York Times (Canada)]
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)]
Some preschools are opposed to Prop. 82 It came as a shock to the sponsors of California's two failed school voucher ballot initiatives when their idea was rejected by many of the private schools which could have begun collecting state money under those plans. Similarly, preschools by the dozen have surprised advocates of Proposition 82 this spring, insisting they favor the concept of universal preschool advanced by the current initiative, but don't like what it might force them to do. Their opinions eerily echo those expressed six years ago, when Headmaster Thomas Hudnut of the elite Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles viewed the 2000 Proposition 38, most recent effort by California's voucher advocates. by Thomas Elias June 6, 2006 [More Results from Pasadena Star-News]
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)]
Preschool for all? California thinks so. Who should decide when your child gets introduced to the institution we call public schooling? What should they be learning? Who will decide? A campaign is going strong for Californians to vote against Proposition 82. The addition to California law is being seen as a gateway for mandatory preschool for children two to five years of age. Right now, it is only slated as a voluntary program for 4 year olds. If you remember, they were trying to do this in California before with 18 month old children. For some reason their governing fathers believe that making children leave their parents and join in with the rest of the world before they know what their homes look like is a good thing. June 3, 2006 [More Results from People Matter]
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]