Universal Preschool News
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's Experiment With Universal Preschool
I'm a considerable fan of early childhood education. Megan McArdle says she's tentatively in favor too, but "I am opposed to blind boosterism of such programs, the kind that confidently predicts marvelous results from thin empirical evidence.
I would like to see us experiment more with these programs. But the key word here is "experiment." Which is to say we should: Try more programs....Take the programs that seem to work and scale them up to a larger group....Rinse and repeat [until we figure out what, if anything, works.] That would be the sane, sensible way to go about constructing policy in an important area.
September 24, 2015
[More Results from motherjones.com]
The Case Against Universal Preschool
Universal prekindergarten sounds like a good thing. Early education for all! Why not? Anything for the kids.
Universal pre-k already exists-or is close to existing-in a number of states, including Oklahoma, Florida, and, most recently, New York. And given the appeal of the idea, it's no wonder "preschool for all" emerged as a key talking point this election season, a year or so after President Barack Obama proposed a $75 billion federal universal pre-k program that involves partnerships with states.
July 15, 2015
[More Results from theatlantic.com]
Organic Baby Food Might Not Be More Nutritious, But I'm Still Buying It
Some experts are saying that organic baby food may not be more nutritious for your little one -- just more expensive. Okay, be that as it may, it can't hurt to buy organic, can it? And why does everyone hate organic food all of a sudden?
I'm certainly not going to argue with a person who holds the title of "Director of Pediatric Nutrition", and I definitely think that feeding children a wide variety of foods from the start isn't just the healthy thing to do, it's the smart thing -- of course we all want kids who are willing to try different things! But when it comes to my baby, I'm sticking to organic, because that's what I think is best for her.
March 20, 2013
[More Results from thestir.cafemom.com]
Why Universal Pre-K Is a Step Backwards
Obama's call for universal preschool access, one of the few concrete proposals in an otherwise bland State of the Union Address, was the culmination of an idea inspired by the success of programs like the Perry Preschool Program.
There has been some research to suggest that children who attend preschool regularly go on to lead more successful lives than those who don't, even when socioeconomic factors are accounted for. In response to the President's State of the Union speech, the WSJ took a look at Oklahoma, one of the first states to roll out state-funded preschools, to see how their program is actually faring.
March 10, 2013
[More Results from blogs.the-american-interest.com]
Head Start or Dead End?
The only "lasting impact" of the Head Start program is on taxpayers' wallets.
Those too-clever-for-words folks over at the Department of Health and Human Services have yet again tried to put one over on us. Using the oldest PR trick in the book, they released information to the media that they hoped no one would notice - on a Friday when people are too busy thinking about and planning their weekends. And because the report is very politically embarrassing, DHHS doubled down and went public on a Friday before a long holiday weekend. So right before Christmas, on Friday, December 21st, we were hit with the results of the third and final phase of the federal government's Head Start study. (Established by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, Head Start is the pet project of the early education crowd, which consists of spendaholic types aided, abetted and financed by the teachers unions, which love nothing more than expanding their roster of dues paying members. And President Obama is complicit member of this unholy alliance.)
January 2, 2013
[More Results from unionwatch.org]
Early kindergarten fails to take off
California's budget crisis may prevent local school districts from fully accommodating students who fall short of new kindergarten-age requirements, according to school administrators in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
Most elementary schools in Tuolumne County, and many in Calaveras County, are not planning to offer separate "transitional kindergarten" programs for students who turn 5 after Nov. 1. Previously, students who turned 5 before Dec. 2 could enter regular kindergarten classes. A state law enacted in 2010 will require schools to provide a modified, "developmentally appropriate" curriculum for students who are now too young for regular kindergarten.
March 28, 2012
[More Results from uniondemocrat.com]
Pre K Scholars Launches New Website
Pre K Scholars has adopted a strategy that focuses on homeschoolers, parents of 3-5 year olds and preschool and kindergarten teachers seeking primary and supplemental classroom materials.
Pre K Scholars began in 2008 with its Teacher Kit, a comprehensive preschool curriculum with supporting instructional materials in a box that initially sold for $800.. Its target was a former teacher turned stay at home mom who would like to teach kindergarten readiness in her home. "We built the website to support that strategy. We offered signup sheets for classes and even allowed teachers to have their own webpages within our website," reflected Schwary.
March 1, 2012
[More Results from timesunion.com]
Study: kindergarten does not help
Enrolling students in kindergarten and other early education programs may have little effect on their future success, according to a new study by economics professor Elizabeth Cascio.
The study analyzed the relative success of students born between 1954 and 1978 in 24 states that began funding universal kindergarten programs after 1960. The sample included students who attended elementary school before and after the implementation of kindergarten programs, according to the study.
March 8, 2010
[More Results from The Dartmouth]
Don't Rush to Get Onboard With Universal Preschool
President Obama has pledged to spend $10 billion more a year on "zero to five" education, and his 2010 budget makes a $2 billion "down payment" on that commitment. (Billions more are already in the "stimulus" package.)
Preschool is educationally effective. On the contrary, while a few tiny, costly programs targeting very poor children have shown some lasting positive effects, the overwhelming majority of studies show that most pre-K programs have little to no educational impact...
May 15, 2009
[More Results from The Washington Post]
Wall Street Bailout: What Else Can $700 Billion Buy?
A while back the New York Times was concerned about the cost of the Iraq War and published some estimates of what else we could have bought with that money.
We didn't find that very interesting at the time, but now, while trying to wrap our minds around just how effing huge the $700 billion proposed bailout of Wall Street really is. For $35 Billion you can get universal preschool. Half-days for 3-year-olds and full days for 4-year-olds.
September 24, 2008
[More Results from The Consumerist]
Who should prepare kids for kindergarten?
Georgia already offers universal pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds and there has been talk about expanding the program to 3-year-olds.
Some argue the state shouldn't teach more children until it can provide quality education to its k-12 students. They question why the state should get involved when part of the problem comes from poor parenting.
March 31, 2008
[More Results from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Tangle of Funds Perplexes Preschool Providers
Funding for California preschool programs is dizzyingly complex, with money flowing from numerous state grants, each with their own restrictions, requirements and a mountain of paperwork.
Preschool providers find it logistically difficult to weave different funds together, a recognized way to create income-integrated preschools like Poway Unified's, which delivers services to kids across the economic spectrum.
March 28, 2008
[More Results from Voice of San Diego (CA)]
Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills
On October 3, 1955, the Mickey Mouse Club debuted on television. As we all now know, the show quickly became a cultural icon, one of those phenomena that helped define an era.
What is less remembered but equally, if not more, important, is that another transformative cultural event happened that day: The Mattel toy company began advertising a gun called the "Thunder Burp."
February 24, 2008
[More Results from The Angry Gnome]
Kaine Trims Pre-K Proposal
RICHMOND -- Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday scrapped his campaign promise to provide universal access to pre-kindergarten.
Announcing that he will instead push to more than double the number of underprivileged 4-year-olds eligible for early education at the state's expense. In his 2005 bid for governor, Kaine promised to pay for preschool without regard to a parent's income.
August 17, 2007
[More Results from The Washington Post (VA)]
As States Tackle Poverty, Preschool Gets High Marks
It took a well-orchestrated campaign to put pre-K on the top of political agendas -- and new tactics that didn't rely on do-gooder rhetoric.
"The current full-scale Head Start program is having a disappointing impact on kids," says Douglas Besharov of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "Pre-K is an important part of the tool chest for reducing the achievement gap...but will the return on investment be as great as people say? I don't think so."
August 9, 2007
[More Results from The Wall Street Journal]
The Evidence Shows 'Success' Fades
WASHINGTON -- The senator who wrote "It Takes a Village" apparently believes it takes the federal government to decide how American families prepare their 4-year-olds for kindergarten.
Evaluations of early education interventions have shown that while participating students may yield gains in the short-run, these benefits typically disappear over time. Other academic studies, such as a 2005 study published by Stanford and University of California researchers, have reported that students who attend preschool may be more likely to exhibit negative social behaviors.
June 24, 2007
[More Results from The Free Lance-Star (VA)]
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.
June 13, 2007
[More Results from San Francisco Chronicle (CA)]
When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?
According to the apple-or-coin test, used in the Middle Ages, children should start school when they are mature enough for the delayed gratification and abstract reasoning involved in choosing money over fruit.
In 15th- and 16th-century Germany, parents were told to send their children to school when the children started to act "rational." And in contemporary America, children are deemed eligible to enter kindergarten according to an arbitrary date on the calendar known as the birthday cutoff...
June 3, 2007
[More Results from The New York Times]
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.
May 19, 2007
[More Results from The Union Tribune (CA)]
Lawmakers quietly considering universal preschool
After California's voters last June defeated a $2.3 billion universal preschool initiative, Proposition 82, the issue of early education seemed dead. But reports of its demise have proved premature.
The debate over how much to spend on pre-K and for which kids is now in the hands of the state politicians, and the issue will resurface this week when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger releases his revised 2008 budget.
May 7, 2007
[More Results from San Jose Mercury News (CA)]
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]
Poor Behavior Is Linked to Time in Day Care
A report from the largest study of American child care finds that keeping a preschooler in a day care for a year or more increased the likelihood that the child would become disruptive in class - the effect persisted through sixth-grade.
Every year spent in day care centers for at least 10 hours per week was associated with a 1 percent higher score on a standardized assessment of problem behaviors completed by teachers, said Dr. Margaret Burchinal, a co-author of the study and a psychologist at the University of North Carolina.
March 26, 2007
[More Results from The New York Times]
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.
December 7, 2006
[More Results from The Virginian-Pilot]
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)]