Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why we should reject universal preschool

There has been recent talk of universal preschool in the story below. Just below the Chicago Tribune story is an excerpt from and a link to No Universal Preschool.

Doubts cast on preschool proposal
By Diane Rado and Rick Pearson
Chicago Tribune

Under attack from political opponents, Gov. Rod Blagojevich acknowledged Sunday that it won't be easy to push through his proposal to create the most expansive state preschool program in the nation.

Nevertheless, "we will roll up our sleeves and we will fight," Blagojevich said in announcing his "Preschool for All" initiative, which would offer state-paid pre-kindergarten to all 3- and 4-year-olds, regardless of family income.

If approved by lawmakers, Illinois would be the first state in the nation to offer so-called universal preschool to 3-year-olds and the fourth state to offer such access to 4-year-olds.

The program--a minimum 2 1/2-hour school day--would not be mandatory, and many families would likely stay in private preschools. Blagojevich's plan would cost an extra $135 million in the initial three years, with the price tag in outlying years still uncertain. In addition, the governor wants to finance the plan in part with money from state accounts reserved for special purposes, a practice that has spurred legal challenges.

After details of the plan first appeared in the Tribune over the weekend--just weeks before the March primary--Democratic and Republican candidates alike blasted Blagojevich.

"Unfortunately for the children of Illinois, in this election season the governor will use them as props for all sorts of promises," Edwin Eisendrath, Blagojevich's challenger in the March 21 Democratic primary, said in a statement.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Gidwitz, a former Illinois State Board of Education chairman, called the governor's announcement "another headline-grabbing stunt."

And Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, another Republican candidate for governor, said Blagojevich keeps "coming up with all these big, expensive, huge `warm-fuzzies,' usually involving children, and not really coming up with ways to pay for them."

For the rest of the story go to Doubts cast on preschool proposal

No Universal Preschool

Preschool-For-All is a prescription for stress, not success, and will literally make kids sick. The National Institute of Child Health and Development found that children who attend structured, curriculum-oriented, non-parental involved preschools have higher cortisol (stress hormone) levels caused by too early separation from their parents and too early academics. The Preschool-For-All Act dovetails with CA Assembly Bill 1246 that implements "preschool learning standards" in line with public school curriculum standards that include Math, English Language Arts, History, Science, and Social Sciences. Accountability will be required in the form of testing. This kind of academic stress takes a physical toll on young children reducing tolerance to viral and bacterial infections that result in chronic childhood illnesses.

Children enrolled in preschool have higher incidences of obesity. Physical activity is restrained in typical preschool classrooms. Fine motor development is impaired, contributing to learning disabilities. Active play such as running, jumping, climbing, and gross motor movement is discouraged. Kids get flabby and fat with lifelong health consequences.

Children who attend preschool exhibit problem behaviors, and are being expelled! The National Institute of Child Health and Development found that children who attend non-parental, structured, curriculum-oriented preschools have poorer work habits, lower grades and test scores, inferior peer relationships, substandard emotional health, aggression, and they are disobedient. In fact, children are being expelled from preschools at an alarming rate!

There is no such thing as "quality" public preschool. In fact, so-called "quality" state-run preschools can harm little kids. The artificial environment of a classroom, the supervision by transient, impassive strangers (certified teachers and aids), and indoctrination with standardized curriculum has been shown to be harmful to the intellectual, social, emotional, psychological and physical development of young children by researchers and educational psychologists including David Elkind, Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, Mary Eberstadt, and Jane Healy. These kinds of preschool environments are of a very poor quality. Current research studies show that young children learn best through interest-initiated learning, lots of imaginative play, and the opportunity to explore their environment in a natural rhythm and routine such as takes place at home, under the guidance of parents and attentive, loving adults.

For the rest of the story go to No Universal Preschool /

You may want to send the above story to Governor Blagojevich and tell him no universal pre-school.

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