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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 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)]
Parenting, parenthood and child care resources Public School Reform Efforts Push Pre-K to Step Up the Pace Preschool isn't what it used to be. Joining the picture books, puppets, crayons and dollhouses in a pre-kindergarten classroom these days are carefully planned strategies to teach kids reading, math and even science skills. by Judy Molland July 12, 2005 [More Results from]
Hispanic Directors Association Releases Report Critical of New Jersey Department of Education - Cites Flaws in Abbott Preschool Programs The Hispanic Directors Association today released an eight-page report critical of the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and its handling of the mandatory preschool program in the state s poorest districts. "Dubious Commitment: Preschool Education in New Jersey and the Failure of State Government" was given out at the La Casa de Don Pedro Early Childhood Center in Newark. "We are issuing this report at this time because we are aware of the changing of the guard at the education department with the departures of Commissioner William Librera and Early Childhood Specialist Ellen Frede," said Daniel Santo Pietro, executive director of HDANJ. June 25, 2005 [More Results from Arrive Net]
Three-year-olds 'face criminal risk test' Children as young as three should be targeted as potential criminals, according to a leaked government report. The Home Office study suggested nursery staff should be trained to spot tots at risk of becoming criminals when they grow up. The publication said that infants not "under control" by the age of three were four times more likely to be convicted of a criminal offence once they reached maturity, according to a report in the Sunday Times. The 250-page report by the Home Office strategy unit, entitled Crime Reduction Review, was drawn up to identify the most effective ways of cutting crime by 2008. by Helene Mulholland June 13, 2005 [More Results from Guardian Unlimited (UK)]
Scary Preschool Utopia Did you know, the earnest lady asked, that one-quarter of even the affluent children in this country start kindergarten without full knowledge of the alphabet? She clearly found this information a shocker, evidence that this nation needs universal pre-kindergarten, right away. This was, after all, Libby Doggett, the executive director of Pre-K Now, speaking at a seminar for reporters this spring in Denver. by Karin Klein June 7, 2005 [More Results from Los Angeles Times (CA)]
Pre-K plan may have a big flaw Use of religious schools for programs could be a violation of the state constitution. As they crafted Florida's free prekindergarten program last year, lawmakers were largely silent on one potential hang-up: Their plan may be unconstitutional. The problem is that Florida lawmakers, rather than relying on public schools as other states have done, opted to offer public money for 4-year-olds to attend religious schools. by Joe Follick June 7, 2005 [More Results from Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)]
County readies for free preschool Universal preschool " or free and voluntary preschool for all " is creating a huge buzz in California, with the prospect looming of a June 2006 ballot initiative led by Rob Reiner to fund such as proposal. First 5 Commission leads effort to create countywide program. Contra Costa County had been mulling the idea for free preschool for more than a year now. But on Thursday, about 75 representatives of early childhood education, private preschools, K-12 school districts, the parent community and nonprofit organizations met to begin the planning process. by Rebecca F. Johnson, June 3, 2005 [More Results from Inside Bay Area - Tri-Valley Herald (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]]
Unruly tots torment preschools Inexperienced teachers' difficulties with unruly students prompt state-financed preschools to expel about 5,000 students a year, a rate more than three times higher than that of most K-12 public schools. The findings, released Monday, put the first solid numbers on what observers say is a worsening behavior problem among very young students. The findings also suggest that while the national debate over pre-kindergarten focuses on how to get more low-income kids into the programs, "there appears to be a back door through which some children - the ones who stand the most to gain from these programs - are sometimes pushed," says Walter Gilliam of Yale's Child Study Center and the author of the report. "These 3- and 4-year olds are barely out of diapers." by Greg Toppo May 19, 2005 [More Results from AZ Central (AZ)]
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]
Labor of love lost Rosie the goat loves to snuggle. But the kids who used to visit the brown goat and the other friendly animals at Barnyard Friends aren't coming back. After a Samsula petting farm closed amid a bacterial scare, its owner struggles to cope. For some youngsters, Barnyard Friends was the first place they held a chick, milked a goat and rode a horse. The attraction was born years ago, when Sanders used to take a couple of goats and a pot-bellied pig for show-and-tell day at the preschool her children attended. by Kevin P. Connolly April 25, 2005 [More Results from Orlando Sentinel]
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)]
Reiner proposes taxing the wealthy to pay for preschool program Director and Hollywood activist Rob Reiner proposed a ballot initiative to provide universal preschool in California for 4-year-olds in what could be a prelude to a run for governor. Reiner and a coalition of supporters announced the filing in coming days of an initiative that would impose a 1.7 percent tax on the state's upper 1 percent of wage earners to pay for the estimated $2.3 billion annual costs of the program. Reiner called his proposed constitutional amendment an "historic piece of legislation that will not only provide quality preschool experience for all 4-year-olds..." by Jim Wasserman April 24, 2005 [More Results from San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
Editorial: Ride the preschool wave Education fads often turn into regrets. Open classrooms' Too noisy. Rejecting phonics as a tool for teaching reading? A disaster that caused California reading scores to plummet. Now comes the movement to promote high-quality public preschools, which is taking on some faddish signs. In Florida, preschool advocates are stunned by their success selling Lance Armstrong-like orange wristbands — $21 for a pack of 10, with the profits dedicated to raising the quality of Florida's new preschool program. April 24, 2005 [More Results from USA Today (FL)]
5-Year-Old Handcuffed By Florida Police On Camera Girl Was Allegedly Misbehaving A 5-year-old girl was handcuffed by police after she tore papers off a bulletin board and punched an assistant principal in kindergarten class, according to a video released by a lawyer for the child's mother. April 23, 2005 [More Results from NBC10]
Classic toys never grow old with kids At a time when many 3-year-olds can operate a DVD player to watch their favorite movies, it's nice to know classic toys still have a place in their lives. Fisher-Price Toys Inc. is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and although the company has kept in touch with the times with hot licensed products and electronic gizmos, it's the classics that have captured the imaginations of generations of kids. Company lore has it that in 1934, Herman Fisher's mother, who was a teacher, coined the term "preschool" toys and a new toy segment was born. by Denise I. O'Neal April 22, 2005 [More Results from Chicago Sun-Times (IL)]
Preschool helps kids improve their German Clap your hands and stomp your feet. Turn around. Touch the ground. Now, do it in German. Too kompliziert (complicated)? It's a breeze for kids in KinderZoo. The German-based preschool is similar to any other, except that students and/or their parents are native German speakers. Kids sing, dance, play, tell stories and do art projects while speaking German. by Amanda Daniels April 21, 2005 [More Results from San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)]
Action Alert - CA: AB 172 - Universal AB 172 Hearing - April 20, 2005. Your mission should you decide to accept it; is to call, write and/or fax the legislators listed below in opposition to AB 172. Be sure to write your own Assembly member as well. After you have contacted your legislator and the Education Committee members, please forward this alert to any family members or friends, who may have an interest in preschool legislation. by Annette M. Hall April 16, 2005 [More Results from Universal]
Archbishop accuses Britain's parents of child 'abuse' - Britain - Times Online Britain is a society of infantilised adults who are abusing their own children by default, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said today. He condemned the "malign" obsession with testing in schools and issued a clarion call for the British people to grow up. "When adults stop being infants, children can be children," he told an audience of headmasters, church and mosque leaders, community workers and academics in east London. by Ruth Gledhill April 11, 2005 [More Results from Times Online (UK)]
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]
Legislative Update: Universal preschool/education again loom large Education again looms large in this year's legislative session. And while parents, school officials, teachers and, yes, even legislators, should be concerned with education... California ranks 48th in the nation for education excellence-the reality is that every year legislators introduce hundreds of new bills affecting schools that micromanage education by dictating how and what teachers can teach in their classrooms, what policies school boards must adopt and other Sacramento-driven mandates.

AB 171 Comprehensive pupil learning support system (Yee, D-San Francisco) AB 172 Universal preschool (Chan, Oakland)
by Karen Holgate April 5, 2005 [More Results from Christian Examiner]
Public preschool a smart investment, study says The study, conducted by the RAND Corporation, builds on research in Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee that has followed preschool students over time, comparing their lives with those of similar children. The financial analysis assumes a voluntary, part-day program that would pay to place 4-year-olds in existing private preschools as well as new programs run by school districts, said Lynn Karoly, the study's lead researcher. by Sara Steffens March 30, 2005 [More Results from Contra Costa Times]
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]
Out of play Florida schoolkids can name the presidents, speak foreign languages and studiously practice the FCAT. But they don't know what recess is. For 25 minutes every Friday, the first-graders get to play. They don't run laps or do pushups, practicing for some president's fitness test. They don't get pushed into whole-class kickball, where someone always gets stuck on the team with slow Stanley. They don't do anything where their teacher referees or anyone tells them what to do or with whom. by Lane DeGregory March 29, 2005 [More Results from St. Petersburg Times]