Universal Preschool Commentary
We've assembled provocative opinion and commentary on the value, or lack thereof, of universal preschool and the importance of parental involvement in early childhood development. Whether you agree or not, we hope this section will at least make you scratch your head and say, "hmmmmm..."
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]
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. June 14, 2006 [More Results from New York Times (Canada)]
Props. 82, 81 rejected CALIFORNIA VOTERS soundly rejected an effort to create universal preschools throughout the state. In defeating Proposition 82, Californians wisely ended a two-year effort by actor Rob Reiner and other backers of creating state-operated preschools with revenue solely from high-income taxpayers. Evidently voters realized that Prop. 82 was unfair taxation of a mobile sector of the population and that the measure was a highly inefficient way to provide preschools for children who were not already attending classes. Proposition 81, the statewide library bond measure, also went down to defeat even though Democrats, who usually favor such issues, came out in larger numbers than Republicans. June 6, 2006 [More Results from Contra Costa Times (CA)]
The Secret, Dirty Life of a Non-Preschool Student When advocates of universal preschool imply that a child's success in the world depends on a year of listening and learning at preschool, it's time to set the record straight. I have a confession to make: I never went to preschool. Yes, it's true. While other kids stacked blocks or lay in squishy beanbags, I was in the kitchen picking rocks out of piles of dried black beans with my mom. The worst part is, my secret is no longer safe with me. Now, thanks to the dubious claims of a campaign for universal preschool in California, I will have to admit to the world that while preschoolers were napping on plastic mats and drinking milk out of Dixie cups, I was taking in a half-hour of "Sesame Street" and digging up earthworms after a good rain with my brother. It's horrible, I know. December 21, 2005 [More Results from New America Media]
Parents matter more than preschool Thanks for printing teacher Matt Baxter's insightful letter (March 10). It's unbelievable the way that universal preschool is being pushed. Studies have repeatedly shown the most important factor in a child's success is the presence of the mother and father in a loving and committed relationship to each other and the children above all else. March 12, 2005 [More Results from San Jose Mercury News]
Popping Pills in Preschool No one flinched when a child psychiatrist told a conference of parents and counselors that she had prescribed antidepressants to children as young as 3-1/2. Audience members at the San Diego conference, after all, were quite familiar with the concept of preschoolers on Prozac. Many of the parents in the audience have children who suffer from a debilitating form of shyness called selective mutism, one of a handful of mental disorders thought to strike children younger than 6. February 5, 2005 [More Results from Wired News]