A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
'Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.' - Groucho Marx

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  1. #1

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    James Madison

    Default Universal Pre-School

    Thought I would try something new.

    I am seeing a lot more discussion about Standard PreSchool being made available in the US these days. As someone married to a Head Start Teacher, you can probably guess my inclinations. Interested in knowing if anyone else has any thought on this.

    Here is an interesting article on the success of Great Britain's Preschool program that might be helpful: Brits United in Support of Universal, Free Preschool - The Atlantic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    Thought I would try something new.

    I am seeing a lot more discussion about Standard PreSchool being made available in the US these days. As someone married to a Head Start Teacher, you can probably guess my inclinations. Interested in knowing if anyone else has any thought on this.

    Here is an interesting article on the success of Great Britain's Preschool program that might be helpful: Brits United in Support of Universal, Free Preschool - The Atlantic
    As in most things, I think that the thoughts are based in a strong sense of community and helping, but almost always fail at how to pay for it and where it should fall in the prioritization of tax dollars. I have yet to see an education program that has ultimately met the goals it was set out to meet nor run effectively as a public entity.

    (all just my humble opinion of course, Im sure many may disagree)
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  3. #3

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    James Madison

    Default

    Look outside the US.

    The article makes a good point that one of the fallacies of Head Start is that HS (as well as state run programs) allow access to only the poor. When this happens, most poverty-stricken parents do not have time to lobby their Congressperson, or even meet with their kids' teachers sometime. They certainly don't have the time to impact and/or demand changes in their children's education when something isn't working.

    Middle class families have that time, which is why GB made it a point to make it universal, not restricted to the poor. If we here in the US tried something like that, I suspect we would begin to see some differences. Probably positive ones.

    However, until we see education as a societal problem, and not just an individual or familial problem, moving forward with anything like this will be a tall order, imo.
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    I think it would be nice so long as pre-school is still optional. I don't want the state to require us to send our 3 year-olds to school if we don't want to.
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    Florida State

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    I am just fine with my wife staying home to prepare my children for school. We sacrifice some things so that she can stay home with the kids. No better pre-school in my mind than a mother.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    Look outside the US.

    The article makes a good point that one of the fallacies of Head Start is that HS (as well as state run programs) allow access to only the poor. When this happens, most poverty-stricken parents do not have time to lobby their Congressperson, or even meet with their kids' teachers sometime. They certainly don't have the time to impact and/or demand changes in their children's education when something isn't working.

    Middle class families have that time, which is why GB made it a point to make it universal, not restricted to the poor. If we here in the US tried something like that, I suspect we would begin to see some differences. Probably positive ones.

    However, until we see education as a societal problem, and not just an individual or familial problem, moving forward with anything like this will be a tall order, imo.
    I totally understand the good intentions. None of them answer my fundamental question on paying for it though nor the issue if federal mismanagement. Look at the shape of our schools and educational results already there is no reason to believe that another program will be run effectively using known evidence and historical results.
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    James Madison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elephant View Post
    I am just fine with my wife staying home to prepare my children for school. We sacrifice some things so that she can stay home with the kids. No better pre-school in my mind than a mother.
    Not an option for a lot of folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snydershrugged View Post
    I totally understand the good intentions. None of them answer my fundamental question on paying for it though nor the issue if federal mismanagement. Look at the shape of our schools and educational results already there is no reason to believe that another program will be run effectively using known evidence and historical results.
    So what is the solution?

    (to our poor educational results)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    Not an option for a lot of folks.



    So what is the solution?

    (to our poor educational results)
    I'd say to not keep doing what hasnt worked already to start. Maybe throwing money at the problem isnt the primary answer? I could see things like offerring school choice and doing away with shady standardized testing as well as not allowing textbook publishers in bed with government officials as a great start.

    I'd allow teachers to teach to the information rather than tests, I'd stop silly new age common core change mandates and let teachers teach to the individual rather than the national whole.

    I'd disallow concepts like Tenure (and I say this coming from a family that made long careers out of teaching in public education), and I'd not allow teachers unions to be able to take political positions nor donate to candidates unless 100% of their members choose to do so via referendum.

    Our education system failures can be seen as a very clear correlation with the creation of the department of education. Federalizing education killed us. That isnt to say that I dont support public education, but I would rather it be at a minimum in state control, if not local witout dependencies on federal money
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    All your suggestions are spot on, imo. The problem is getting career politicians out of the way of administrators and teachers who know much better how to work with kids than the politicians do.

    I guess my point is that all that is unlikely to change at this point. Not impossible, but unlikely. Lord knows I've spent a fair amount of time and energy writing to elected officials begging for change to little avail. If this is the reality we have, working within the constraints of that reality, all the research I've ever seen on PreSchool is that it does far more good than bad for low-income families in particular. PreSchool is incredibly beneficial IF the teachers are educated and trained properly.

    And that's not to say that the teachers should be teaching to the test. The kids need to work on social/emotional teaching rather than learning how to read by the time they hit Kindergarten. If the kids don't know how to share for instance, or don't understand it simply isn't appropriate to hit another child, they will struggle in Elementary School regardless of whether they can read or not.

    There is a lot of really good research out there that says that we should be slowing down the push for testing and achievement, and instead focusing on letting the kids learn material in a wide variety of ways. You see this more often in PreK because there is more flexibility for the teachers - that flexibility should be expanded up the ladder, imo. But to do that, we need to put No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top behind us for good.

    And you're 100% correct about the textbook publishers. If you look at the system, they are the winners. It definitely isn't the students, teachers or administrators. How do you think those three groups feel about constantly hearing that our educational system is failing? The publishers are incentivized for the kids to fail so they can sell more study materials.

    OK, rant over. I think, SS that we agree on more than we disagree. Education needs to be "fixed" and essentially returned to the local government level. One of the greatest failures of the Bush administration was No Child Left Behind. Why Obama decided to rebrand it with Race to the Top instead of elminating it all together is one of his biggest failings, imo.
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    Always great to talk through this type of stuff with you my friend! I think you are spot on in tat we likely agree on much!
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    Florida State

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    Not an option for a lot of folks.
    Actually, it is an option much more than you seem willing to admit...the choice is there. It simply comes down to sacrifices. What is willing to be sacrificed in order to achieve having the mother stay home for the kids?
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    James Madison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elephant View Post
    Actually, it is an option much more than you seem willing to admit...the choice is there. It simply comes down to sacrifices. What is willing to be sacrificed in order to achieve having the mother stay home for the kids?
    Well, we can immediately remove all single parents from this equation, right? Unless you want them living off the meager money that welfare provides? Outside of those folks, the rest of the population isn't easily enough segmented, imo. There are a lot of people living out there working three jobs to stay afloat - and while they would be the first to tell you it would be great to have Mom stay home and Dad carries the load (or vice-versa) that just isn't an option for them, financially. And I'm not talking about those people not being able to go to Disney World if Mom stays home, I'm talking about the families where they won't be able to pay for food or housing if Mom stays home.

    And that doesn't even factor in whether or not ALL Moms are as good as professionally trained and educated teachers. But be careful there, because we might veer off into Home Schooling and Private Schools, and I'm fairly certain we don't agree at all on those topics.
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    Florida State

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    Well, we can immediately remove all single parents from this equation, right? Unless you want them living off the meager money that welfare provides? Outside of those folks, the rest of the population isn't easily enough segmented, imo. There are a lot of people living out there working three jobs to stay afloat - and while they would be the first to tell you it would be great to have Mom stay home and Dad carries the load (or vice-versa) that just isn't an option for them, financially. And I'm not talking about those people not being able to go to Disney World if Mom stays home, I'm talking about the families where they won't be able to pay for food or housing if Mom stays home.

    And that doesn't even factor in whether or not ALL Moms are as good as professionally trained and educated teachers. But be careful there, because we might veer off into Home Schooling and Private Schools, and I'm fairly certain we don't agree at all on those topics.
    Nope, single parents are exempt for obvious reasons. Which is a major problem in this country...the breakup of the nuclear family.

    As for the financially unable to stay afloat so they need 2 working parents...again, what is their monthly overhead and what are they willing to sacrifice? The idea that they won't be able to pay for food is being rather dramatic. The reality is, the houses they live in have mortgages that are too much, but they had to have the 3200 sq ft home instead of the 1800 sq ft home that they were raised in with more siblings than they have children. They have to have 2 cars, at least, because we all know that life before 2 cars per family was unfathomable...or even the cars they have need to be more than they need. We live in a society of excess and the overwhelming majority of 2 working parents in today's age are doing so to keep up with the Jones'...not stay afloat.

    So what are we left with? We are talking about federalizing pre-school, which means I get taxed more for your kid to have pre-school, even though I choose not to use that service? You know there are already pre-school programs available to those in need, like single parents in most school districts across this country? Why should the federal government be involved in raising your child or mine?
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    The more things change...the more they stay the same. It's like deja vu all over again.

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    While I agree that there are certainly families who could make sacrifices but choose not to, there are quite a few who simply can't.

    Head Start is available for poor families already. The point of the article I included, as well as the plethora of others I have read, is that PreSchool is good for kids - all kids- because of the quality of education available from well educated and trained teachers. Is it the best option for families that have a loving, patient parent who can stay at home? Maybe not.

    My biases are showing, but I think we as a country have done a great job of demonizing our educational system so much to the point that we look down on teachers. And to be sure, there are bad teachers. Really bad ones. And SS is correct, tenure should be abolished and the bad teachers need to be weeded out or trained better. But by and large, there are really good teachers too. And those teachers are well-trained, and better educated in how to teach a child to read than MOST parents are, for instance.
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    Florida State

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    But it's not the responsibility of the federal government to create a pre-k program in our public school system. At what point do you realize more government control over our every day lives is not good.

    The states have programs, let them deal with it...keep Washington out of it.

    As for demonizing teachers, not sure how you got that out of my statement...it's not teachers, it bureaucracy.
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    The more things change...the more they stay the same. It's like deja vu all over again.

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    I was a very smart kids with out head start etc growing up in the 70's in South East DC reading books, yeah not all kids or parent are self starters ordon't have the time to study with kids for some reason. Todays big government Indoctrination Centers aka public schools need competition via school vouchers for parents to pick and choose, but that would put the money laundering system of dollars to Teacher unions back into Team Donkey via dues in danger.
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    Navy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    Not an option for a lot of folks.



    So what is the solution?

    (to our poor educational results)
    its not shoving more money and forcing kids to go
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    Quote Originally Posted by redskins26 View Post
    its not shoving more money and forcing kids to go
    Why not? Every study ever commissioned says that's EXACTLY what we should do.
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    There was a VP debate tonight, and all the people in the political forum are talking about pre-school ?
    The question should be, what would Mike Pence do about Pre-School Reform ?
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