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Our president pushes free pre-school plan

by Steven Haninger / February 17, 2013 9:05 AM PST

I don't get it. I thought those early years were meant to allow parents to spend time with their children, have fun with them while preparing them to enter school. Then again, I grew up when kindergarten wasn't mandatory and I didn't go until first grade. Who knows. Maybe I lost out on a chance to be another Einstein? Nah.
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I know studies say kindergarten improve a kids
by Roger NC / February 17, 2013 11:00 AM PST

chances of finishing highschool and more.

And preschool before that may help too. A lot of parents would love it just as a baby sitting service with single parent households and households were both work.

I can't help but wonder though if the lack of being a child as well as the pressure on academics is part of problems like Japan's teenage suicide rates?

Besides better reading skills, what does it do to a child to so early be distanced from it's parents?

I don't have the answers, just a lot of uncertainty. Not being a parent, perhaps it's even less clear what is good.

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While I know that some studies indicate
by Steven Haninger / February 17, 2013 6:27 PM PST

pre-school to add an advantage or help in the transition from home life to academic, I wonder just how much of that is the school itself or the total experience of the child. I'm afraid that for too many, free pre-school is just a chance for parents to get free baby sitting. Pre-school employees do not tend to be certified teachers though some may be there to build a resume. I would also think that government paid or sponsored pre-school would necessarily generate a whole new set of regulations and would just become another intrusion in people's lives as well as a taxpayer expense with little value.

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It can be as simple as.....
by Josh K / February 19, 2013 3:43 AM PST

.....the experience of going to school and being in that type of setting. That was the reason we started our daughter in a part-time preschool at age 3. We didn't expect or want them to try to have her splitting atoms or anything; it was just about getting her into the idea of school, teachers, that kind of interaction with other kids, etc.

When she started kindergarten it was pretty easy to distinguish the kids who had been to preschool from the kids who hadn't. The kids who had were generally better behaved and better adjusted to a school setting.

Day care can be VERY expensive. I've known people who quit jobs because the cost of day care would have equaled their annual net pay. It made more sense to just stay home. Fortunately that family had that option. Many don't.

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I've no problem with you or anyone else paying
by Steven Haninger / February 19, 2013 4:14 AM PST

for pre-school services. I have a problem with it becoming a government entitlement and especially when it's largely agreed that we're already over our head in debt. And another reason just might be that the Obama administration already finds the Head Start programs of little value. This doesn't seem to be due to a lack of money either. If you look at this paragraph from the OP link,

"Aides said Obama would seek additional money for Head Start and Early Head Start programs focused on offering services to infants, toddlers and 3-year-olds, while states would take over a greater share of programs for 4-year-olds." (underline mine)

it makes even less sense. He want's to start with infants? Why not just have the government pick up the babies from the hospital once they're cleared for discharge? Maybe there can be established visiting hours for parents from then on...or maybe parents can sign them out for weekends? This is just dumb. There's just never been a better "head start" for a kid than its first few years in a good family environment. If we want to see more unstable and violent young people, we're surely going about it the right way.

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He sees it as an investment
by Josh K / February 19, 2013 4:53 AM PST

Brighter, better educated kids become a more competitive work force than we have now. That's the thinking behind it. Is the thinking valid or is it flawed? That, I don't know.

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Health and Human Services study
by TONI H / February 19, 2013 6:36 AM PST

has found that Head Start children are actually running BEHIND kids who didn't go to Head Start by the time they hit third grade. Sounds like another joke of a program.

Heather has Derek Jr in a 'day care type pre-school' right now. He's three years old. She doesn't want him there to learn much of anything other than to realize that teachers are to be respected and listened to and that there are rules to follow. The 'teacher' gives out a green sticker on a chart every day that a kid has a good day.......red stickers for bad days. Derek thought he did real good by striving to get that red sticker his third day in because his favorite color happens to be red. When he discovered that only the green ones were for good days, he's gotten one every day since, but he still asks his 'teacher' if he can get the red sticker taken off because the other kids can see it. LOL Heather teaches her boys maps, letters, numbers, the computer, etc. and they have lots of friends that they have play dates with and they pretty much behave in other environments (stores, restaurants, people's homes, playground, etc) but it's almost always because Heather or Derek is there to correct them right away. She wanted them to realize that OTHER adults are in charge when their parents aren't. So far it's working out pretty well, and he's only there for four hours a day.

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That study.....
by Josh K / March 7, 2013 12:00 AM PST

.....showed that Head Start did in fact have positive results, but that the grade schools caused things to even out by third grade. That would suggest that the problem is in the grade schools, not with Head Start.

Head Start has also been linked to lower delinquency/incarceration rates and even lower mortality rates among young people. Head Start kids are also more likely to end up in college than kids from similar backgrounds who don't participate in the program.


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A study they held onto for four years
by TONI H / March 7, 2013 1:39 AM PST
In reply to: That study.....

Something I found pretty interesting is that although the Sandy Relief bill included $100M for Head Start, BO started immediately campaigning during the sequester issues that Head Start would be shut down. Oh, my bad.......another flat out lie.

>>>And that's exactly what they did in the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. It contains $100 million in new funding for Head Start - ostensibly to provide funds to Head Start centers in the Northeast affected by the storm. According to the Senate appropriations committee, that $100 million will be divvied up among 265 centers—an average of more than $377,000 per center.>>>
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That article affirms what I said....
by Josh K / March 7, 2013 1:55 AM PST

.......about the downward slides beginning after kids graduated from the Head Start program. The program itself is good, but unless you keep that momentum going with solid grade schools, kids are going to slip backwards, especially in poor neighborhoods where the public schools can be very sub-par.

The solution, then, isn't to make a bad situation even worse by killing a good program, but to take the next step and try to find a way to improve those public schools.

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Kids will slide backwards if there's no
by Steven Haninger / March 7, 2013 4:17 AM PST

continuity of the teaching method. Kids who learn by accident while being entertained will have trouble adjusting to an educational environment that expects them to focus on learning rather than having fun. Remember that it was the Obama administration study that determined that Head Start wasn't what it should be. Either the president has ignored the finding, changed his mind or decided that the solution is to pump more money into it.

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(NT) Brave new world? group homes for everyone
by Roger NC / February 19, 2013 6:42 AM PST
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Except for members of congress
by Steven Haninger / February 19, 2013 6:47 AM PST

They always exempt themselves from anything that would make them uncomfortable. Wink

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we could then
by James Denison / February 19, 2013 8:42 AM PST

concentrate on things better too.

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Additionally and alluded to in the article
by Steven Haninger / February 17, 2013 8:15 PM PST

is that too many school systems are already broken. What good does it do to try and give a child a head start to only find him/herself dumped into a broken system. Why not first fix that which isn't functioning properly?...or at least try to. If you pre-fab a house and place it on a poor foundation you've just wasted your time and energy.

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I think that the parents need to go to pre-school
by Diana Forum moderator / February 18, 2013 2:48 AM PST

I know that I taught my kids at home and was engaged with them and taught them their letters and numbers on a computer when they were 18 months old.

I wouldn't talk babytalk to them or talk down to them. If they didn't understand, they would ask and I would explain. There was a downside to that as well. Frequently, the kids knew more about the topic than the teacher. Schools are really good at the average kid or helping the one that is behind but not so much with the "gifted" kid. I learned later that both kids went to school as little as they could get away with (the school never called me to find out why they weren't there) and past the regents exams with high enough scores to pass the class. They were never challenged in school. They both dropped out and aced their G.E.Ds.

I had some of the same problems but I loved school because I would do what the teacher wanted me to do and I did what I wanted to learn about the topic. My problem was that I had parents that thought learning was important but didn't really do much of it. They were too busy just making enough money to survive comfortably - lower mddle class.


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It's actually the reverse now in many good school...
by Pepe7 / February 20, 2013 6:02 AM PST

...districts. Those school systems actually do a lot for the brightest students (a la 'gifted'), and the middle to lower end are more likely to either coast, or fall through the cracks a little.

IME and O, what were considered 'gifted and talented'-type programs back in my day most certainly pale when compared to the very modernized methods they are exposing many of these young learners to now. While we are most definitely way behind in STEM, if some of the same teaching tools can be employed on the middle and lower ends of the learning spectrum, things should start looking a lot better in 20 years.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that today, in a typical two parent/two full time job household (or more jobs, possibly), that pre-school isn't such a bad idea to be mandated. Obviously the timing isn't so good now economically, but later on the bill comes due as we end up incarcerating many kids who were never properly motivated/socialized like they should have been as young learners.

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