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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Taxpayer-funded universal preschool is no panacea

Uploaded: Apr 3, 2014
Democrats ranging from President Obama to California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg to progressive New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have all been pushing ahead with plans for universal preschools.
It's a notion that, at first glance, appears to have some merit. Dig into it, the lasting results in student achievement are doubtful at best. Steinberg's proposal for California would combine transitional kindergarten and existing state programs to offer "high-quality" classes to all 4-year-olds.
Kids mature at different rates and depending upon their intelligence and the emotional wiring they may flourish in a preschool environment, learning their numbers and perhaps to read. For others, simply learning how to play with other kids may be the extent of it.
Why the government thinks it needs to extend its already overly long tentacles into yet another area is an open question. Universal preschools feeding into poor public schools will make no difference in student outcomes.
There was a telling letter posted on the Blaze web site operated by Glenn Beck. It was written by an East Coast public school teacher who had worked with kindergarten and 4-year-old students throughout her career. Her complaint was that "teaching to the test" because of the accountability measures had evolved to a requirement for a math block for 4-year-olds. Give me a break. I believe in accountability and some common standards, but the response of the education establishment too often has been to try to force kids to grow up sooner.
It's interesting that many of the failing public schools in large cities are dominated by teachers' unions and adults' interests, not those of children. De Blasio has declared war on the successful charter schools in New York City—schools that former mayor Michael (Daddy knows Best) Bloomberg embraced because they worked for kids.
Jason Riley, writing in the Wall Street Journal, points out that President Obama's budget proposal cut its request for charter schools by about $50 million to $248 million. Riley observes that the president has been publicly effusive in his praise for charter schools, but his budget proposal does not match his enthusiasm on the stump. .
Riley goes on to report that demand is soaring for charter schools, which have offered poor parents an alternative to failing public schools (not an issue in this market). "In the 2013-14 school year, nearly 300,000 more students entered public charter schools, 600 more charters opened, and total charter enrollment increased 13 percent to account for more than 2.5 million children," reports Ashley Bateman of the Heartland Institute.
Turning back to California, the governor, who has been cautious about some new spending initiatives, decide to get on board with universal preschool program, and don't hold your breath to watch achievement climb. It will subsidize parents who would send their kids to preschool anyway and probably not do much for poorer families unless they happen to manage to live in the boundaries of a well performing public school district.
What's more, publicly funded universal preschool likely will lead to a major organizing effort by outfits such as the California Teachers Association whose leaders will see lots of dues money to add to their political coffers.
Remember, the CTA is the No. 1 political contributor in California. In one three-year period, it spent $211 million on contributions, more than twice as much as the No. 2, Service Employees International. The two unions spent vastly more than corporate interests such as Chevron or AT&T.
The web site "followthemoney" lists almost $151 million in contributions from 2003-2012, with almost $15.7 million going to Democratic candidates and 92,000 (0.1 percent) to Republicans.
Is it a good idea to add more members (the CTA already has about 325,000) to what is already the most powerful union in the state. And if you think the CTA is focused on educated kids, I have a bridge available to sell you.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Single Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 8:48 am

Yeah, lets complain about teachers' unions contributing more to universal pre-school initiatives than do corporations. Cuz, see, corporations care so deeply about public education. And so if teachers show they care more by putting their money where their mouth is? Well, Mr. Hunt thinks there must be something wrong with this. How does one spell idiot?

One's head has to be pretty far up a (Glenn Beck) hole when one writes about universal pre-school without mentioning how it will spell some relief for single moms and other low-income parents.

Add the typical grammatical woes that afflict this blog and one can only think 'idiot', 'idiot', 'idiot'. But the overall irony is this: The PW editors go scurrying through every Forum contributor's offering and censors those that are critical of religious belief, while they sponsor Hunt's blog tripe.

Timmy and Tommy should spend more time reading, less time during the late evening clicking that 'view' button. (Cushing's blog was 'viewed' over 500 times in one hour a couple nights ago.) Bad writers; weak egos.

Posted by Canyon Connie, a resident of Canyon Oaks,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Yeah right, parent, you think people sit around at night clicking on their blogs in a local community weekly. And you have proof because YOU sit around at night and watch those counts? Get a life!

Pleasantown does have an Idiot. It is You. No wonder you are single -- LOL!

Posted by Single Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

As an interested and amused student of media practices, it comes to my attention that woeful bloggers, who also visit other sites using different monikers, are doing all the clicking. It speaks to the paucity of their message(s). Yawn. So, Connie, shouldn't you be responding to all of Cholo's messages on your own blog?

Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Mr. Hunt seems out of his depth on this topic. Perhaps quotes from more reputable education sources than postings on Glenn Beck's website would at least show that Mr. Hunt had made a little effort.

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 8:41 am

I absolutely don't believe in supporting "universal" preschools and believe it is wholly an individual parental choice as opposed to making it one of the CTA. Let people rear their own children and be responsible for WHEN they start their early formal schooling. STOP pushing them into the WRONG kind of growth in the early years and? LET THEM BE CHILDREN and learn to socialize (I'm with you Tim on this one) the basics of ABCs and numbers BEFORE you shove them into public ed. It's bad enough one goes to restaurants and airports and see's families, two parents/two kids of ALL AGES (especially young now, 3 years old!) pushing "buttons" on some technological device as opposed to conversing, socializing and developing those skills FIRST.

Posted by Single Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 9:35 am

Yes, it's a cruel world, Ms. Bunny. I suppose you're against universal education (public schools) on the same reasoning? You're a real forward thinking kinda bunny. What brought you out of your hole?

Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Downtown,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Oh please, not more taxpayer funded day care for parents who choose to have kids and then expect everyone else to raise them.

Posted by Single Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm

More? Guess you, along with the bunny that squirted recently out of its very dark hole, are angry that your taxes go toward supporting public schools. Because, hey, that's why poor people have children, so that taxpayers can foot the bill in public education, right? And so, by your um reasoning, poor people are plotting out bringing oodles and oodles of kids into the world because, hey, public childcare might become universal? Guess maybe you and bunny came out of the same dark hole. Must have spent a long time down there. You "both" sure reveal a lot of vile bias for someone who doesn't know much about poor people.

Posted by Rich Karel, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Wow, some of these posters, beginning with Tim Hunt, seem to have a lot of hatred in their hearts for poor people. Anyone want to bet they also call themselves Christians. Maybe it's the haters who most need the religion.

Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Downtown,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Poor Single Parent. Resorting to spewing your hatred toward people who only ask that you take care of your own obligations. I raised 3 kids to be honest hard working contributors to society without expecting my fellow citizens to foot the bill for day care for them. We also got by without sitting the kids in front of the TV for hours each day or allowing them to have every electronic gadget available. You might try being a responsible parent before making personal attacks on those of us who raised our kids to be responsible people. It has nothing to do with disliking poor people it has everything to do with being fed up with people demanding that I fund their lifestyle choices.

Posted by Single Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Ignorance and self-righteousness offers no subterfuge for one's hatred of others. (Do he "learn" about this stuff on tv?) Too embarrassed to use a single name, the above hate-spewing poster only reveals what a total mess he is.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Isn't pre-Kindergarten education what Head Start is all about. I did a search on Headstart and found out the [Web Link 41st Head Start Conference and Expo] is being held April 28-May 2 in Long Beach. So if Head Start has been around for over 40 years, why is universal pre-school needed now? Maybe someone should write a blog about it.

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 7, 2014 at 8:52 am

Yes Roz, it is, but even that's been cutback. Methinks Ms. Single Parent has a real'ax to grind' here and is taking it out on merely those who differ in their point of view, resorting to low-life comments about others so her little voice is made louder (in her mind only) Sigh. We do get such people now and again with a "proverbial chip" on their "shoulder".

Posted by Mark Madison, a resident of Country Fair,
on Apr 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Typical that local yokels don't know anything beyond their own belly buttons. The yokel Roz has 'heard' something about Head Start programs, but doesn't take the time to educate herself. Maybe some other local gossip will have something to say, she says.

Head Start was implemented primarily in the inner cities on the belief that African-American kids need to be pre-schooled in order to make transition from Black English Vernacular to "Standrad White English." Continues to operate in ways directed toward groups in inner city settings.

Head Start has nothing to do with the need for universal preschool. We have universal public education; universal preschool as extension of public education makes perfect sense. Universal public education assumes it is better at giving kids a well-rounded education than are parents. Universal preschool assumes it can do a better (regulated) job of watching over kids of single working mothers than can off-the-street (unregulated) babysitters, or the perv uncle Joe living down the block.

Universal preschool would also help single parents find jobs with earnings that will not be effectively negated by daycare expenses. Of course there are those out there -- Bunny-Bun, Roz, taxpayer, and other miserly yokel-yokes (jokes) -- who want to punish single mothers for having children. I agree with Rich Karel: Pleasanton has more than its fair share of haters and local ignoramuses. Often these go hand in hand. Never seen so many hicks on a posting board.

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Yes, because we all know that throwing more money at schools = better performance:

Web Link

And before you question the data, make sure you check the footnotes from where it was derived.

And our resident head-start genius Mark Madison is preciously stating that universal preschool would be a good tool against that dreaded scourge...unlicensed babysitting!!

Oh the horror!!

Not very bright are ya' Marky?



Posted by Single Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I like very much MM's comments. The idea behind universal public education is that schools are better able to educate children than are most parents. Some schools continue to fail, of course: simply look at poor Dan's inability to hold a coherent thought and make it relevant to various discussions.

The idea behind universal public preschool is that state regulated preschools are better able to care for children than are parents who are impoverished or working single parents who are too busy earning a wage to take sufficient care of their kids. In both cases, universal preschool would help single parents better enter and remain in the work force, and thereby too help single parents lift themselves and their children out of poverty. It's amazing to me that any rational being would oppose this; but of course, we ARE talking about the yokels who are on these sites.

(Anything coming out of the CATO institute must be rejected, as the institute is nothing but a megaphone for big bucks.)

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 9, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Great! Single Parent "very much" likes MM's comments. And the proverbial attack on my predictable.

"some schools continue to fail..." Wow! Such illuminating remarks coming from an obviously gifted intellect. Let me guess, Princeton?

I give you data derived straight from the US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, and you give me:

"...state regulated preschools are better able to care for children than are parents who are impoverished or working single parents who are too busy earning a wage to take sufficient care of their kids."

Got any evidence to back this up genius? How about some data, you know, like the data I gave you from the US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION on the effect of throwing increasingly more money at the education establishment only to have virtually no change in test scores?

I won't hold my breath, troll.

Were you born this ign0rant (intentionally misspelled), or did you just evolve this way?

CATO blah, blah, blah...



Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

I see she's "at it" again...Sigh...It's her way or the "highway" I surmise.
How unfortunate. Again I reiterate my stance as a tax paying citizen, it is entirely up to the parent(s) whether they choose to place their child in preschool, or not. Not a requirement. It is NOT the business of the general public to support education up to five years of age, that is YOUR JOB "Single Parent" to figure it out - your life - your predicament. This idea of laying your responsibilities on the average citizen already helping to finance our K thru 12 schools and community colleges? Well, the "line is drawn" HERE - as MOST responsible (less than freeloading) parent(s)
U N D E R S T A N D.

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