PreK Funding

Discussion in 'General Education' started by callmebob, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Feb 12, 2013

    Not trying to get political, but what do you think of the idea of trying to make Prek financially available to all children?
    I have a hard time understanding the reasoning for this when there is not enough money for k-12 right now.
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Not a full thought-out post...but more of a fleeting thought -- with both the Common Core raising the standards much higher and this raising the bar for funding much higher, perhaps even if it doesn't reach those points right away, it at least is forcing some progress towards that general direction. In both cases, that progress is a positive thing.

    Much like the suit in WA State about the underfunding of education. While it may take numerous years to reach (or maybe it won't ever quite reach) the adequate funding levels, it forces discussions about it, and it will slowly add more money to the system.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I am all for it as long as money is not cut from K-12 spending to make it happen.
     
  5. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Money keeps getting cut from K-12 so that is currently underfunded. Not sure where the money would come from for this. And even if we did have the money for it, I don't think it should happen. Some responsibility needs to be put on parents in our society. Instead we just keep taking the responsibility off of parents.
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I may be biased being a Kinder teacher, but I can tell you any money spent on Pre-K programs is well-spent. We can tell day one which kids didn't attend any kind of program before and they often start off academically behind.

    I've heard the argument before that it's the parents' job to teach them at home, I think that's putting way too much faith in parents. Many don't know how or what even to teach their kids.
     
  7. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    This is true even of educated parents. When my child went to a very good pre-k program, one of the intake questions was, "Does he know how to use scissors?" My response, "Uhhh....I have never given him scissors, so I don't know." I went on to tell her that I didn't think a 3 year old would even be capable of using scissors. The lady looked at me like I was an idiot. ha ha.
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    We already have it in our state. Definitely makes a difference in the readiness and social experiences of our K students.
     
  9. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oh totally. I didn't mean that the parents weren't capable, just that many have no idea how stringent K standards have become. They think that if they know their colors and shapes they are ahead of the game, and that's just not the case.

    I have a lot of first-time parents and it's all so new to them-they ask me all the time, what can I do to help them learn to read, I just don't know how to help them.
     
  10. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Why should tax payers pay for what parents should be responsible for? Either they should be teaching the kids these basic things at a young age themselves or they need to be able to pay for preschool themselves. yah it is putting a lot of faith in parents, but hello, That is a parents Number 1 job.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    The cost of pre-school is so small compared to the costs later on to society. It costs $40,000/year for a prison inmate and only about $4000/year for a pre-schooler for a year. How do they decide how many prisons to build? Those in the prison business admit that one of the best indicators is to look at 5th grade reading test scores.
     
  12. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Well, I have a totally biased opinion b ecause I teach pre-k for a parent participation program and then work at a private preschool in the afternoon. I am NOT for universal pre-k. Besides the private considerations, these are some of my observations:

    Public pre-k in my district - 1 teacher to up to 32 kids
    Private pre-k - 2 teachers for 18 kids in my school, 1-12 allowable legally

    Public - elementary teacher given half year contract who may have absolutely no early childhood experience but they are licensed teachers.
    Private - early childhood training - degree of education varies

    Public - lots and lots of worksheets and whole group time due to ratio
    Private - more play-based, hands-on, developmentally appropriate

    Public - grouped with older kids after school and are exposed to things they aren't ready for
    Private - with their own age range

    Yes, all kids should have an enriching preschool experience. Should everyone be pressured to do the same program? I don't think so.

    There are so many wonderful, thoughtful, intentional programs that provide children with great educational opportuntities that are different from public school - more art, music, etc. etc.

    Should we take away money from the public schools? Probably not. Should we raise taxes to fund it? Definitely not.

    Should 4 year olds be in full day, 5 day programs? Imo - no. They will be in "school" soon enough.

    Should we bump the curriculum down because of the pressure of standards, etc.? Definitely, not! It isn't developmentally appropriate to expect 4s and early 5s to do kindergarten work. Some can - some with start the cycle of feeling like failures.

    :2cents: You asked! :lol:
     
  13. passionateacher

    passionateacher Comrade

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    That's funny, I was the same way. My daughter started K knowing all letters and sounds and by the 3rd week of school she was starting to read. BUT she had NEVER used scissors before! I just didn't even think about it! I thought that was something you learned in K!:huh:
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I guess I just don't see the difference between taxpayers paying for a Pre-K student and a 2nd Grade student. It's all about educating the child the best we can. We do have programs here in the public schools where it costs the parents a fee-but then you will only get the kids there who can afford it. Usually it's the ones that can't afford it that benefit most from the head start early childhood education provides.
     
  15. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Very good response scmom. Thank you for your input.
     
  16. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Where is the line drawn. It needs to be somewhere. Right now that line is drawn at Kindergarten or approximately 5 years old. Prior to that, parents are responsible for the raising and care of their child financially. Why can't we keep it that way.
     
  17. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Leaders in countries like Sweden, which are WAY ahead of us in just about every way possible, have the exact opposite mindset.
     
  18. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    They don't think that parents should be responsible for their own children?
     
  19. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Our district has cut funding from Pre-K turning it into a half day (2.5 hours rather than 6 hours). This is the second year and already you can see the kids are suffering.

    We have more K and 1 students up for retention this year than ever before. (about 35 Kinders and 40 first graders) because they have such a poor foundation.

    Pre-K is about more than just coloring and having fun, it helps the kids learn expectations for school and the basics that seem so simple, like counting, writing, learning the alphabet, etc.

    Prior to cutbacks, a student could not pass K and go on to first grade unless they were able to read on grade level. That rule was changed immediately because they'd be holding back at least half the K class.
     
  20. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    If the kids are not in a free pre-K program, they'll likely be placed in a daycare, which means parents won't have more time to teach their kids. I'm not sure I understand why people think not providing free pre-K will force parents to teach their children the basics. :confused:
     
  21. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    No, they think it isn't developmentally appropriate to teach kids to read until age 7. Hmmm....much of Europe waits to teach reading and their literacy rates are higher....
     
  22. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    20 years ago it was NORMAL for a child to learn to read in first grade. Evolution hasn't changed us that fast. It isn't developmentally sound to expect that all kids are ready to read in kindergarten and make them and their parents feel like failures because their brains aren't ready yet.

    The pressures on the testing grades are enormous, but that doesn't mean we should push the curriculum down to preschool and kindergarten. There is no evidence that I have seen that teaching this stuff early makes any difference after third grade.
     
  23. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    At home, after day care, parents should be working with their children. Playing games with them that teach different skills. Reading to them. Having them do educational activities in the car instead of just handing them a gaming device.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

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    I spent a lot of time with kindergarteners. There *is* a definite difference between those that have a good, solid pre-K foundation and those that do not.

    But, I've found that by the 3rd quarter of kindergarten, those differences are ironed out mostly. If you compare apples to apples, the advantage that Pre-k gave the kids is gone.
     
  25. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

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    Here is the problem: Many children today are not having a quality, enriching childhood. I have taught in both public and private preschools and also have young children of my own. Many kids come in to preschool not knowing their colors, shapes, letters, etc. and that's to be expected. The problem is that kids are coming in not knowing how to PLAY! They also dont know how to interact with other children or adults. There are a host of social and behavioral problems resulting from this. And these are not economically disadvantaged children, often some of the wealthiest families have the worst time with this. The kids are sitting in the car half the day, shuttled from here to there, pacified by videos and iPads. Their parents don't talk to them but spend all their time on their cell phones. Their play dates are planned excursions with everything laid out for them.

    So a developmentally appropriate preschool should be allowing children time to play, time to work on social skills, time to learn how to behave in a group setting. It's not about pushing down the curriculum, they will learn those things in their own time. Its about setting the stage for learning. The children who get this will enter kindergarten ready to learn. The kids who don't, unless they have a quality situation at home, will suffer.

    It would be great to say this is up to the parents, but guess what, the ones who need to help their children the most won't do it. So then these kiddos will get to kindergarten and be the school's problem. It seems to me that if we want to improve the state of our schools we need to start young. We can't let only the privileged students get this leg up on the rest.

    That's my soapbox. Stepping down now...
     
  26. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!! (waves hand)
     
  27. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Long-term Head Start studies have shown that by 3rd grade, the children who qualified for Head Start are almost always behind their peers.
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    At my old school kids who entered kindergarten without knowing their letter names and sounds were automatically placed into a reading intervention. Most of our families spoke Spanish at home so of course they weren't teaching English letter sounds at home. Those that didn't have pre-k were obviously at a huge disadvantage in our program- especially since the pre-k kids had so much more experience with English too.
     
  29. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  30. TeacherGrl7

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    I don't want to say I disagree, as I'm sure you have far more knowledge in your state than I do. I just want to point out that your particular experience does not necessarily mean that's what it would be like everywhere. I teach in a universal prek program in New York that does not by any means fit into the criteria that you described for your public prek. My program is much more similar to the criteria you state for your private schools- I teach a play based curriculum to 18 students in half day sessions with an assistant. All personnel are certified teachers in early childhood education, and many come to the program with early childhood experience.

    Again, I don't doubt that your descriptions are accurate for your area, I just wanted to point out that its not like that everywhere.
     
  31. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I agree wholeheartedly!
     
  32. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    My state has public funded Pre-K. I taught private Pre-K alongside the public Pre-K program. The private curriculum was headed toward following the public. I don't know one teacher in my state who agrees with the rules, regulations, and proceedures required of teachers in the public program. The basic philosophy is children learn "only" through play. The classroom must have available hundreds of different items and many stations for the children to play. They may not sit on the carpet in circle time for more than 15 minutes a day (if I am remembering properly). All learning takes place in centers and the room must have 15 different centers set up at all times. Students are allowed access to any center at any time they want. I found all the regulations stiffling. The rooms are just too small to allow for all the stuff. Teachers have to keep 7 files on each student for each discipline taught. For a class of 22 that is 154 files for one classroom of kids. Annotations and photos of each student must be taken recording what the student is learning. The teacher does most of the teaching by observing students, writing notes, but not so much actively teaching. The prep work is crazy because no sort of printed material may be used (accept books). That means if you have a theme like Valentines Day, you must hand make all the products for any project you produce. That is the whole classroom (22) different pieces by hand. No printouts can ever be used at anytime. I would have to hand draw 22 different heart pages for one table center project, instead of drawing one and making copies. Teachers also must put together a weekly newsletter, daily lesson plans, and daily handwritten notes for each child to take home everyday.

    I do believe in early childhood education and giving students a "head-start" on education. Social skills and educational foundations can be taught to help these students progress in Kindergarten. I just don't believe the "state" has the right philosophy for teaching Pre-K. There is way too much busy work for the teachers and no direct instruction. I would like to see a mix of techniques used. Sometimes direct instruction should be used, lots of play, and sometimes it doesn't hurt to use an activity page. Children do learn through play, but it is not the only way they learn. We should be able to use the methods that we see fit depending on the situation. Seven hours is a lot of time for a preschooler to be at school and a lot of curriculum to put together. We should be able to use all the tools we need to make it work. The teacher turn-over rate for this program in my state is crazy high!
     
  33. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Feb 18, 2013

    20 years ago it was also NORMAL not to have the type of testing that is now required in first grade. The type of stuff we r teaching the first graders I didn't learn until 3rd or 4th grade. My thing is if the expectations are HIGHER then the foundation needs to be STRONGER. if u have a child who only had a half day of pre-k and they cannot read by the end of K, then do not ask us primary teachers to expect the kids to be able to NOT ONLY answer problems but to explain their answers.

    I can only go off my own experiences. If you do not see a difference in kids achievement based on whether or not they had all day pre K and K, please let me know what you are doing differently so I can help the first class of 1st graders that did not have all day preK. the K teachers r saying they see a difference for the worse, so I can pass ur advice on to them as well. Thanks :)
     

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