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Preschool poised for major statewide expansion

Original post made on Jan 25, 2019

Just three days after taking the oath of office, California's new governor laid out an ambitious plan to create statewide, universal access to preschool — a hefty investment lauded by lawmakers and education advocates as an important step toward closing the achievement gap.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 25, 2019, 12:00 AM

Comments (2)

Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 25, 2019 at 9:47 am

ST parent is a registered user.

If my math is correct (and after 6 years exposure to Common Core Math, that is an assumption), the CSSP preschool program with the arbitrary $1billion to serve 175,000 low-income kids works out to $5,714 per child per year for preschool. Does anyone think that is enough per child for effective preschool?

When our child was ready for preschool my wife and I were making a pretty fair wage and yet we could only just barely afford the CHEAPEST preschool we could find within workable distance from home and along our commute route to/from work. Even then we mostly had to have my wife drop off our child and myself pick her up.

And I assure you that this cheapest preschool cost us far more than a mere $5,714. That did not even come close to covering the preschool costs for what is considered the typical regular school year, let alone the summer time preschool.

All that being said, I certainly support fiscally workable efforts to provide effective preschool education to all the children of the families who qualify for "Free and Reduced Lunch programs" and then to provide financial assistance for middle-income families to improve results for those families as well.

The great unspoken fallacy in all this is the blind assumption that the schools, public or private, can ever actually eliminate the "achievement gap" in child educational performance. The gap starts in the HOME, not the schools.

Yes, the schools can and should do various proven effective things to help reduce the achievement gap. However, since the true cause of the achievement gap is ALWAYS based on the details in the HOME of the child and mainly driven by the educational backgrounds of the PARENTS of the child, there is only so much the schools or government could possibly do to even reduce the gap, certainly never eliminate it.

The home factors that can be most effectively improved is by well designed and implemented programs to overcome lack of English proficiency for the children of parents without full fluency in English. Preschool is the ideal time to effectively teach kids how to be fully fluent in English, especially for kids who live in home where the rest of the family mainly speaks some other language at home.

Preschool is also an opportunity for early exposure to basic math concepts and how to work in groups and how to manage time for class work and to teach kids proper school behavior and respect for teachers. Preschools can help prepare kids for elementary school by teaching them the basics they all should have before Kindergarten.

The children of parents with little or no college or even no high school are at a huge disadvantage when they enter elementary schools and a continuing lack of meaningful parental support during the rest of their education is the primary issue that causes the achievement gap. Our schools can do things to help to reduce the gap, but will never eliminate it.

Another thing that could help in a significant manner would be parental education. Starting with adult English classes for parents with school age kids.

I would also want all parents to have access to parent educational classes on "Common Core" math, since even those of us who use complex math in our jobs find Common Core math a frustrating mass of confusion. Even actual mathematicians find Common core math incomprehensible. Providing parents of Kinder age kids, or parents new to our state a basic course (even on-line) to explain Common Core math would be a huge help, especially if these lessons can be provided in other languages as well as English.

Yes, preschool CAN (properly designed and implemented by qualified people) make a significant improvement in the educational outcome of kids with poorly educated or just plain poor families, but it's not a cure, just a treatment to help ease the symptoms. Well-educated English-fluent parents are the only cure.

Solve that and we will see the gap shrink down into the statistical noise.


Posted by Ellen Wheeler
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 25, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Ellen Wheeler is a registered user.

Thank you for crafting and sharing this "deep dive" into Governor Newsom's highly welcome proposals for more money for more and better preschools and child care. I also appreciate you highlighting the excellent work some of our state legislators are doing in this field to effectuate this progress. As you note, our county superintendent, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, is a leader in this effort, as is our own MVWSD Preschool Director, Terri Wallace.


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