Early Education for All?
Basically, she deleted it because (this from a Times article) :
"The governor vetoed two sections: one mandating preschool for at-risk children and the other concerning money for gifted education in districts that can't afford it. She said both ideas need more development and that all children deserve preschool, not just at-risk kids."
She also said there was no funding which is also true.
Now the Times goes out of its way to give many, many reasons why this is okay. To wit:
"Nothing will be lost. Gregoire established the state Department of Early Learning and promises it will retain a focus on early learning, including broadening access and improving academic quality.
At both the federal and state level, spending and efforts on early learning are unprecedented. About $1 billion is targeted to the federal preschool program, Head Start, for the next two years. Gregoire boosted funding and enrollment for the state equivalent in 2007. This budget year, she made only incremental cuts despite one of the most challenging budgets in state history.
Other federal funds can be used for early-childhood education, including hundreds of millions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for programs that served disabled children from infancy to kindergarten age.
The recent economic-stimulus package included $13 billion for schools with large populations of children from low-income families. The money can be used to pay for early-childhood programs."
They continue by saying that these efforts are ramping up and everything will fall into place. Well, that remains to be seen.
I'm not sure I know enough to decide who's right. I do know from my own experience that the start of the academic divide starts right on that first day of kindergarten. I recall with my younger son that the kindergarten teacher asked me to do assessments individually so that she had an idea of where each child was. All the kids seemed finProxy-Connection: keep-alive
socially. But I had, thankfully, just a few kids who were not able to count to 10, did not know the last book read to them and did not know colors (there were 8 colors). This is not advanced pre-school education. This is just basic talking to your kid. I also had kids (my own included ) who could read. What was this kindergarten teacher going to do? So there were a lot of volunteers and I hope we tried our best to get kids up to speed. (There were several assessments within the testing, not just the ones I listed.)
I actually bring this up because I had a bell go off in my head when I read the editorial. Oh yeah, that's right, at the last Board Work Session on the Assignment plan, a director asked about why the planning was only for certain schools to have built-in pre-school. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson brushed that question aside saying they were the only kids who needed it. Not that kids in poverty need it more - that they were the only kids who needed it. (It's in my notes.) Huh? I would get saying, "We start with kids in the struggling schools but we hope to expand it to ALL schools."
I'm sorry but between working class parents who may not be able to afford pre-school (and you don't have to be poor for that to happen) and the very few parents who aren't good at parenting, we need a goal of pre-school for ALL. And that's only because to close the achievement gap we need to start sooner. We need kids on a level playing field (or nearly so) so that the gap that may be manageable in kindergarten doesn't get crater sized by middle and canyon sized by high school.