Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Isn't that what kindergarten is for?

No baby yet. We're still here. Doc doesn't think it will be too much longer because the baby is very low, I'm 3 cm and 80% effaced.

Anyway, in the meantime, I DO have something important to say. Here in Denver it is election time. (I think this is why the baby is taking its time -- it doesn't want to see all the negative ads).

One of the ballot issues will raise taxes to support preschool. I'll be honest and say that I don't know all the details, but overall the point is to expand preschool programs. I've got a couple of problems with this:

1. Denver taxes are already really high, but their k-12 per pupil spending ranks very low in the nation. If k-12 education isn't really working (and as an educator I'll be the first to admit that there are LOTS of problems) then do we really want to EXPAND the system's responsibilities?

2. The tv commercial they keep running over and over to support the issue features a teacher complaining that her kindergartners come to class unprepared to learn. Um, isn't that what kindergarten is for? Well, at least it used to be. Now we have these full day programs that stress the students out. No matter how young you start, there will ALWAYS been some children who are behind others. That's because parents don't do their jobs or are too overwhelmed by the challenges of raising a child.

3. It's a slippery slope. I haven't read anything on it in a while, but I know a few years ago the Bush administration was pushing for standardized testing of the 3- and 4-year olds in Head Start. I am afraid uniform preschool will lead to testing of our youngest citizens, when they are supposed to be learning to PLAY and IMAGINE -- something standardized tests woefully lack. I don't think we should be putting so much pressure on toddlers.