Thursday, April 08, 2004
The good news is, Go Big Ed has been credited with part of a victory after sending a school-board member definitive information that shows that all-day kindergarten is no good.
The info was used as ammo in a counter-campaign to defeat a proposed policy change to switch to all-day k. What had seemed like a done deal suddenly turned the other way.
Earlier this week, the school board voted 6-3 NOT to go to all-day k.
The decision saved that district lots of money and salvaged precious free time for 5-year-olds that will pay off in better school performance on down the road.
It was a win-win. The bad news is, it didn’t happen in Nebraska. It was in Pennsylvania. The school board member got a hold of some of my writing and contacted me. That’s what the Internet can do: connect people. It’s a good thing, at least some of the time.
Public-service journalism may not make you rich, but if it can get the truth out and help people, it’s worth it.
The Pennsylvanian said the school administration and school-board president were attempting a railroad job with all-day k. She said anybody who spoke out against it was treated like a ‘’dumbhead.’’ The board packets on the issue contained nothing but ‘’pro’’ material, which was blatantly biased. The teachers were all for it because the union was for it because it brought more jobs to the school buildings and thus more union members.
Parents were split: some wanted the free babysitting despite the fact that the extra half-day has been shown to do absolutely nothing to improve learning skills or knowledge in the kids and is a pure taxpayer subsidy. But, the school-board member said, there were enough savvy parents writing letters and making phone calls in defense of childhood that the measure fell flat.
However, we can’t let our heads get too swelled up: the fall-back position by the district was that they would have had to take away the art and music rooms from the grade schools to make space for all-day k, and that wouldn’t fly. Oh, well: whatever works, we’ll take.
There’s still a lot of work to do in educating the public about why it’s wrong to put little kids in out-of-home settings at an earlier and earlier age and for longer and longer periods of time. Once people know the facts, they ‘’get it.’’ But most people don’t know the facts about early-childhood ed.
It’s nice to score one for the good guys for a change. Here’s to lots more, maybe closer to home right here in the Cornhusker State.
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