Friday, October 27, 2006
OP-ED BY KATHY WILMOT
POINTS TO CERTAINTY OF TAX INCREASES
WTIH NO EVIDENCE OF ACADEMIC BENEFIT
IF SCHOOLS ADD 'BIRTH TO AGE 5' MISSION
Thanks to former Nebraska State Board of Education member Kathy Wilmot of Beaver City, Neb., for this op-ed urging a "no" vote on Amendment 5, which would grant authority for funding and programming over early childhood education to our public schools. See my issue brief on www.GoBigEd.com under "Public Policy Briefs." Here's her take:
Constitutional Amendment 5: The rest of the story
Voters are being inundated with ads and editorials of half-truths about Amendment 5 – the early childhood education “cure." These propaganda pieces are all “fluff." Remember -- your mama told you, “The devil’s in the details."
The Nebraska Department of Education defines an “early childhood education program” as “any prekindergarten part-day or full-day program with a stated purpose of promoting social, emotional, intellectual, language, physical . . . learning for children from birth to kindergarten entrance age and family development and support” which are delivered in the home.
The Legislature’s Biennial Budget document states if Amendment 5 passes, the end result is a “decrease the amount of state apportionment distributed to school districts” by an estimated $1.8 million per year. This reduction “decreases local school district resources” which will result in a need to increase state aid. Translation: Taxpayers will be required to dig deeper and tax levy will need to increase.
Any school or ESU operating an Early Childhood Education program is required to comply with Rule 11 (Nebraska Department of Education). Some mandates include:
-- Comprehensive services which include “involvement and support and access to . . . medical, dental, social, and mental health services.”
-- Teachers with valid teacher’s certificates
-- Home visitor with at least a bachelor’s level degree who delivers home-based services in the home
-- Staff that speak the language(s) of the students in the group
-- Staff to child ratios of 1:4 for ages birth to 18 months; 1:6 for ages 18 months-3 years; 1:10 for ages 3 years-kindergarten age
-- Activities respecting diversity of races, national origin, gender and emphasis on culture and ethnicity
In addition to these facts, much research has shown that intellectual gains from pre-kindergarten education disappear at around the second and third grade levels. Other research has found children in such settings are more likely to exhibit behavior problems in primary school.
It is important that we provide a free, public education for children from kindergarten through the high school grades as currently required in our State Constitution. Amendment 5 expands the use of taxpayer dollars to “educate” birth to kindergarten age. I encourage you to vote NO to Constitutional Amendment 5
For further research:
Comments: Post a Comment