The first is about the need for preschool for the middle class, and how the middle class is being cheated out of “quality, preschool.” The article does not question the need for preschool, as many homeschooling articles question homeschooling in the quest for objectivity. Preschool is a good. Period.
- The News Journal, Delaware Online, Wilmington, Delaware, 29 January 2006, Pre-K costs squeeze the middle class“Middle-income children are being left behind,” said Libby Doggett, executive director of Pre-K Now, a national advocacy group that supports universal access to preschool.
“This state has put a lot of concentration on reforming the K-12 system, but we’ve done very little with early childhood education,” said Evelyn Keating, provider services director with The Family and Workplace Connection, a Delaware nonprofit child care referral agency. “We can’t wait until they get to kindergarten because then we’re just playing catch-up.”
The school, which received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in 2002, charges about $550 a month for prekindergarteners. Preschool teachers, who handle newborns to 3-year-olds, have at least an associate’s degree. All kindergarten teachers have a master’s degree or are completing one.
Those studies involved programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, but experts say preschool education should begin after birth and last until age 5, when the brain is growing most quickly.
Contrast the push out of the womb straight into the classwoom, with a report from the U.K. by Philip Adey.
- Timesonline, The Times, London, England, 29 January 2006, Failing to teach them how to handle real life
A new report reveals that children today struggle with questions they could have answered 30 years ago, says Sian Griffiths…
In their painstaking research project Adey and his colleague, psychology professor Michael Shayer, compared the results of today’s children with those of children who took exactly the same test in the mid-1990s and also 30 years ago. While most exams have changed (been made easier, if you listen to the critics) this one is the same as it was in 1976 when pupils first chewed their pencils over the problems.
In the easiest question, children are asked to watch as water is poured up to the brim of a tall, thin container. From there the water is tipped into a small fat glass. The tall vessel is refilled. Do both beakers now hold the same amount of water? “It’s frightening how many children now get this simple question wrong,” says scientist Denise Ginsburg, Shayer’s wife and another of the research team.
Ginsburg says parents too can do their bit. “When did children stop playing with mud, plasticine and Meccano and start playing with Xboxes and computer games?” she asks. Parents should switch off the television and “sit children around the dinner table to debate issues such as “What should we have done about the whale in the Thames?” says Adey.
If these experts are right – and our children are losing the ability to think, the burning question is: what is the value of what they are being taught in primary school and of all those test results that every year rise to new heights? Paul Black, professor of education at King’s College, London is one of the experts so startled by these findings that he now wants ministers to reassess what our children are being taught.
Perhaps it’s just the English children that are dim? Probably not.
While this post was sitting in my draft file, another item cropped up, that may be related.
- Communicque, Education Intelligence Agency (EIA), 30 January 2006, NEA Shoots for Two Percent Annual Growth.NEA’s internal goals for the 2006-08 budget cycle are “a 2 percent net annual growth in membership, while retaining at least 90 percent of the current members who are eligible for membership and engaging at least 10 percent of the total membership.” NEA had a relatively good membership year in 2004-05, largely due to disproportional teacher hiring, but its net growth was only 1.3 percent.
Now, if the ranks of teachers are to grow, where might those teachers come from? Womb to classwoom ring any bells?