Sunday, August 19, 2007

Governor Kaine & Campaign Promises

One of Tim Kaine's campaign promises two years ago was universal pre-school. This is a popular concept with parents (not surprising given the cost of good child care). However, it's an expensive proposition.

I'm a firm believer in the importance of those early years in a child's life. Watching my two girls and seeing from a distance my various nieces and nephews, I've come to recognize how much powerful learning happens long before kids begin school. There are many families who are unable to offer their children the opportunities they need to be as successful as possible when they reach school age. (I'm sure there are also families who simply don't do so. It doesn't matter, the children are the ones who pay the price and that's criminal.)

Kaine is now proposing to expand publicly funded pre-school for children in families that qualify for reduced lunch (currently only families who qualify for free lunch receive free pre-school). This would expand the program to 17,000 more children and cost $75 million a year. It's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction.

A Washington Post article about Kaine's plan quotes James B. Hunt, Jr., former governor of North Carolina, about this issue.

Ask [legislators] what they do for K-12; they fund it 100 percent. Ask them what they do for higher ed; they fund it. This is more important," Hunt said. "This is necessary for those other things to work.

What a simple, powerful statement.


organized chaos said...

To link you're two posts... I want to look into how many children who have pre-school or head start later qualify for reading recovery.

In what I've looked into (not a real study by any means) very few children at our school are in reading recovery if they were in head start.

I LOVE both programs and want to see them extended. What happens to our at-risk kids if we fully fund both of them?

Suzanne G. said...

Playing creatively is something which so many children are woefully ignorant. One thing I love about pre-school is that children are guided into imaginative play.

The more time they are playing, the less time they are on their duffs in front of some kind of screen.

Perhaps we need to have mandatory Pre-School for adults too.