Pre-k is a better investment than HOPE Scholarship

 Four-year-old Ceu Thong of Refugee Family Service listens to the story Pete the Cat during the rally. Voices for Georgia's Children held a rally with over 60 Georgia pre-k children advocating about Georgia's Pre-K program and in response to Governor's proposal at the State Capitol. Earlier Gov. Nathan Deal and other lawmakers outlined a sweeping overhaul of HOPE scholarship and prekindergarten programs to keep them from going broke during a press conference at Georgia State last week. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

Four-year-old Ceu Thong of Refugee Family Service listens to the story Pete the Cat during a Voices for Georgia's Children rally last week. Pre-k will be cut to four hours a day under a cost-saving plan by Gov. Deal. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

There has been only scant attention to the cuts to pre-k proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal. Pre-k is also funded by the Georgia Lottery and is in line for serious cuts. Deal is proposing to slash the school day to four hours. (A new study released today affirms the value of pre-k to the state.)

Here is an op-ed from Alan Essig, the executive director for the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, on why the cuts to pre-k are a bad idea for the state:

By Alan Essig

No one can argue that Georgia’s prized lottery-funded HOPE program is in desperate need of reform—the structural deficit demands it. Unfortunately, current debate regarding reforming HOPE tends to ask the wrong questions. The conversation has been preoccupied with preserving the HOPE Scholarship as much as possible in its existing form. But is this the best educational investment for Georgia?

Instead of focusing on how to maintain HOPE, we should ask ourselves how to get the greatest educational bang for our lottery dollars. Georgia will be better served by prioritizing its limited lottery dollar investments in pre-K and the technical college system, first, and HOPE scholarships, second.

Everyone gains from a better educated workforce, and that starts in pre-K. Georgia must continue to invest in the pre-K program to ensure that our youth enter kindergarten with the critical cognitive and social skills necessary for a lifetime of learning and development. What end goals are we really attempting to achieve by cutting the number of pre-K hours by one-third? Research shows that for every $1 invested in early education, $7 in benefits are realized. Thus, prioritizing quality pre-K programs – particularly for at-risk youth – serves as a valuable asset on the front-end of our K-20 education pipeline. At a time when we seek opportunities to reduce costs in K-12 education and simultaneously increase student achievement, investing in pre-K presents an ideal opportunity to do so early in the learning process.

Likewise, investing in technical colleges allows Georgians to stay agile in a rapidly, ever-changing world. The state has been a national model for providing broad access to technical colleges through HOPE grants, which has allowed Georgia to create one of the top technical college systems in the nation. Broad access to technical colleges allows low-skilled workers an opportunity to remain viable job candidates and to provide businesses with a readily-available, trained workforce—a critical asset for companies looking to expand or relocate. It is indeed likely that restricting access to technical colleges will result in undesirable outcomes for economic growth and economic security in Georgia.

In addition to investing in pre-K programs and HOPE grants, real reform must take a pragmatic approach to the HOPE scholarship. To obtain the biggest educational bang for the lottery dollar, the Hope Scholarship must be focused on those who can least afford a college education. Georgia gains little when lottery dollars subsidize the tuition of students whose families can afford to pay for their college education. Placing an income cap of $100,000 on Hope Scholarship eligibility would allow lottery funds to go to those who will most benefit by the investment, and to help ensure that funds are available for investment in pre-K and technical schools.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. In order to get something one likes, one must be willing to give up something in return. Reforming how we spend lottery funds does not escape this core economic principle.

The late American author Mark Twain stated, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” As we implement fundamental reform to the HOPE program, we must bear in mind the impact of those decisions on the future opportunities for our youth and our economy. Twenty years from now, we don’t want to be left asking ourselves “what were we thinking”.

–From Maureen Downey and the AJC Get Schooled blog

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126 comments Add your comment

Ernest

March 1st, 2011
3:20 pm

Simply put, I agree that protecting Pre-K is more important. Though it won’t be easy, an 18 year old can get a part time job if they need to bridge the gap between the HOPE allocation and their tuition. A 4 year old does not have that option.

Fericita

March 1st, 2011
3:22 pm

Pre-K is absolutely key to getting disadvantaged kids ready for school. But, a four hour day doesn’t seem like a terrible thing, and may even be more developmentally appropriate for the little ones.

Inman Park Boy

March 1st, 2011
3:36 pm

I’m not sure your assertion would hold up to rigorous research and more than ad hominem argument, but it is debatable certainly. I would rather see the money go to keep smart young people IN the state, and I just think that the college payments do a better job of that. Pre-K is glorified Play Skool.

South of Macon

March 1st, 2011
3:41 pm

A four hour day is not enough time to prepare children for the rigors of kindergarten. Yes, I said “rigors” of kindergarten. If you have not had a child in kindergarten in the past 10 years, you have no real concept of what is being taught or what expectations are for 5 year olds. I left the kindergarten classroom 9 years ago. If I went back to teaching Kindergarten today, I would have to “relearn” how to teach. Children are expected to write their full name, identify colors, shapes, ABCs and numbers. Have an understanding of rhyming words while recognizing sight words preferred and expectations are that students are reading by Halloween. Problem solving is a must! Just to name a few skills that kinders are expected to have upon entering school. If your idea of kindergarten is all play, a snack, and a nap, you are way off base.

almh

March 1st, 2011
3:48 pm

Thank you Alan Essig! Pre-K is NOT free daycare or ‘glorified Play Skool’. http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-pre-k-cutting-857164.html
We here a lot from teachers that students are not at grade level. They don’t get behind overnight. I think getting them the right track from day one is money well spent. I think it would be better to have an income cap than cut the instruction day. I would pay for it.

almh

March 1st, 2011
3:50 pm

That should say hear and not here. I don’t want to get slammed from the grammar cops.

Clarence

March 1st, 2011
3:55 pm

Several states (that rank better than us educationally) have only half day kindergarten. I know that full-day helps low-income folks, but until someone can show me research on academic gains of a 6.5 hour day over a 4 hour day, I’m going to think this is a pretty good way to save money. Honestly, of that 6.5 hour day, 1 hour is spent napping and .5 is eating lunch. Important activities no doubt, but I don’t see them leading to solid academic gains in the future. I believe in Pre-K and would love to see more, but I think this is a prudent cut that will focus lottery dollars more. In better economic times, we can use general funds to expand Pre-K.

anotheratlantamom

March 1st, 2011
3:57 pm

I have a child in private pre-k now and it is a half day program. He has already learned to read, write all of his letters (upper case and lower case), do basic math, and is now learning how to count money. He can count by 2s, 5, and 10s as high as you will let him go. He can recite and write his full name, phone number, and address. He will be more than ready for kindergarten next year, and he still manages to get home before lunch each day. There is absolutely no reason the pre-k can’t be cut to 4 hours a day.

Chrome Gouda

March 1st, 2011
3:57 pm

South of Macon is right about the expectations in strong kindergarten programs today, except for one thing: I administer the kindergarten at one of the top-rated independent schools in Atlanta, and I can tell you that we do not expect the children to be reading by Halloween.

I can also tell you that having a child participate in a quality Pre-K program makes a significant difference in how prepared they are for kindergarten. I believe HOPE is a very worthwhile program for Georgia, and my only concern with it is that the availabilty of state money has spurred the creation of many “Pre-K” programs at daycare facilities, churches, etc. that are of poor quality.

Please stop cheating

March 1st, 2011
3:58 pm

I’m sorry a lot of the problems with pre-k some parents cheat their way in. This is not a baby sitting service I’ve seen fake birth certificates, social security cards all from from illegals. It is not right when they come into a school and want to force they’re way in. Some try to cover up the year of birth. They need to stop letting them sign up if they don’t have everything and if they are illegal too bad. We can’t go into other countries and do this

Double Zero Eight

March 1st, 2011
3:59 pm

I started pre-k at 3 (with my mother at home) many decades ago.
I could read by the age of 4. Parents need to do their jobs.
They should teach their kids the alphabets, shapes, etc.,
before their kids even enter pre-k.

Is there data to support that pre-k is having a positive
impact in APS? The truth is that many pre-k facilities
are little more than gloriifed daycare centers..

Not necessarily

March 1st, 2011
4:01 pm

I would rather see more, smaller classrooms at kindergarten. In Minnesota, which is one of the top states in K-8 education, there is no pre-K and kindergarten is a half day. There are plenty of disadvantaged and ESOL kids there, include rural disadvantaged. “Developmentally appropriate” has been thrown out the window in Georgia. Stop bragging about your 4-year-old who can operate a DVR or TiVo and give them books to play with, not dumba$$ computer games and cell phones – for real, there are kids with these things at age 4 – and watching some stupid video on Mom or Dad’s smart phone while shopping. What the what? Kids love looking at grocery items, handling them, talking about them – involve them in learning everywhere you go. Nothing sticks with toddlers like the sound of their parents’ voicing reading, counting, and singing rhyming songs with them. That’s how humans are wired, and we should take advantage of it.

South of Macon

March 1st, 2011
4:03 pm

anotheratlantamom… how much of that can you attribute to your child’s upbringing, home environment, and life opportunities..not just 4 hours a day of private pre-k?

Not necessarily

March 1st, 2011
4:09 pm

And another thing. For every “early bloomer” who read at age 3 or 4 (or by some accounts, 2!), there are others who read at age 7 or 8 (Waldorf method doesn’t even teach reading until age 8) and guess what? They nearly all end up at the same level of ability by age 18 if they read consistently through those years. It just isn’t that hard to find everyday teaching opportunities – “oh, Binky, what color is the light when we stop?” “Snooky, how many cans did mommy put in the grocery cart?” “what sound does Sweetums’ name start with?” Get off your cell phone and engage your child.

Lisa B.

March 1st, 2011
4:10 pm

If the original intent of pre-k was to prepare at-risk students for kindegarten, then we need to make sure those students keep an all-day pre-k. My son went to pre-k because it was available and free. However, if my middle-class son had been exempt from pre-k based on my household income, he would have stayed in private daycare. If our at-risk students lose the pre-k opportunity, many, or even most of them, will not have that option. I’d rather add income restrictions to pre-k requirements than cut program hours.

JM

March 1st, 2011
4:12 pm

I agree. If parents would simply read just one book each day to their children until they are starting 1st grade, the education scores in the state would skyrocket and it wouldn’t take tax dollars to make it happen.

anotheratlantamom

March 1st, 2011
4:12 pm

South of Macon, you are correct in your assumption that my child has a life filled with learning opportunities. However, I attribute much of what he has accomplished this year to his fabulous teachers.

blackbird13

March 1st, 2011
4:19 pm

Pre-k cuts haven’t received as much attention, but they are going to have much more of an impact on parents, kids, and businesses who will in some cases have to adjust to their employees new situation.

CG

March 1st, 2011
4:24 pm

Very well said, Lisa B.

JM- I teach Pre-K. Unfortunately there are some parents who are not literate themselves. I am the only person who reads to those children.

South of Macon

March 1st, 2011
4:31 pm

anotheratlantamom… I agree. I am sure he has had fabulous teachers. However, your son had a strong foundation to begin with… but for many the playing field is very unlevel.

CG

March 1st, 2011
4:31 pm

I am concerned about students. I believe in the Pre-K program even if some people don’t understand its importance. But I will admit I am also concerned about my own well being as a teacher who already makes 25% less than K-12 Georgia teachers despite having the same education. I’m not complaining about that, but a 30% pay cut on top of that would be a huge blow to my family.

College students can take out small loans to cover the balance that HOPE doesn’t cover or find a part time or summer job (which is what I’ll do if my hours and pay are cut 30%). Pre-K students AND teachers are hanging in the balance right now. There aren’t any open full time teaching positions for Pre-K teachers to turn to. Many will need government aid to make up for loss of income.

There have been some articles indicating that several counties where their Pre-K classes are housed in public elemtary schools may decide to eliminate Pre-K altogether because the cost of adding midday bus transportation would be detrimental to their budgets. Governor Deal thinks he is so smart for opening up 5,000 more slots, when he is actually hurting teachers and forcing thousands of existing slots to possibly be eliminated by counties/systems that can’t afford that bus transportation.

Shar

March 1st, 2011
4:36 pm

College students are no longer the legal financial responsibility of their parents. Four year olds are. Parents of college students cannot substitute engagement for classroom learning. Parents of four year olds can. Taking scholarship money away from college students and spending it to subsidize parental neglect is beyond foolhardy.

There are myriad inexpensive private options to lottery-funded Pre-K, and parents can choose the cost by choosing the provider, the number of days and the number of hours their child will spend in those classrooms. College is far more expensive and the options to hold down those inflated costs are extremely few.

Pre-K should not be a substitute for either day care or for DFCS intervention into parental neglect. There should be an income qualifier for lottery-funded Pre-K, and a rubic established to determine the program’s worth. Right now (and as seen on this blog), we can only guess at its efficacy and tell those who don’t agree with our point of view that they’re ignorant. Let’s cut the hours, define eligibility and study the results to see if it is worth our investment at all.

Cobb Voter

March 1st, 2011
4:44 pm

Always consider the source. Alan Essig claims to be nonpartisan but he is often in favor of increasing taxes and liberal speding. Here’s just one of his quotes of recent years: “…the governor and General Assembly need to raise revenues through increasing the cigarette tax, imposing a 1 percent income tax surcharge on higher-income Georgians, reinstating the estate tax, lowering the cap on various income tax credits…”. http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/010809/opi_374971938.shtml

Mona

March 1st, 2011
4:46 pm

I am with Shar! Clarence has it right also!

Both my kids attended private pre-K in the same building as lottery-funded public pre-K children were housed. So glad I spent the little money it costs to do the right thing for my children, because it IS a glorified babysitting serice. I have seen it with my own eyes – twice!

Arlo

March 1st, 2011
4:46 pm

My children are both in college now & although they both qualify for Hope, the lack of knowledge the financial aid offices have in implementing & qualifying students for HOPE, has derailed my youngest daughters chance of receiving it, at least for this semester. Back when it came time to vote for the lottery, I was very excited that some day both of my kids would get a chance to further their education if they made the grades to qualify, therefore my wife & I supported the lottery. I never knew that pre-k would be included (surprise) and had I known that it would one day become a drain on the HOPE Scholarship, I would have been adamantly against it. I raised both of my children to understand the importance of a good education & we turned off the TV, read to them every night, used flash cards to teach them math and basically took their education to heart & realized it was OUR job to ready them for kindergarten. Pre-k has essentially turned into free day care for people who have not realized their role as a parent. I cannot speak to the statistics stated in the article, but based on my experience, pre-k has allowed some parents to become lazy by taking away their responsibility as a parent to teach their children the basics needed for kindergarten. The fact that my children are probably going to be slighted after the promise that we were sold for a HOPE scholarship is infuriating. I firmly believe that if any changes are to be made to HOPE that it excludes students that are already in college. I know that raising children is hard, but it should be up to the parents to either begin the education process at home or to at least pay for it themselves.

CG

March 1st, 2011
4:47 pm

Shar, you must not have clicked on the link in this article:
http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-pre-k-cutting-857164.html

Curious

March 1st, 2011
4:51 pm

There are many comments here, some good, some exaggerated and some ill informed. Head Start, federally funded, provides a quality program for the disadvantaged. Pre-K, funded by the Georgia Lottery, offers a similar program, giving 4 year olds an organized day of age-appropriate activities just like Head Start. If the pre-K program is cut to 4 hours a day, many parents will have to find a way to fill the lost hours. Have any of the pre-K operators seen an opportunity here? Keep your normal day and find a way for the parents to pay for it – 67% from HOPE, 33% from parents. They’re looking for alternatives anyway. So, sell them on your program and keep them. The economically disadvantaged won’t be hurt. They’re already eligible for Head Start.

shar

March 1st, 2011
4:52 pm

I would like to respond to the uneducated person who put that Pre-K is glorified Preschool. He does not know what he is talking about. I have seen what a tremendous impact Pre-K has had on children. I have students come in not knowing the numbers, letters, shapes, color, patterning, or even how to write their name. That is just a few examples. They leave Pre-K a very different child and ready for Kindergarten. Here is a concept for those of you complaining about Hope cuts, why don’t you get a job and pay for school. I did it and it made me respect my education that much more. Children need all the advantages they can get and we would be doing them a great injustice by cutting the Pre-K program.

CG

March 1st, 2011
4:53 pm

Arlo,
College isn’t any more of a right than Pre-K is. If you get to whine about your kids having to take out loans for college, then I get to whine about making $20k per year instead of 30 or 40k when my hours are cut.

We can all say “if I had known…” Well, if I had known that my husband would be laid off from teaching because of budget cuts I would have told him to forget getting his college degree. If I had known that I’d be making $20k per year with a degree in education I would have taught in public schools so I could make $40k instead or gotten a degree in something more promising. Now there aren’t any open teaching positions for qualified Pre-K teachers to turn to, and I’ll be using my college degree to take on a part time retail job or something along those lines to be able to make ends meet.

We all have to tighten our belts. Tell your kids to make sure they get a four year degree in something other than education, and they will be able to pay back the small student loans they have to take out due to the changes in Hope.

Not necessarily

March 1st, 2011
4:54 pm

Teachers were astounded that my daughter could spell her full name at age 2 1/2. Many kids in her pre-school class didn’t even KNOW their full names at that age. Is she a genius? Nope. We taught her to spell her name by doing a spelling cheer every time she went p**py in the potty when toilet training. You know, “Gimme a V..” etc. delivered enthusiastically every time she went. Not only did she learn to spell her name early, she also potty trained sooner than many of her peers because she loved watching her silly parents spell out her name (like you spell out “Y-M-C-A” in the song) and cheer for her. So many opportunities, if you’d just put down that cell phone and unplug for your kids.

Mom

March 1st, 2011
4:58 pm

My kids are grown now (high school age(, but when they were small I paid for private pre-k. They went 1/2 day. The pre school teachers offered an after school play date opportunity (lunch to 3:30) for an extra fee. They asked though that parents only use it once or twice a week because they felt that all day more than twice a week was too much for a 4 year old.
All three of my kids only went to 1/2 day kindergarten as well and they were fine. My oldest was even exhausted after a 1/2 day of kindergarten.
I’ve subbed as a pre-k teacher in the Atlanta area and after lunch, they nap for an hour, wake up and spend a while tidying up and going to the bathroom, they have a snack, go outside to play, then its time to go home. So no learning takes place after lunch–its just relaxation and play from that point.
HOWEVER:
I think the issue is not length of the day though. The issue is (as others have pointed out) whether or not low income people will send their kids to pre-k at all if isn’t free and easily accessible–meaning a bus comes to their house in the morning and back again in the afternoon.
I agree with the poster who said it would be better to have an income cap on Hope Pre-K than cut the length of the day. The kids who need it the most are the least likely to get it at all otherwise.

Hmmm

March 1st, 2011
4:58 pm

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-pre-k-cutting-857164.html

Awfully convenient timing for this article (and study) ;)

Gabriel

March 1st, 2011
4:59 pm

Mona,

I’m sorry you saw it as glorified babysitting. I know that in my classroom it is NOT. I think one of the problems that caused the misconception about it being free daycare is that Bright From the Start (DECAL) only just recently made it a requirement to have a Bachelors in Education to teach Pre-K. I do admit that you can usually tell the difference between a Pre-K teacher with an Associates Degree and one with a Bachelors. Don’t get me wrong, there are many with AA’s who do a wonderful job, but I think a 4 year program gives teachers a better foundation in teaching math and literacy.

Gabriel

March 1st, 2011
5:03 pm

Mom-
In my class, we have 30 minutes of learning time after nap. It does vary in each classroom but just because the class you saw doesn’t “learn” after nap doesn’t mean they weren’t using their time throughout the day wisely.

Nap time may seem like sleeping to you, but for the teachers it is planning time. We are required to do lesson plans with content standards and assessment that is simliar to Kindergarten.

LMAO

March 1st, 2011
5:05 pm

“it would be better to have an income cap on Hope Pre-K than cut the length of the day. The kids who need it the most are the least likely to get it at all otherwise.”

The lower incomes are precisely the ones abusing it! Let’s keep the enititlement mentality alive and well for all the single moms out there and take away HOPE from those college kids that have proven they can succeed! (rolling my eyes!)

Wearing Me Out

March 1st, 2011
5:11 pm

Clear to me this is a state of the Bubbas, by the Bubbas, and for the Bubbas. But you people keep electing them. They are the sheep dogs who keep herding you and you silently submit.

As far as USG expenses, yeah the system is bloated. Probably no more or less than any other system. But two wrongs rarely make a right. So Peter robs Paul and reduces funding to you. Then you find a way to make it work and live within your means. Paul shouldn’t in turn rob Mary (the students/families) and continually raise tuition. In case you haven’t heard, inflation in this country has been dead for many, many years. Except for medical and educational institutions, both of whom feel a warped sense of entitlement. Tuition was raised $1,000 last year. This was covered by HOPE. Institutional fees are now up to $200 per semester. This is nothing more than an amount to be thrown into the tuition bucket. Call it what you want. So if they decide to increase it again (which they will), this will now be unfunded by HOPE. People. They could easily say they need an extra $5,000 a year and this will come out of your pockets. There are absolutely no checks and balances. There would be no recourse by students and parents being held hostage.

I checked the USG salaries of faculty. Yeah, they do make a good living. Less than the private sector? Who knows, but that was their choice. More or less than other systems, probably, but cost of living, etc., factors into this as well. Comparatively speaking, you reside in lower cost of living areas than many parts of the country with similar institutions.

Some have complained about furlough days and changes to the health plan. Have to say the hit for the furlough days is really an insignificant amount compared to what you would get standing in the unemployment line. .38 of 1% for each of up to 6 days max. As far as your benefits, they probably still far exceed what the private sector has done to their employees the past few years. I’ve read your 2011 plan offerings and would not complain about it for a second.

http://www.usg.edu/research/faculty/salary/fac-sal-usg08.pdf

http://www.usg.edu/hr/documents/furlough_fy2010.pdf

http://www.hr.uga.edu/benefits/bensumm/health_summ.html#ppo

As far a Pre-K, yes it is nursery. That is what is was called before the advent of the term Pre-K. No point in getting beat up by the Pre-K teachers who don’t want to feel threatened about their choice of profession, but will link a position paper on the subject. It caught my interest because there are some observations made by Ed Zigler, co-founder of Head Start and part of the Yale faculty when the article was published. A portion of his observations from the link below:

http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/2005/nov05/542.pdf

“Zigler describes the danger in assuming benefits for middle-class children: There is a large body of evidence indicating that there is little if anything to be gained by exposing middle class children to early education… Those who argue in favor of universal preschool education ignore evidence that
indicates early schooling is inappropriate for many four-year olds and that it may even be harmful to their development. Zigler cites research showing that conversations children have at home with parents, siblings, and family may be the richest source of linguistic and cognitive enrichment for children from all but the most deprived backgrounds. He also cites research showing that premature schooling can slow or reduce a child’s overall development by replacing valuable playtime.”

Funny, but Georgia is still testing near the bottom of the nation in many areas on education, including National Assessment of Education Progress tests given in the 4th grade. Georgia ranks in the bottom 10, yet none of the states in the top 10 have universal preschool programs. We have dumped $4 billion from lottery proceeds into Pre-K and we still rank at the bottom. People. This is a parent problem. Period. Without our having spent $4 billion for Pre-K on 4 years olds, Georgia could likely have given full rides (including room and board) to the students. It just doesn’t make sense. If a low income parent needs nursery, then you have Head Start or other programs. If you are middle to upper income, then there are many private facilities to provide a nursery/Pre-K service at “your” expense.

Lastly, I’ve just read the Georgia Lottery financial report from November 1992 thru June 2010. This is a joke. Only 13.9 cents of every dollar went to HOPE. Of this, 1.8 cents for books and 2.0 cents for fees is being eliminated. So, appears now about only 10 cents per dollar is going to HOPE.

You got what you voted for Bubbas. One of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. One of the highest bank failure rates in the country. One of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Near the bottom in education. A shadow over some of your elected officials. Bubba is as Bubba does.

Arlo

March 1st, 2011
5:15 pm

CG, we were all led to believe that the lottery would provide a scholarship to qualified students GOING TO COLLEGE. I never once considered it a right since both of my children had to make the grades in order to qualify. I think it’s quite selfish of you to insist we keep a program in place that is a drain on the HOPE scholarship for college students so you can get more hours. What gives you that right? I am sorry you chose education as your path and understand why you’re whining about it, but most teachers aren’t in it for the money, so maybe you are better off in retail.

why can’t parents take out a loan to send their kids to day care?

James Palmer in SE ATL

March 1st, 2011
5:26 pm

“The lower incomes are precisely the ones abusing it! Let’s keep the enititlement mentality alive and well for all the single moms out there and take away HOPE from those college kids that have proven they can succeed! (rolling my eyes!)”

Entitlement mentality?? And what “abuses” are you referring to? I really would like to know.

Gabriel

March 1st, 2011
5:27 pm

Arlo,

Just as you feel you were “led to believe” that the lottery would provide free schooling to your children, I was led to believe that teaching Pre-K was a full time teaching position where I’d be able to use my own hard earned college degree. I have a right to complain about empty promises as much as you do. We essentially received the same empty promise. Nice try on that one.

I think it is a complete JOKE to say “most teachers aren’t in it for the money.” Do you do your job for free? Would you stand back and take it if your job was suddenly facing a 30% paycut when you already make less than other people who have the same degree as you?

There are MANY other college degrees where people make a MUCH higher starting salary out of college, so obviously I wasn’t in it for the money when I got into education. I love teaching. Believe it or not teachers have bills to pay too, so please do not judge me for wanting to make a wage comparable to the degree I obtained.

Honestly I LOVE teaching, but if I can’t make a living off of it then I may be forced to give up on my dreams and goals. It would be different if this happened a couple of years ago when there were still other teaching positions available. There is literally NOTHING unless you are a relative of a principal or someone high up.

Most of the parents of the kids I teach wouldn’t qualify for a loan as they are living near, at, or below the poverty line. I hope that some of the parents will be willing to pay a small fee to support a full time day, but many won’t, so even if I can somehow still work a full day, many of my teacher friends won’t and I am trying to fight that.

Gabriel

March 1st, 2011
5:28 pm

Let me clarify that I just realized I have posted as Gabriel and CG, the second time I logged in I used a different screen name. Same person though, not trying to hide an identity.

Double Zero Eight

March 1st, 2011
5:34 pm

@ Shar
Many bloggers concur that many pre-k facilities are glorified daycare
locations or nurseries. The truth hurts! Of course, there are
exceptions to every rule.

James Palmer in SE ATL

March 1st, 2011
5:42 pm

There are a multitude of studies that clearly show the benefits of Pre-K. That there is still a debate is troubling. That people STILL refer to it as “glorified pre-school” is depressing. There are volumes of articles/studies/books–all extolling the benefits of a robust pre-k program. Other studies point to the potential long term economic benefit to states who invest in early childhood education suggesting that, for every dollar spent investing in quality Pre-K, a state can potentially save taxpayers between 5 and 7 dollars.

BehindEnemyLines

March 1st, 2011
5:44 pm

CobbVoter got the key point here on the first try.

James Palmer in SE ATL

March 1st, 2011
5:44 pm

@Double Zero Eight
Bloggers? Can you share with the group? And do these bloggers submit their assertions about Pre-K to be peer-reviewed and debated like, say, Yale University or The RAND Corporation? What bloggers are you talking about??

Georgia

March 1st, 2011
5:49 pm

Pre-K simply isn’t needed and never was. Kindergarten is meant to prepare children for learning in a classroom environment so that they may successfully navigate their way through 1st grade, and so on. I went to private pre-school and you know what I remember from that? Cookies, playtime, nap time, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Seriously. Now what do I remember from Kindergarten? A LOT more useful information.

What I’m saying is that kids should be able to learn just fine with the normal grades as long as they have decent instruction and parents who give a crap. If the parents don’t care, no amount of pre-k, or pre pre-k, or whatever they have going on now, will do any good.

It’s all about the parents and solid curriculum taught by teachers who are given a little freedom to actually TEACH. This has always been the case. I’m thankful I grew up outside of the metro area where teachers were allowed to teach and, for the most case, parents and administrators stayed out of the way and let them do their jobs.

Although I don’t support pre-k, I must point out how incredibly hypocritical it is of our government to slash education budgets. They preach all the time about how important an education is, and even make it illegal to keep children away from school during a certain age range (unless they’re being home-schooled). Then the economy goes south and the first place they look for cost cutting is education. Letting teachers go, forced furloughs, larger class sizes….I don’t even have any children and it pisses me off. These politicians should simply be ashamed of themselves and run out of office.

outsider

March 1st, 2011
5:54 pm

@ James Palmer: Why are you worried about scientific studies when “many bloggers concur” that pre-K is glorified daycare (see Double Zero Eight)? (sarcasm, of course)

Wearing Me Out

March 1st, 2011
5:54 pm

@James Palmer

Well, since you bring up the peer-reviewed and debated point, along with Yale University, perhaps you can click my link above with an observation by Ed Zigler, co-founder of Head Start and Yale professor. This guy wrote the book on early childhood education.

Mom

March 1st, 2011
6:07 pm

“Nap time may seem like sleeping to you, but for the teachers it is planning time. We are required to do lesson plans with content standards and assessment that is simliar to Kindergarten”

Too funny! Yes, I have to admit “nap time” does seem like “sleeping” to me! I do realize you use it for a planning time, but it is still sleeping for the kids.
Gabriel, I’m on your side–I think we should keep all day pre-K. But lets not make false arguments about how important the afternoon time is for learning and preparing for school. Naps and snacks and 30 minutes of story time or whatever, will not justify the extra expense in these tough times. BUT the fact that without the full day and without transportation, many low income kids will miss out all together, is an argument that you can defend, and that reasonable people will understand and believe.
“Naptime is not sleeping” will not get you the same results however! (Though I am sorry you will face such a huge pay cut with few alternatives. I would be very upset.)

MrLiberty

March 1st, 2011
6:10 pm

But if pre-K is so great, why not pre-pre-K or even pre-pre-pre-K??? Why not just take children away from their parents at birth and have the state raise them?

We look at kids failing in schools and decide that parents have failed. We don’t look at the fact that rampant government spending, high property taxes and the like have forced both parents to have to work and thus are not as available to do the pre-K work at home. We look at how our schools cost virtually nothing no matter how many kids you send and will tollerate any kid no matter how poorly prepared or how misbehaved they are and wonder why parents don’t care, don’t prepare, and don’t disciplin.

These are the schools that socialist policy creates. It should come as no surprise that when the failed system studies itself, it finds that more money is always the answer and more government intervention into the lives of children is always the favored approach.

Both my parents worked full time. Despite that they both read to me, taught me to read, did basic math with me, and all the other basics before I even entered kindergarten. They did the work because they put a value on education. When there is no cost, there is no value. When school is seen as “free”, there is no value.

More government is never the solution, but it almost certainly is the problem.

Gabriel

March 1st, 2011
6:21 pm

Mom, thanks for your support. I realize my statement sounds pretty ridiculous. :) Maybe I should have said that even though the kids are asleep, it doesn’t mean I’m asleep too! I need that hour to work and to get paid so I can put food on the table for my own family. People are mostly looking at it from the perspective of “well the kids don’t need it” when the teachers DO.

My idea for a possible solution would be to give EVERYONE whose job is funded by the lottery to take something like a 5 or 8% paycut. That is more managable than 30% for teachers obviously, and it would be fair to ask that the higher officials who manage Pre-K, Hope and the lottery take a pay cut too. I don’t believe they are according to any plans I’ve read about. I’ve only heard that lottery officials wouldn’t have as big of bonuses. Oooooh!

I would also like to point out that Pre-K teachers are not provided any insurance or retirement through the lottery funds. Thank goodness my husband (whose current job only requires a high school diploma) provides insurance! So we are not as big of a cost as it may seem to some.