Minnesota Legislature made important early education progress

  • Article by: Editorial Board , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 26, 2013 - 5:51 PM

Minnesota lawmakers rightly improved access to early education.

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benleeMay. 26, 13 8:52 PM

"$40 million of the education package will be devoted to need-based scholarships for state-approved preschools." What abut the failure known as Head Start? Head Start currently spends $10,000 per child readying them for kindergarten, yet studies consistently show these children are no more successful than their peers, and in many cases, are less successful in later elementary years. In 2010 the Dept of Health/Human Services found of Head Start children: "teacher and classroom characteristics did not differ significantly between children in the Head Start group and those in the control group." The study says from the end of kindergarten and 1st grade: "This pattern of limited cognitive impacts in the school years may suggest that the magnitude of the initial cognitive impacts may not have been sufficiently potent for the early gains Head Start children made to be sustained as they developed and moved into the elementary school years." Basically the Health and Human Services OWN STUDY says, any early "gains" the children had (if they had them at all) were lost. Young children studies have also found, are wasting much of the "all day" Kindergarten class napping and frittering time away. Many parents look at all day K as a way to get "free" daycare, not understanding its ramifications or what is best for the child. Studies have shown children should be with their parents, and do best with their parents. Parents need to be responsible for their own children. Progressives/democrats love all day kindergarten because it gives them more time to indoctrinate our young children - as we currently see in Minnesota - the push for government sponsored pre-school to get an even earlier jump on state indoctrination. Minnesota is among the top in the nation for education spending, yet skilled young workers are increasingly rare in this state, and it is NOT for lack of money! The Minneapolis school district spends $23,020 PER student. A child in Head Start in Minneapolis has received $43,020 in public funding by the time they reach kindergarten. Yet the Mpls district 2012 math proficiency was 39.6%. 2012 reading proficiency 54.4%. Their graduation rate was 46.9%. Let THAT sink in people, 46.9%. Could we be subsidizing the wrong things???? All day kindergarten is expensive and has been shown to have limited effectiveness. Studies show little difference between kids from either option. All day kindergarten is just another sinecure for more teachers and the MEA.

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lordhawhaw1May. 26, 13 9:15 PM

"Numerous studies show high quality early education..." No most studies do NOT show pre-school and all day kindergarten make any significant improvement in achievement. Now lets get back to how Unions are going to improve daycare shall we?

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kraemer1May. 26, 1311:43 PM

benlee can write a long essay while cherry picking his information. Headstart continues to be analyzed for value or least value equal to the dollars spent. There clearly may not be value for all students but there is clear value to the disadvantaged youth...of course the repubs put little value on them once out of the womb. But, this article is on full day kindergarten not headstart. There may be the same value gap....those at risk may benefit those, like benlee who apparently wasn't may not. Same for his children vs others less fortunate that may not have "as good" parents in their home. This is not just a change in MN as many states are looking at this issue. And it is worth noting that you will find that most of the states that currently require full day kindergarten aren't "bleeding heart Democratic" ones but southern strong republican states...benlee best try convincing his peers before us uneducated ones.

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greg62May. 27, 13 5:28 AM

The real problem here is that the poorest among us are having the most kids, and government is encouraging this.

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comment229May. 27, 13 6:25 AM

I doubt if you will find many teachers who would say that preschool or head start is a waste of time and money. These programs are/were and will be instituted simply because the kids that come from poor families have parents that both work meaning less time for much else. Face it, June Cleaver is dead and buried. I don't blame the poorest people for depending on these programs to give their kids the help they need. I have seen these programs work and like everything else in this world, the dedicated people who teach these classes make all the difference. Bash unions if you want, but I find it difficult that anyone could argue that early education is not a good idea. Piaget might have been right, but there is no way we should take the chance and some kids ARE ready to learn a ton of skills at that age. Any attitude less than full support for this is narrow minded.

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comment229May. 27, 13 6:29 AM

PS... FYI.... the daycare people AND the preschool teachers in our school district are NOT union and there is no provision in the master contract for them to join the union. These people don't get enough credit for what they do, their dedication, and their passion for doing their jobs. If you have never taken the time, I suggest you go for a visit. Some of you commenting might get an education yourselves. And finally, since they are NOT union employees, ask them how much they make? Ask them what their benefit package is? and then I dare you to bad mouth them....

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elind56May. 27, 13 7:32 AM

comment229 said: "...I find it difficult that anyone could argue that early education is not a good idea."-------------------------Yeah...who can argue against "early education"? Sounds great...much like the 'Affordable Care Act'. (What! You're against affordable care?) Wrapping these socialistic government programs up in sweet-sounding names does, however, seem to fool most of the people most of the time.

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greg62May. 27, 13 7:41 AM

"Sounds great...much like the 'Affordable Care Act'. (What! You're against affordable care?) Wrapping these socialistic government programs up in sweet-sounding names does, however, seem to fool most of the people most of the time."______ Great point!

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jweb1958May. 27, 13 1:32 PM

The value of most pre-K, and especially Head Start,is dubious at best, except (possibly) for kids coming from truly awful homes. But at the other end of the age spectrum, forcing kids to stay in school until age 17 sounds noble, but is hopelessly Utopian. So kids who are so unmotivated that they want to drop out at 16 will benefit from one more year of forced seat-time? Talk to high schoolers who are good students; they all say that except for the AP/IB/Honors type students, the other kids are just marking time and not accomplishing anything of value. Raising the dropout age to 17 was done to employ more unionized teachers, whose union dues will in part be kicked back to the DFL.

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lkuusistoMay. 27, 13 5:06 PM

The editorial states, "Numerous studies have shown that high-quality preschool makes an enormous difference in student achievement." and "When children ages 3 to 6 establish a strong foundation for learning, they are more likely to to do well throughout their school careers." Please cite those numerous studies. Using terms such as, "high-quality" and "enormous difference" and even "do well" are very mushy terms. We hear this again and again, and yet an independent review of the literature does not confirm anything close to these claims. The Editorial Board does their own research and notes "numerous studies"? I challenge them to cite these studies. Preschool might be a good thing, but these claims are excessive.

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