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Diane Flynn Keith...

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Children Will Be Raped of Their Childhood

The following email is from a UP website visitor. The name has been removed and the content edited slightly to provide anonymity for the sender:

I am currently an assistant director at a preschool program in southern California. I recently heard of the Preschool-For-All Initiative at our 2006 professional development day. I am learning more and your site definitely helps.

I have a concern that Kindergarten standards are being pushed down into our Pre-K classrooms. At our preschool, concerned parents want answers as to how we are preparing their children for Kindergarten. My fear is that if this does not stop our children will be raped of their childhood.

I would like to find out more regarding Preschool-For-All and Universal Preschool and would like to know how to oppose it.

First, some brief background…. “Universal Preschool” is the term for government funded preschool for all children who are preschool age (approximately 2-5 years old). It was introduced nationally by Al Gore in the presidential campaign with George W. Bush. Previous to that you may have heard of the “I Am Your Child” campaign that was run by Rob Reiner in the mid to late ’90s — and that coincided with the Cliinton presidency and Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes A Village To Raise A Child.” The “village” being a euphemism for “government.” Since then, the push to provide government preschool-for-all has escalated in every state in the nation. California is the bellwether state for universal preschool. If Rob Reiner’s Preschool-For-All initiative is passed by the voter’s in June, you will quickly see this type of legislation introduced in every state in the country. Additionally, there is a national push to make Kindergarten mandatory and to provide government-run preschools for all young children regardless of want or need.

Government preschools will institutionalize young children and indoctrinate them with preschool curriculum in line with state and national standards. In CA, preschoolers will be expected to learn history, math, English language arts, science and social sciences. They will be tested.

Over and over again, scientific research by child psychologists, brain specialists, and others with expertise in early child development tell us that this kind of premature academic curriculum is harmful to the developing child in all ways — intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically, and psychologically. But no one in power seems to be listening. Unfortunately, many parents do not even consider what is best for their child — they simply want what amounts to welfare for daycare provided by the government (tax payers).

Universal preschool is a threat not only to children and to taxpayers, it is a threat to private preschools and family care providers. If the state of CA establishes preschool programs for every 4 year old in the state for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week — then, many people will use the “free” service, driving private preschools out of business. The fiscal repercussions would be hazardous to the health of small business owners (private preschool providers) and to the state’s economy — and it may well impact and reduce education dollars for K-12 public schools. It would also reduce options in early childhood education for families of all income levels. You can read much more about this at our website www.UniversalPreschool.com.

The name of our website, UniversalPreschool.com, is a misnomer. In a moment of outrage at the California First Five ads insisting all children should attend preschool or wind up on welfare, drugs or in prison — I decided to fight back. I thought a website would reach the most people and couldn’t believe my luck that the name was available. I figured that as people visited my site looking for info on universal preschool as described by the government — I could provide an alternative to what they expected — and maybe empower some parents and save some kids from institutionalization in state preschools along the way.

Your concern about K standards being pushed down into pre-K classrooms is valid. What’s worse is that parents believe the California First Five propaganda that kids must be formally trained and prepared for Kindergarten. Little kids learn through play and by exploring their environment, by asking lots of questions and having them answered, and by being exposed to the bounty of life by loving, caring adults. Play is their curriculum. It is heart-breaking that parents are so easily brain-washed to believe their child needs to be institutionalized and force-fed academics.

Anyway, we have chosen to redefine “universal preschool” as parents teaching their little ones at home and, if desired, in conjunction with the thoughtful use of private, play-oriented and parent-participatory preschool programs.

We hear from many concerned private preschool teachers and administrators who agree with our position that forced academics in government preschools is a bad idea. We are developing alliances and working with many individuals and groups to attempt to defeat Reiner’s initiative. One such organization is http://www.StopReiner.org.

StopReiner.org is an opposition campaign to Reiner’s Preschool-For-All Initiative that is made up of California businesses and taxpayer associations such as:

  • The California State Chamber of Commerce
  • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
  • California Taxpayers Association
  • Small Business Action Committee
  • California Business Properties Association

They have the experience, infrastucture, and fund-raising capability needed to oppose the initiative. Their focus will be on the fiscal impact of Reiner’s initiative. They need grassroots activists. They are interested in recruiting people to help oppose Preschool-For-All in CA. You can contact them through http://www.StopReiner.org.

Our group will continue to spread the truth (albeit unpopular) that too early forced academics is harmful to young children. We will continue to develop materials anyone can use to help parents, citizens, taxpayers, and policy makers see that Preschool-For-All is not what’s in the best interests of young children. To stay abreast of what we are doing — consider joining our discussion list by sending a blank email to:

UniversalPreschool-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Diane Flynn Keith

Founder, UniversalPreschool.com

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