Those searching for information on reasons to oppose preschool programs funded by the state or private entities will be interested in the information below. Of particular interest is Clinical Mental Health Counselor Joan Landes’ letter to representatives which is below the core information.
“The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” – David O McKay.
There are 2 bills this session relating to “early education” or preschool.
1) HB 96 sponsored by Rep. Greg Hughes titled Utah School Readiness Initiative.
2) SB 42 sponsored by Sen. Aaron Osmond titled Early Childhood Education.
Reasons to Oppose:
1) The bill calls for schools to collect longitudinal data on children which fits perfectly into the Common Core P20W database Utah has created. (P20W is preschool through grade 20 and into the workforce for tracking everyone)
84 (4) “Eligible LEA” means an LEA that has a data system capacity to collect
85 longitudinal academic outcome data, including special education use by student, by identifying
86 each student with a statewide unique student identifier.
2) I totally oppose all preschool bills on a matter of principle since we operate under a compulsory education system. Establishing a preschool program for one class (disadvantaged children) will inevitably lead to mandates for other children and additional funding needs.
3) Head Start, the comprehensive preschool program started in 1965, went 45 years and spent $166 billion and was proven a complete failure. Lets not repeat history.
4) The Obama administration plan is to start educating children at birth. This is the first step on that path.
“The Obama administration has proposed new investments that will establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for children beginning at birth and continuing to age five.”
5) The feds are incentivizing data collection and testing for small children and invasive home visits.
6) The Institute of Marriage and Family has shown that early education does NOT benefit children and they should actually begin school later rather than earlier.
Since time is very short I can’t craft individual letters, but I trust you will be interested in the perspective of a Clinical Mental Health Counselor on this issue:
We need to oppose the institutionalization of ever younger children for many reasons:
Research: The last 20 years of research on attachment of youngsters to primary caregivers shows that early maternal deprivation and high stress situations (such as separation anxiety) actually results in epigenetic changes to young brains. What changes? It creates a dearth of GR receptors which makes the uptake of cortisol and other “stress hormones” much less effective over a lifetime. What does this mean? These kids are much more easily upset and difficult to soothe because the GR receptors aren’t present in large enough quantities to break down the cortisol. This is a recipe for more mental health problems, learning problems and problems with violence. The way to solve parental neglect is to educate and inform the PARENTS, not remove little children from their mommies.
Research: Every major study has found that early childhood education lacks enduring value cognitively and any gains which are made pretty much dissipate by the 3rd grade. Head Start has been a dismal failure on every major indicator and has cost the nation billions to learn this hard lesson.
Research: Every theory of child development and generations of research show that the most important tasks of the preschool years is NOT the accumulation of facts and “book knowledge”. The child absolutely must have a foundation of trust in her primary caregiver (most often Mom), and autonomy (not being constrained by a group), and initiative (the ability to exert power in an environment– not being dictated by a “program”). Without successfully mastering these tasks, the ability to master the academic and work tasks in school is seriously compromised.
Research: Children (especially young children) need to be treated as individuals by caring adults who advocate for them. Massing children into groups to be programmed into pre-planned “lessons” and activities denies these children the individual caring and attention they require for healthy development. Caring for many young children is inherently stressful and even if the state could afford a 2-1 student-teacher ratio, a paid caretaker can never replace the inherent love of a parent, grandparent or family member. Preschool is a poor substitute for parenting.
Please feel confident in knowing that the best course for Utah’s young children is to stay in the primary care of Mom, Dad or extended family. If resources are to be spent, we should concentrate on teaching and training the parents to be the kind of Mom or Dad they know they can be. With that high leverage activity, we improve the lives of at least 2 people (Mom and child) or more rather than focusing just on one individual
Thank-you for understanding the inherent risks and harms of early childhood relational disruption commonly called “Early Child Education.”
Joan R. Landes, ACMHC