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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Life is Over If a 4-Year-Old Can't Read?

By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.  |  March 11, 2015 | Education Views

Americans are fleeing public schools faster than rats from a sinking ship. Yet Texas politicians have fallen for the line that, if disadvantaged children do not have parents to prepare them for kindergarten, they will trail their classmates and will never be able to catch up.

Although parents are fed up with public education and want choices in schools, some of our Texas legislators want to expand public education, pay for new buildings, hire more teachers, and expand left wing teacher education programs.

Numerous pre-K bills have been filed in the 84th Texas Legislature.  Governor Abbott named pre-K as one of his five emergency legislative items.  If passed, these bills will expand half days to full days and allow students who do not qualify for free care to attend if they pay their own tuition….or the school district can pay for it!  Early childhood teachers will be trained in teacher colleges, which tend to be radical left wing. As with K-12, pre-school students will be indoctrinated for the good of the state.

House Bill 4 will cost Texas taxpayers $100 million while House Bill 1100 will cost $300 million. Advocates want the more expansive program of HB 1100. They want funding to be factored into  the per-student funding formula – and not administered as a grant—so it will be an ongoing cost that will be nearly impossible to cut by legislators. State Representative Dan Huberty (R) has promised them it will.

The gall of our Texas legislators!

Dallas ISD is aggressively expanding pre-K – building new classrooms and hiring more than 4,000 early childhood teachers.

Alan Cohen, executive director of Dallas Independent School District said that accepted research shows 85 percent of a child’s brain development occurs in their first five years and proves the need for quickly expanding the district’s Pre-K programs.  “If we don’t reach children in that window of opportunity when they’re learning at a rate that they’re never going to be able to learn at again, all educational intervention we provide for kids from that point on is more difficult, more expensive and less effective.”

Reading specialists don’t agree.  They contend that good reading teachers in K-3 can catch these children up.

Because early elementary school children are in their major development years, they learn four times as much material during a regular school year as in the preschool years.

Pediatricians say the brain continues to develop, remodel and refine until age 25.  Research shows that early formal schooling destroys a child’s learning ability and can even be detrimental to the behavioral development of mainstream children.

Since the 1960s, billions of dollars from federal, state, and local governments as well as private sources have funded early education programs.  There have been meaningful short-term benefits but the academic gains “fade out” after the third grade.  This phenomenon is considered important because

  • either early schooling is immaterial to a child’s later education, or
  • the current education system is an impediment to sustaining those early gains.

Let’s compare the once great U.S. education system with that of other nations.  For now, let’s check out Finland.

Finland’s students score at or near the top on international tests, yet its students don’t attend formal school until age seven.  Many students attend non-compulsory “pre-primary” school at age six.  Prior to age six is daycare or parental care.

Finnish schools have no sports teams, no marching bands, no co-curricular activities, and no student laptops in classrooms. Students are not subjected to an ongoing barrage of standardized tests.   Teachers are not evaluated based upon how students score on exams.  Teachers are highly esteemed professionals so that thousands vie for the few coveted positions at which remain they remain for their lifetime.    

In contrast, American schools have sports teams, marching bands, co-curricular activities, heavy emphasis on technology for the learning process, and extensive standardized testing.  Teachers are given little respect, work in highly stressful environments, and pray for an escape to something better.  

The Progressive teaching philosophy, which views the classroom as a vehicle to achieve political and social change, has replaced the traditional academic model of teaching.  Since then the curriculum has been dumbed down and student literacy has plummeted.

Today the average American college freshman reads at about the 6th or 7th grade level.

Pre-K advocates simplistically think that providing disadvantaged young children with academic training will instill in them the skills and motivation to continue their education, thus breaking the cycle of poverty. 

Until the Progressive teaching model, which is also the basis for Common Core and CSCOPE, is eradicated entirely from the classroom, absolutely NOTHING – not even universal full day pre-K – is going to stop the implosion of public education and the continued dumbing down of America.

In spite of the promises that technology will breathe new life into the failed experiment of Progressive teaching, American public education is a ramshackle edifice, slowly disintegrating from the decay within.  As it goes, so goes the future of America to survive as a free nation because it does not have children who are “…educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” (John Adams, 1787).

Education bureaucrats lobby community and business leaders and politicians to fund their never ending string of reforms.  Rather than developing a strategic long term plan and then implementing the plan, these educrats operate in a knee jerk fashion, putting yet another patch on top of the catastrophic problems they created in the first place.

Will Texas politicians see this ploy to expand pre-K to full day, and also allow mainstream children to attend, for what it really is…gaining control of young children by the radical left wing element in our now statist government? 

Will Texas politicians have the guts to say no to expanded pre-K and concentrate on passing school choice so that market forces can do for education what bureaucrats can’t and won’t?

Copyright ©2015 Carole Hornsby Haynes. All rights reserved 

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