Public vs private pre-school

by winemama

Opinion: Middle-class families need more public preschools

I am very fortunate that our state offers public pre-school. Private pre-school is very expensive, which is a huge burden on the middle class. Did/do your children attend pre-school? Was it private or public? Should there be public pre-school offered in every state? Discuss.

Advertisements

195 thoughts on “Public vs private pre-school

  1. The problem here is massive scope creep from an ambiguous objective. The author says she wants taxpayers to cover her kid’s preschool costs. Then she complains that the preschool the city is already funding is only half-day, which “doesn’t work for her.” Basically, she wants free full-time daycare, and she wants to call it preschool.

    My kids attend preschool at a local church, two or three mornings a week depending on age. It’s about $150 per month, and the lead teacher is a retired Kindergarten teacher. I would support using taxpayer funds to make this sort of thing more widely available to low-income children. But that won’t suit the author.

  2. I was just going to say the same thing – I agree that preschool is good for children. But it is a leap to say that preschool should be 9 hours per day (on the other hand, I am for state subsidized child care, too.).

    I think she has her stats off, too. I don’t believe that 40% of kids are in state supported preschool. Many large areas have no state supported early childhood ed (except head start). We don’t. Hell, we still pay if we want full day kindergarten (and by full day, I mean 9:30-3:30).

  3. Georgia uses funds from the lottery for free pre-K and then parents pay for aftercare or before school care as needed. I think there is a lottery to get in and not sure how competitive it is. It seems to work pretty well here and the daycare that my kids go to participates, so I pay for full day care until they turn four and then nothing, which I’m enjoying this year for my son. The hours are 9:00 to 3:30 which is a pretty good deal. I’m 95% sure I”m going to stay at home for a few years once my son is through with this year and then pre-school will be about $4K for the school year for three mornings a week.

  4. We sent our kids to a Montessori school for pre-K, full time and received a credit from NYC, which helped offset the cost (not fully) because the program was accredited. Before pre-K, we had a nanny. DeBlasio has greatly expanded the pre-K program in NYC public schools since, opening up a lot more seats.

    I have heard parents object to the full-time nature of public pre-K in NYC because they want more city/state supported half-day options.

    For years before pre-K, I’m not aware of any city/state support.

    Anecdotally, I know in CT there has been much more pushback by UMC parents against full-time pre-K since its seen as a sop to the working urban poor and lower class.

  5. Our system doesn’t have free public preschool or Pre-K programs for our income range, but it doesn’t really matter as we needed FT care for that age anyway. Private was really the only option.

    There are some tuition-based public options that are full-day (although not long enough to really cover most two-income households), but the wait lists are insanely long, and the cost is not much lower than a lot of privates anyway.

    I’m with Milo – funding FT daycare for 3 & 4 year olds and calling it preschool is a different animal than funding true preschool programs, which really do not need to be full-day. And definitely don’t need to be daycare hours.

  6. Two of my kids were in full time day care until they went to kindergarten. The middle one was in publicly funded preschool for a year when she was four until kindergarten. The preschool was basically a jobs program for adults. I don’t think there was anything productive my middle one learned that the other didn’t get at the daycare.

    According to the article, it sounds like there is a cheaper option available to her that suits her needs better. It isn’t free, which she is unhappy about. It also seems that one way to make preK more available to poor kids would be to offer vouchers that they could use at the private option the author uses.

  7. We don’t have public preschool here; the one our kids go to is about $5K/year for 3 hours/day, 3 days/week, going up to maybe $6500 for 5 days?

    We also have a nanny so are paying twice (joy). I think when the kids are all in school (when the youngest reaches 1st) we can move the nanny’s hours to later, but they will all still have one half-day a week where she would need to come at 12.

  8. I will be in the same boat as this author… not many public school pre-k options in my city. I probably need to be on a list now.

    “Basically, she wants free full-time daycare, and she wants to call it preschool…My kids attend preschool at a local church, two or three mornings a week depending on age..”
    I get that. But maybe a compromise would be what you said with her preferred daycare doing pick up after preschool and keeping the child until mom/dad show up. She (or other middle class parents) would still have to pay for daycare (which part time is still expensive), but the child gets the structured school.

    I’m all for more government supported preschool programs. I don’t think a 3 year old can survive all day in school, but I would like some support in teaching my children. Thinking about the number of hours in a day and the amount of time per day I’m with my son, I could never teach him the skills and concepts learned in preschool. It’s impossible. Nor do I think a “daycare” will either. It would have to be some hybrid, and that’s fine.

    But at the end of the day, the author is talking about money. Public school is “free”. Private is not. Daycare is not. Even a part time public education preschool will still cost parents money for the other half of the day. Maybe the answer lies in truly subsidized child care – from cradle to adulthood. But the cost of that in terms of taxes would be astronomical.

  9. Why do public schools want to retain middle class families? Isn’t it cheaper for everyone if people who want more than what public schools offer pay for it themselves, either by homeschooling (where you pay in time/effort) or by attending a private school?

    My tech pays $800 in property taxes for her 56 acre farm with livable house and some outbuildings. We’re lucky the local government can maintain the roads and provide fire protection with that. I don’t think any of us expect preschool. Federal government funds a Headstart program for low-income kids. I’ve observed them at the library story hour. My kids’ church preschool program was either much better or family-selection-bias makes the kids at our preschool easier to teach.

  10. Anecdotally, at our preschool pickup, demographics range from the full-time nanny of the anesthesiologist/part-time PA couple, a lot of SAHMs, to grandmothers providing full-time child care.

  11. Umm, wow. When did free full-time pre-K become an entitlement? With a before- and after-care cherry on top?

    I’m actually a huge fan of public pre-K — I think it’s the best way to help disadvantaged kids get some of the support they may not be getting at home. But by definition, that rationale means that it should be free — and freely available — only to the disadvantaged, to help them catch up.

    We were in the position of this family — two earners, needing before- and after-care, with our local school offering pre-K only for the poorer kids. We chose this thing called “daycare,” which had convenient hours for working parents (6:30-6:30, every day!), and provided a pre-K curriculum to boot. Not that my kids needed it, as they had plenty of advantages to start with and would have met the K entry standards without it.

    I would much rather focus the limited educational $$ for Pre-K on the kids who actually need the help.

  12. There are a lot of different options available for pre-K, and the cost may vary a lot depending on the choice. I think it depends on what parents really want out of pre-K. We looked for an old fashioned place that didn’t have computers. We just wanted our DD to learn to play with other kids, and to have fun. We sent her for four hours a week when she was 2, and eventually she was going five mornings. It was not really expensive because it wasn’t a fancy place, and she didn’t have lunch or enrichment classes. She had so much fun there, and I though it was important for an only to be with other kids and learn how to really share toys etc. She learned how to be part of a large group, and they did teach letters, numbers etc.

    I am not a fan of the state/city having to provide free pre-K if that is just another way to get the government to pay for childcare. I totally believe in some kind of pre-K for all kids – especially in the one year before they enter K. I think it is important that they have at least one year of some formal classroom environment with rules, lines, playing with other kids, etc etc before they enter a classroom for full day K. if the parents don’t speak or read English at home, then I think it is even more important for the child have access to some sort of pre K. It is really tough with the common core to expect a kid to just show up and start K if they haven’t already learned the alphabet, and have parents that read books to them in English etc.

  13. Research shows that the sooner a child receives a quality education, the better it is for her, yet we spend more per pupil on high school students than we do on elementary school students.

    The problem is that apparently the government is unable to provide “quality” preschool.

    Pre-K fails in Tennessee

    The benefits of Tennessee’s pre-K program for at-risk children disappeared by the end of kindergarten, concludes the TN-VPK Effectiveness Study. By the end of second grade, children who attended TN-VPK did worse on many achievement measures compared to the control group, Vanderbilt researchers found. The pre-K group did no better on non-academic measures.

    That finding is consistent with the federal government’s study that showed Head Start doesn’t work.

    Universal pre-k may widen achievement gap

    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $300 million program to provide free, full-time pre-K to all children is not reaching the neediest children, reports Bruce Fuller, a Berkeley professor of education and public policy.

  14. Rocky – I’ve heard, though, that while the academic advantages may disappear, the social functioning/staying on the straight and narrow/out of juvie advantages persist. Something about the early structure and rules, etc. Don’t know how accurate that is, but it makes this fiscal conservative willing to pay taxes for it.

  15. In Georgia, each pre-K program also follows their own curriculum so I think it would be very hard to measure across the board outcomes. My kids’ “school” does a more play based program, whereas some are very academic. So when my oldest started kindergarten, her teacher said she almost needed an early intervention plan because she didn’t know how to read going into kindergarten (and I didn’t realize that was the expectation and completely disagree with that expectation). She caught up fine and is now in the gifted program so for middle class and up I’m not sure how much of a difference it really makes.

  16. There is public pre-K in our district that is free for kids who were in Early Intervention, but who aged out (EI ends at age three, I believe). Kids who don’t need services can go if they pay tuition.

    Our kids went to a private pre-K near our house. They went six hours a week at age three (two three-hour days), and 12 hours a week at age four (three four-hour days). Tuition was roughly $300/month (a little less for the six-hour program, a little more for the 12-hour). The public pre-k offers more and longer days.

  17. I see RMS also commented about TN.

    The pre-K group did no better on non-academic measures.

  18. The problem is that apparently the government is unable to provide “quality” preschool.

    I thought the issue was that pre-k, even of the highest quality, doesn’t do any good no matter who is providing it. One of the criticisms of the Abecedarian project was “4 1/2 years of massive intervention ended with virtually no effect.” And that was the very highest quality.

  19. Typically, pre-K is similar to Head Start here. The child needs to be non-English speaking or limited English proficiency for pre-K. It is up to the district, but for most in my area, these are half day programs. Now, early childhood education (due to a disability) is also provided by the school district for those age 3 and up who have a diagnosed disability. However, that has a totally different focus based on the child’s issues might include OT, PT, Speech therapy, etc.

    Here is the quirk for half-day pre-K and working parents here. Many day cares will accommodate those who have morning pre-K in that parents drop off at school, the day care picks them up and keeps them the rest of the day. This is very similar to when they pick up for after school care, just earlier in the day.

    Very, very few will accommodate those with afternoon pre-K because parents would drop off at day care, then the child would be transported to school, the have to be transported back to day care until the parent picked up. The after school programs housed at the schools do not take the pre-K kids at all. So, often those who draw the afternoon slot, frequently just skip it and keep their kids in whatever care they have. The down side is these kids are then behind their peers who drew the morning session.

    As we both worked full time, when my kids were this age, they were in full time care. DD#1 did go to an “official” prek program that was half day with a teacher and half day in day care at a private school. It was not really what we expected and would not have suited DD#2. We left DD#2 in day care that was to focus on building school readiness, but this too was a fail as the center was in a transition and my kid was falling through the cracks. We ended up pulling her out a month before school started and doing a Sylvan program for 3 weeks, which she LOVED by the way, and she was right on track for school. Those 3 weeks were a huge juggle, but definitely worth it.

  20. I read the whole article, and her suggestion is to make some or all of high school half day to provide the funding for her free daycare. I’m calling this a total lack of self-awareness.

  21. My district offers public, half-day preschool, free for low-income or “at risk” kids (primarily due to developmental delays). The tuition cost is about 20% cheaper than what we pay for a private option with similar hours.

    Like many others, I’m primarily interested in socialization for my kid, and I find the peer group at the private option to be much more to my liking (I visited several preschools, including the public). Sigh. I think this is also why we’ll be looking to move school districts before the eldest is in first grade. . .

  22. “Thinking about the number of hours in a day and the amount of time per day I’m with my son, I could never teach him the skills and concepts learned in preschool. It’s impossible. Nor do I think a “daycare” will either.”

    Honestly, Rhode, I don’t think you need to worry about this at all. Your kid starts with a good gene pool, and then is going to grow up in a rich environment, surrounded by educated people who love him and spend time with him and use lots of big, rich words and talk about science and explain what money is and why the sky is blue and all that stuff. Kids in that kind of environment teach themselves — they are freaking sponges and want to understand all of that stuff. Your kid will be “ready” for kindergarten on his own, just because of who you all are and the environment he gets to grow up in.

    AND manymanymany daycares now advertise a “preschool” curriculum as a marketing ploy — around here, at least, it’s hard to find a center that does *not* advertise itself as providing preschool. So if you’re worried about socialization and his ability to sit still, follow orders, and fill out worksheets, then all you need to do is find a nearby daycare when he’s 4 and you’re good.

    Honestly, I don’t know why we now have this myth that pre-K is “required.” It used to be that K was “preschool,” because it was getting kids ready to start “real” school in first grade. I guess now that K academic standards are more like 1st grade used to be, there’s this perception that we need to move “school” back even earlier to get kids ready for it. But, wow, that bugs me. Yes, absolutely intervene and support for the kids who don’t have brilliant Rhode as a parent — but it pisses me off that Rhode has to feel pressured/worried that Jr. will be behind if she doesn’t kick the academics into gear by 3.

  23. When my child was in the public preK, one thing that was striking is that the staff taught in Spanish, rather than trying to get the non English speaking kids to learn English. That was one reason my youngest didn’t go. He had a speech delay and he needed help learning English. He wouldn’t get it at the public preK, but his daycare provider would work with him.

    As a fiscal conservative, I would be happy to pay for preK if only they would get the kids speaking English. Having a large native Spanish speaking population in the schools simply makes it harder to get through the coursework, for everyone.

  24. Rhett, the results of the Abecedarian and Perry studies have been disputed, but some argue they show meaningful improvement.

  25. my son goes a few hours a day Mon- Thurs at the public elementary school

    he was also able to attend last year due to special needs (ADHD)

    it has helped him a lot! being around the other kids, and having the routines, he will be in great shape for kinder next year

    I agree public pre-K should not be “daycare” hours

  26. ” It used to be that K was “preschool,” because it was getting kids ready to start “real” school in first grade. I guess now that K academic standards are more like 1st grade used to be, there’s this perception that we need to move “school” back even earlier to get kids ready for it. ”

    things have changed, like you said. DS does the same stuff (if not more than) I was doing in kinder

  27. “Typically, pre-K is similar to Head Start here. The child needs to be non-English speaking or limited English proficiency for pre-K.”

    Same here. However, even this was unavailable when my kids were that age. We did a private Montessori school that was amazing, and amazingly expensive. I still shudder at the cost. However, the kids loved it, and we loved it.

  28. I am in shock how much some of the private pre-schools are charging in areas like DC, I’m talking 12K a year for a few hours a day

  29. I wish could still just be kids, and have fun in K. The common core was supposed to insure standards across the states, but the implementation of the CC was left up to individual states and even school districts. In NY, my daughter was caught in the middle because the CC was implemented all at one time instead of starting with K or first grade. My daughter was in 3rd grade when it was implemented, so they had to play catch up. This created a lot of anxiety and work for the teachers and kids in 3/4/5 grades as they had to jump almost a year ahead in reading and math from the expectations/levels that existed when this cohort entered K.

    I can definitely see the benefits of the common core, but my daughter is in sixth grade. I don’t know why a K student has to know how to read by the end of the school year. It used to be that a child had to know their letters, and some three letter words by the end of K. The kids used to be able to play in K, and further develop their social and fine motor skills. The kitchen and legos used to be a large part of the K classrooms in my district. I can see that this has changed a lot in 5 years, and there is now less time for play in K since they are supposed to know how to read and write before first grade.

    If this is the expectation for all kids, then it does put families that can’t afford pre-K at a disadvantage unless they can teach their kids at home.

    Also, the cut off in NY state for K in NYC and many districts is still Dec 31. That means that there are 4 year olds in K. Many K teachers in my district still spend time teaching kids how to zip jackets and tie shoes for recess. There are kids that still have accidents because they’re so young.

  30. Why do public schools want to retain middle class families? Isn’t it cheaper for everyone if people who want more than what public schools offer pay for it themselves, either by homeschooling (where you pay in time/effort) or by attending a private school?

    In Colorado, the bulk of school funding is at the state level on a per-pupil basis, so when middle and upper class families take their kids out of the local public school, the school loses money. And the MC/UC kids usually do better on standardized tests.

    And how would it be cheaper for “everyone”? It’s definitely more expensive for the families who go to private school, because they are paying the tuition on top of their taxes. You don’t get a tax refund if you don’t send your kids to public school.

  31. Lauren, that’s why a lot of parents hold their kids back from starting K. The expectations are such that many kids – especially boys – who are at the correct age to start K are not emotionally ready for it.

  32. We had a patch work of daycare/preschool/grand parent care because it was around the time we moved. My oldest had daycare till about four and after that he went to a church preschool for half a year chosen primarily for its close proximity to our house. Second child stayed home with grandparents from two to three and then attended the same church preschool. We were more focused on settling into our jobs and buying a home and thinking past preschool at elementary school. DD taught herself to read using the Leapfrog Tag Reader that she got as a birthday gift. DS had more structure and had been in a school setting longer but they both adjusted to elementary school with no issues.

    @Rhode – little Rhodster will be fine !

  33. her suggestion is to make some or all of high school half day to provide the funding for her free daycare.

    As someone who felt they learned 2x as much in college as in high school, I say it’s a great idea. I bet if high school ran from 12:00 to 4:00 you would not only see no decline in outcomes, you’d see kids doing even better.

  34. “her suggestion is to make some or all of high school half day to provide the funding for her free daycare.

    As someone who felt they learned 2x as much in college as in high school, I say it’s a great idea. I bet if high school ran from 12:00 to 4:00 you would not only see no decline in outcomes, you’d see kids doing even better.”

    I think their learning would be fine…but what about these high school kids getting into shenanigans instead of butt in desk?

  35. We have a public preK for kids with diagnosed issues, and a lot of private options. Our kids go to a church-based preschool.

    I want a choice of preschools, and in my state having a decent public option for everyone seems to quickly drive out most of the private ones, especially the moderately-priced ones.

    For example, at the elementary level we have two independent schools and a Montessori with tuition around $20k, and two Catholic schools with tuition around $6k. I think all have very small classes – I’d be surprised if they serve more than 5% of the kids in town taken together. The town used to have 8 Catholic elementary schools and at least 5 independent elementary schools 30 years ago, but as the public school test scores improved and property taxes went up to pay for it, most of the private schools closed.

    I wonder if this author would really want her 3 year old in full time care at the districted elementary school, with no choice of program or teachers.

  36. but what about these high school kids getting into shenanigans instead of butt in desk?

    In the morning? They’d be asleep only grudgingly getting up at 11.

  37. I am a huge believer in preschool as a way to level the playing field. I know the research has been mixed, but some of the studies show very strong effects. Unfortunately, we do not have public pre-K here. My kids went to fullday (8 to 5) programs as we needed childcare. Their programs were NOT “warehouse the kid all day” kinds of programs. They were very high quality, and the kids were learning all the time. My boys went to a Y program, which was very progressive and almost my ideal of what quality preschool should be. The director and most of the teachers came from the Bank Street College ,which has a very particular approach to preschool which stresses blocks and building (“Very similar to play-based learning, Bank Street was developed by the Bank Street College in New York City. Advocates hold a child-centered philosophy and believe that children are “active learners, explorers, experimenters and artists” and benefit from a diverse curriculum. The system stresses the importance of materials in the classroom and views the teacher as a “facilitator of learning.” This method aims to help children make sense of the world around them by studying multiple aspects of social studies.” – http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/choosing/comparing-preschool-philosophies-montessori-waldorf-and-more/). My sense of the program was that it simply let the children fly. For my oldest in particular, it was probably the best educational program he ever was in, including his K12 years.
    My daughter, for a number of reasons, went to a Montessori all day preschool. I had changed jobs, and the Y was no longer convenient. Also, she is severely hyperactive, and we felt that the calm, quiet atmosphere at the Montessori would be good for her. And it was. It was a hard core Montessori program, which stressed what they call “practical life” – lots of sweeping and cleaning! They also did all the special Montessori materials. I really liked the way they encouraged focus.

    Now, I know there are lousy preschools out there – ones that push worksheets and drills, or dump the kids in front of a TV. I hope public pre-Ks do not devolve to that.

  38. Only private preschool where we live unless your child has special needs. I have mentioned it before, but I love my children’s preschool. DC has free public preschool. Everyone I know still sends their kids to a private preschool. But DC schools are an absolute mess despite spending a ton of money per student.

  39. Back when NYC just half day pre-K, the programs were seriously undersubscribed. Why? Because working parents couldn’t find half day childcare providers, and couldn’t drop everything in the middle of the day to go fetch their kids. From what I read, they had to go fullday to get more participation.

    I personally think that fullday pre-K is better for lower income kids than half day, because those are hours spent not being plopped in front of the TV or suffering in substandard care options. It probably doesn’t matter as much for higher income kids. Although I personally found my kids were far better off in fullday preschool than with a nanny (which we tried for 6 months)

  40. “I hope public pre-Ks do not devolve to that.”

    Devolve? IME, that’s where they start. All of the worksheets my kids did in their daycare “preschool” came from the “school-approved” workbooks.

  41. “guess now that K academic standards are more like 1st grade used to be, there’s this perception that we need to move “school” back even earlier to get kids ready for it. ”

    This is what I was going to say to Lauren’s comment about needing pre-K to get ready for school.

    The reason I support these programs for low-income kids, those who are most lacking the nurturing environment, or whose parents are largely dysfunctional or neglectful, or relentlessly critical or harsh, is to give them an experience where an adult is really nice and praises their finger painting, and where there are songs and toys and Play Doh.

    But you give the government full control over this, and before you know it, the fuck1ng UMC we talked about yesterday will see it as the next place to right all of society’s ills. Since AA kids won’t score as highly in the elementary school standardized tests, we’ll declare that preschool is failing them, and we’ll mandate all new tests and standards, and then the costs will explode…

    I like the voucher idea. Just get them to a place where they can play and color and go to a pumpkin farm in the Fall. Keep the bureaucrats as far away as possible.

  42. There are people in Seattle who are starting to create a true forest preschool system. This means six hours a day, every day, outside. It’s easy to say that this is workable in a place with a mild climate, but it is modeled after programs in Norway and Sweden which work in much more extreme situations. I would love for my children to have been able to go to something like this. Interestingly, the group starting this up in Seattle are not coming from it as educators, but on more of a business start up model. You can see it at tinytrees.org. I will be interested to follow how successful they are, and how many children they are truly able to serve. They also state that they should be able to do it at a cost of 25% less than a typical preschool.

  43. They also state that they should be able to do it at a cost of 25% less than a typical preschool.

    They won’t have the expense of mainaining a building since they’ll be outside all the time :)

  44. There seemed to be a lot of angst among Totebag parents I knew about preschool. They wanted their kids to do academic learning and play/practical learning but they sometimes could not decide if the school was doing it right. So that led to preschool merry go round. Since there are many preschool options where I live some kids have been to multiple preschools. Many schools are half a day because mothers are home with the kids.

  45. My kids never ever did a worksheet in preschool. Never. They had a vegetable garden, and ran a little farmers market with their produce. They staged the Three Piggy Opera. They did field trips all over the place, from the fire station down the block to the local university art gallery, to hiking trips. They built massive room sized structures out of blocks. They covered each other in some kind of foamy stuff (oy, was that a mess). They measured pumpkins and “wrote” journals. No worksheets.

    My oldest, when he finished preschool, was so far ahead that he really should have been placed into first grade instead of wasting a year in kindergarten. My middle kid started preschool with severe speech delays (he was actually nonverbal at the start), and unable to hold a pencil well enough to make a mark on paper. We really worried about him. But when he started K, he was completely ready, and ended up ahead of his class by the end of that year. I really do not think that could have happened without the two years of fullday preschool under his belt. The same for my daughter – while she didn’t have the serious delays, she was so hyperactive, and had so many weird issues that she really needed the preschool time. I doubt she would have made it through kindergarten without that socialization.

    One of the things that a good preschool does is get the kids ready for kindergarten so they can attend on time and not have to be held back. I think most of these kids who are too immature for kindergarten came from sheltered at-home backgrounds, where they never learned to cope with a more structured environment. It probably does not matter much for high income kids, but that is a killer problem for low income kids.

  46. “One of the things that a good preschool does is get the kids ready for kindergarten so they can attend on time and not have to be held back.”

    This. I’m sure everyone here is right and I’m fretting over nothing (borrowing worry as my friend likes to say). But, he’s already high risk for hearing issues (cleft and heredity), speech delay (cleft), and physical/emotional readiness (low-birth weight, IUGR). I’d rather work with him earlier so that he doesn’t have my trajectory (remedial classes in 1st through 3rd grades just to learn how to read).

    And the above statement proves that even though I say I’m a bad parent, I’m really not.

  47. Rhode, if your kid is high risk for hearing issues, be sure to have him evaluated by an audiologist who specializes in small children. My son of course was very high risk, so we skipped the screening tests and went straight for the soundbooth evaluation with an audiologist. Unfortunately, since he was two, the first audiologist, who was with the hospital and mostly worked with adults, could not get anything on him. The second audiologist, who we were sent to by the county (he was in Early Intervention at the time) mainly worked with school age kids and was also unable to get a good evaluation. Luckilly, she recognized that she did not have the expertise, and told us to go to a place that used two people for the soundbooth testing. That is what you need with a small child. There was only one place in the county that did that – a children’s rehab hospital – so we went there, and on the third try, finally got the good readings that showed he had bilaterial mod to severe sloping loss.

    I also very much believe in early intervention. My kid is a stellar example of how intervening early really pays off. The sped people in our district joke that he is the poster child for their Early Intervention and CPSE programs.

  48. Rhode – my oldest was at risk for a ton of issues due to his extremely low birth weight/early birth. He has been tested a bunch of times, I know a lot about his IQ, leaning style and issues. He did PT and OT through early intervention, had a nanny who was a former teacher and I worked with him a lot (which is to say, he had a lot of support and high quality care). His preschool was the single best thing we did for him. He really turned in to a different kid. I think the right preschool for a kid like him is very important.

  49. CoC – what about the 1 parent homes? Or the uninvolved parents? Wouldn’t some form of preschool help those kids? At least, as Milo said (i believe), support and cheer for the kids while they make a cotton ball snow man?

  50. Rhode — I’m sure you know this, but make sure you look into what Early Intervention has to offer. I know several people whose kids had assistance from EI at some point from age 0-3, and uniformly the parents say that EI helped their kids tremendously, and helped get the kids be ready for mainstream classrooms at the Pre-K-and-above level.

  51. Denver Dad, when I said “cheaper for everyone,” I meant “everyone” in the collective sense. Individual people will choose the level of educational quality that they are willing to pay for, in time or money, but many people, due to lack of money, will choose lower quality options. (Higher quality options cost more.) I’ve pondered how the available workforce in towns like Mooshi’s affects the quality of the resulting preschool.

    Based on my experiences, I can’t see public schools ever providing more than an adequate baseline. I agree with Murphy that public preschool is most important for kids who don’t learn English at home and I agree with the places that prioritize non-English speaking/special needs kids for public preschool.

  52. “Wouldn’t some form of preschool help those kids?”

    On the whole, there’s not much evidence that it does.

  53. MM – yesterday was the first full test. He’ll get another test at 1 year. We’ll be able to assess better from there. We have an ENT, audiologist, and speech pathologist (and therapists) through the surgical group that did his cleft. These doctors we have in the cleft team specialize in babies/kids with clefts so they were all set up for getting good evaluations from small ears.

    He’s also in Early Intervention because of his birth weight. That’s been a joke. The nutritionist comes out, comments on his eating and growth, tells us he’s not spending enough time on his tummy, and leaves. I think he may need some PT to loosen his arm/shoulder muscles, but E/I never assesses him. And when I ask, they say “oh we’ll get the specialist out to you” and I never hear from them again. Until the next month when we repeat the dog-and-pony show. I have a very poor opinion of EI. They were supposed to follow-up with us 3 days after discharge… that never happened. The follow-up occurred more than a month later when the NICU team found out and forced the request through. DS goes for a well visit at the ped next week and we’ll be asking about it then.

  54. Basically, NoB and Cat are convincing me I should be more of a pain to EI. Maybe it’s time to get that back on our radar.

  55. Rhode- EI is awesome for the kids when the services are set up and appropriate. EI is AWFUL for the parents to get the services set up and make sure they are appropriate. It can be a part time job. Good luck and feel free to reach out with any specific questions or concerns. Happy to share our experience.

  56. I didn’t really think EI did much. I think intervening early is important. I am not sure the actual EI program did much for us. His preschool really did a fantastic job. Knowing what I know now, I would do private therapy and start at a high quality preschool as early as possible.

  57. ““Wouldn’t some form of preschool help those kids?”

    On the whole, there’s not much evidence that it does.”

    For my part, the benefits that I described earlier are not ones that could ever be measured quantitatively. But remember, my program would be very simple and fun. And with a limited budget, I might have the school and staff operate five days per week, with a different class cycling through each day. Maybe we’d make that one day a long, full day to make it logistically simpler for childcare arrangements.

    As for EI, I know at least one parent whose kid got County-funded PT for her toddler. He improved, but she’s the first one to say “How are we supposed to know if it was the PT, or he just grew out of it?” But she’s a Science PhD, so that mindset comes naturally.

  58. Rhode, there are regulations in place that state how long the county has to get the evaluations done. It is something like 30 days maybe? 90 days? It has been so long. Anyway, our EI people were almost desperate to get the evals done so they wouldn’t be pinged for going over the deadlines. It was very hard to get my son scheduled because he was still doing outpatient treatment then, and was in clinic several days a week. Finally, they sent someone to MSKCC and did the eval there!
    My son ended up qualifying for speech, PT, and OT. The quality varied of course. He always had awesome speech people though. Later, in CPSE, he also qualfied for a SEIT (special ed itinerant teacher) who came to his preschool (yes, the one I am raving about) and worked with him there. She also worked a lot with the preschool teachers. I was never big on the OT (hello, brushing for a severely PTSD kid???), and one of the PT people was a disaster. But the cumulative effect of all that therapy did pay off. Oh, and because he was classified as “fail to thrive” because he was so underweight, we also got free cans of Pediasure!

  59. “But you give the government full control over this, and before you know it, the fuck1ng UMC we talked about yesterday will see it as the next place to right all of society’s ills. … then the costs will explode…

    I like the voucher idea. … Keep the bureaucrats as far away as possible.”

    Good idea — why not extend that to K-12.

  60. Well, my kid’s biggest special need was the hearing loss, though he had other needs at first too. Research has definitely shown that early therapy works for kids with hearing loss. In fact, it is the biggest factor in the amazing change in outcomes for hearing loss kids. In the old days, kids with hearing loss struggled to learn to read and were typically way behind academically by the time they got to high school. The problem was that interventions didn’t start until first grade, and that was too late. The kids had already lost so much language, and couldn’t catch up in phonemic awareness. Now that they start working aggressively with these kids in the first year, their reading outcomes are much better.

  61. I can’t see public schools ever providing more than an adequate baseline.

    I’m curious about that statement. How much do you think the best school could do to raise that baseline?

  62. “Good idea — why not extend that to K-12.”

    I’m OK with a little more quality control and micromanagement in Real School. If you want to give preschool kids a voucher of my tax money to go muck about in the woods for eight hours a day, have at it. But when they’re older, I want some measured results of the three R’s.

  63. Rhett,
    The best school for whom? Other countries focus more on optimizing the education of the students most capable of learning. The US spends 25% of its educational dollars on various disability/special ed/intervention services. Our educational system is focused on getting everyone up to some baseline.

    Or are we trying to “close the gap” between low socioeconomic status and high socioeconomic status kids? The best way to do that is to threaten the higher income kids with getting beaten up if they screw the curve.

  64. The big push a year ago was to free breakfast in public schools regardless of income. After the program was launched with great fanfare I haven’t seen any follow up on how many kids are eating the breakfast, any observed benefits etc.

  65. Other countries focus more on optimizing the education of the students most capable of learning.

    I assume you agree that your rural Iowa high school wasn’t optimized to educate those most capable of learning. Let us assume it had been, how would your life arc have been different?

  66. Rhode, I hope the schools in your state are different now than the schools you attended as a child. We have a lot of kids with all sorts of physical and learning disabilities in our district. Except for the extreme cases, a child like your son would not be in the separate classes for elementary. I hope that your schools have co taught, or similar that will allow him to be in a regular class. We have three kids in my daughter’s grade with hearing issues. The teachers wore a special device to insure the kids could hear. The little boy with almost no hearing is still in a regular class, but he has an aide with him for certain subjects.

    I don’t know what the experience is of other posters, but I saw that 25-35% of my DD’s class got pulled out of a regular elementary class each day for literacy, OT, speech, etc There are decent number of kids that get assistance, and the kids in my daughter’s grade are just used to this arrangement. I think it is different from our childhood because these kids are used to kids with all sorts of arrangements.

  67. I think schools do a pretty good job, considering how many single parent families the US has compared to, say, Japan or China or Korea or Europe. If I were president, my top priority would be developing long term, reversible male contraception. And I’d pay everyone, male or female, a bonus when they received long-term,reversible contraception.

  68. WCE,

    We’ve made kindergarten a lot more academically intense because earlier is better apparently (not that the evidence for this is very compelling.) Then you have kids who do well so they need to be in G&T programs where they can advance at an accelerated pace. Fine, then you have someone who has everything under their belt at 15. So, send them to college? Well…they aren’t mature enough for that. OK, then we have a 3 year gap. What do we do? Start in on college level work? Then college only needs to be a year? Or, if it’s 4 years it’s mostly review of topics covered in high school? Or, it’s grad school? Then what does grad school become?

    I’m not really sure what we can be doing better in terms of lower middle class to affluent school districts.

  69. “In particular, the two-parent family is a social institution offering a type of support for children that government cannot seem to match.”

    I agree with CoC. To some degree I think that we are treating the symptom and not the disease. If we focus all of our energies on the children and don’t help to improve the families from which they spring it won’t likely work. There was a study a while back that said that kids who came from homes with lots of books did better than those who had few books, but the cause wasn’t the books or lack thereof but the kind of people who either had a lot of books or not. Don’t want to get too political but I think that guaranteeing a living wage for people who are working 50 hrs a week would go a long way to righting a lot of these problems. One thing I learned from working with the Medicaid population is that it is terribly difficult to help a child without helping the parent.

  70. Then again I’m in MA where if we were our own country our public school students would be 2 in science and 3 in math, even if you include city states like Singapore. So, maybe in other parts of the country a lot more can be done.

  71. Is it possible that MA has such a highly educated population BECAUSE its schools are so good? I know, I know, chicken and egg. But saying that Alabama can’t at least make efforts to having better schools because its population isn’t educated is just throwing our collective hands in the air.

  72. I don’t know how long Mass. schools have been good but I have been out of high school for twenty years. I remember going to college and my adviser saying that the Massachusetts kids consistently tested out of requirements.

  73. Our preschool was a fancy play-based one, similar to what MM described except based on Reggio Emilia rather than Bank Street. It was great, but not cheap.

    We don’t really have public preschool here. There are about half a dozen pre-K students at my kids’ former elementary (versus kindergarten class of around a hundred) but I think they’re part of an early intervention program, at least judging by what I’ve seen over the years at school concerts.

  74. “Is it possible that MA has such a highly educated population BECAUSE its schools are so good?”

    Well, seems like a self-reinforcing cycle, yes? If you have a population that is highly-educated and making good money in professional-type jobs/careers, they’re likely to attribute a big part of their success to their education, and so they will likely put a high priority on education in political decisionmaking. OTOH, if you have a population that is not highly-educated but is doing ok (e.g., Millionaire-Next-Door kinds of jobs in a low COL area, who have built perfectly comfortable, happy lives), then they’re likely to think that education isn’t as necessary and so will put a lower priority on funding it.

  75. As usual, I agree with LfB.

    From my high school, I also observe that almost all the people in the top decile moved to another state and have a professional job. As the population has become more mobile, it also has become more stratified. (Charles Murray wrote a book on it.) Boston has bright, educated people moving in and probably some less educated people forced out (by the cost of housing or whatever).

    Lauren’s comment about kids receiving extra services is very different from my kids’ school. I think few children receive extra support, and based on demographics, they are probably more in need of it. My kids are in first grade with a new first grade teacher who has a class of 30 children and no aide. The library in the newly re-opened K-1 building has only early reader books, according to my kids. It has no chapter books. I need to confirm that and then check with the Future Elementary School Teachers of America moms about what to do. I may wind up springing for a set of Boxcar Children books from Scholastic.

  76. I am not optimist about free universal preschool. Free means the Totebaggy parents will pay for the best program thereby moving their kids out of the program leaving all of the kids who most need help. It also means there will no way to pay for the caliber of person who can make a difference in a child’s life. This reality is also very different from a study setting involving taking some kids from a bad home and sending them to good schools, with good staff and good peers.

  77. I expressly did not want my kids to read before kindergarten because I didn’t want them to spend years staring out the window bored. And they all started on the young side. They attended low grade preschool or at home care, not for enrichment or socialization but so mom could have a little relief. My DIL uses preschool for the same reason, although in her high achievement town the bar is much higher than in the mixed city my kids started in.

    I happen to agree with WCE that the role of government schooling is to provide a baseline education. Under our system of govt, local and state control means that there will be huge variations regionally. I am happy to live right where I do.

  78. WCE, I suggest you go straight to the librarian with your offer to fund the purchase of some chapter books. They most likely have to order through some specific system, and they may or may not have the ability to readily add donated books from outside via the ISBN.

  79. @WCE – just curious about your comment…
    Future Elementary School Teachers of America moms

    Do you think that’s what the kids of these parents will end up as ? or do you think that’s what they want for their kids (I am assuming girls).

  80. And WCE, there is a long standing stable working class population in eastern MA. They live in multifamily housing often owned by relatives or members of their tight immigrant communities tight to four or more generations. There are certainly financial barriers to moving here for low wage work, but the first reason most people don’t want to come is the climate.

  81. The girls I’m thinking of are bright, coordinated, follow-the-rules sort of people. I think both moms would be OK with their daughters being elementary school teachers. One is a retired model with lots of interesting hobbies who previously lived in NY/LA and moved here so her children could have idyllic childhoods. One mom is a good friend who returned to her engineering career last August and was promoted to engineering manager within a year. But so far, her daughter is more quiet and compliant than she was as a child. She not only didn’t go to first grade (her parents left her at a commune for a year and no one bothered to enroll her) but she was only intermittently fed at that age. So we’ve had talks about when to worry and when not to worry in order to be a good mom.

  82. Meme said “I expressly did not want my kids to read before kindergarten because I didn’t want them to spend years staring out the window bored. ”

    I just totally don’t get this line of reasoning. If a kid is too bright for the school system, he or she is going to spend years staring out the window bored whether or not an early reader. Why hold a kid back?

    My oldest was the only one who started K already reading. And in his case, it wasn’t a choice I even got to make. He was going to read no matter what. Trying to stop him would have been like trying to hold back a river. Neither I nor my husband nor any adult had anything to do at all with his learning to read. He was just going to.

    My middle kid was not reading when he hit K, mainly because of his delays. He learned in K, and was reading short chapter books by the end. He is the one who suffers most by being way ahead of everyone else. He always is bored and feels out of sync with his peers, Yet he was not reading when he started school.

  83. “here is a long standing stable working class population in eastern MA. They live in multifamily housing often owned by relatives or members of their tight immigrant communities tight to four or more generations. ”

    This is my DH’s family, although they are in CT rather than MA. There are a lot of similarities of population in the two states.

  84. The chicken and egg thing is interesting… and I see where WCE’s proposal makes sense.

    Help the parents out by creating contraceptives that work long term (WCE, I saw a blurb yesterday about a male birth control pill… so we’re getting there!). This allows people to choose when to become a parent (with all the associated caveats).

    While that’s cooking, real change needs to occur. Does the government do a good job with education? Probably not. But creating metrics that make sense, working with the teachers to create the metrics, and working with the teachers to explore the best paths of education. (I’ve never agreed with the one-sized-fits-most, and I know we, as a nation, can do better). The state to state variation is the tricky situation. It’s not just tied to the self-selecting cycle of high quality education, but also how the schools are funded. I haven’t a clue as to how to make this happen – but I do think that maybe it’s time to change the status quo.

  85. WCE, I wonder if my comment about services in NY is similar to some of the other comments about quality of schools in MA. It is how the system works in NY…and in most cases the system is generous.

    I know that some districts in NY offer a lot of special services, but if you look at the overall spending in the catch all bucket of “special education”in NY state – it is high. In addition, anyone can get these services paid for by their school district if their child qualifies for the service. There is NO income test in NY state. If you are a billionaire with a child that needs speech – your child gets the services paid for by the city or district. There are many cases of parents having to fight hard for the services, or even sue – but it will be paid for if there is agreement that the child qualifies.

    There are certain districts in Westchester that might specialize in certain services, and kids get bused at taxpayer expense to the right public school. We even have neighbors that have kids bused to private schools if the public schools can not offer the right help.

    yes, the school taxes are very high in NY state…but if you have a child that really needs services – you can navigate the system and get it here. Certain districts have reputations for easier/harder special ed, and people know the reputations of many towns. I recently bought carpet from a store, and the guy told me that he lives in a different town near me. He started to gush about his town, and how they spend over $200,000 per school year(!!) on his kid. He told me that he would never move because his kid gets everything he needs. I have a neighbor with a similar kid in my town. The doctor screwed up during the delivery of her son. He has a lot of issues now. He has special transportation, and he has a personal aide. His mother told me that there are approx 20 kids in each of our three schools with a one to one aide for a severe disability. She said that there are another 20 -30 aides in each school for the kids with mild disabilities.

    The state does pay a portion of some of the expense for these kids, but a lot of these expenses go straight back to the taxpayers in the district.

  86. WCE, is the K-1 school close to the upper elementary school so they could go to that library?

    DD’s classroom only includes books that are a few levels too low for her, and at the next conference I’m going to ask that she be allowed to pick from the older grades’ collections or bring in what she’s reading at home. The answer will be no, but at least I can tell her I tried.

  87. “So we’ve had talks about when to worry and when not to worry in order to be a good mom.”

    I need to meet this woman.

    On EI – DH and I had a quick conversation – we are going to put on our Jersey ‘tudes and make the assessment happen. I’d rather know he’s OK and is developing on target than find out in 3-5 years he’s not and we could have alleviated it.

  88. HM, good point about books for the library. I think the library is open half-days on Tuesdays and run by one of the classified staff then. I will likely ask the teacher at conferences about books if I haven’t heard from the other mothers… my children are not terribly reliable sources of information and we go to the public library, so I’m not too worried about my kids. The PTC may fund some books and some other teachers may have surplus credits with Scholastic. I know the Scholastic book fair is how the school has gotten library/classroom books in the past.

    Lauren, kids with extraordinary special needs go to schools that offer special education. There are classified staff that help with individual reading assessments, etc. My engineering manager friend said that when she volunteered, she spent most of her time working with the two kids who were well below grade level in reading, so I suspect that special services for children in the normal range are quite limited.

  89. Sky, my children’s teacher will let them bring in books from home. I approached it as, “How do we get appropriate level books in the classroom for DC?” If they say the books are at DC’s reading level, I talk about what DC is reading at home. If they disagree with my assessment, I request a formal assessment. I ostentatiously take notes and, if it seems appropriate, follow up with the teacher on our conversation and copy the principal. I also cooperate with the FESTA mothers so I’m not always the bad guy. In kindergarten, my manager friend ran the “Let’s let our children reading chapter books check out chapter books” gauntlet.

  90. @Rhode: apropos of nothing at all, other than you made me think of it, DH is stuck in corporate training this week, and this was his morning email: “But I have a killer impromptu talk on the impact of southern jersey dialect from the 1980s on America.”

  91. LfB – LMAO! Yup… I think I may have seen that talk… it played on repeat when I TA’d during grad school…

  92. “I don’t know what the experience is of other posters, but I saw that 25-35% of my DD’s class got pulled out of a regular elementary class each day for literacy, OT, speech, etc”

    IME most of those pull-outs are for academic intervention services that would not be needed if schools used proficiency grouping. As it stands now, pulling out students for services is very inefficient and disruptive. For example, a student with attention issues might be pulled out for extra math help, but then misses out on important classroom instruction/information while he’s out. So this student is assigned a peer “teacher” who is supposed to help him on stuff he missed out in class, but that doesn’t always work out very well. It’s all quite counterproductive, inefficient, and pushes up costs.

  93. “we are going to put on our Jersey ‘tudes and make the assessment happen.” — :) That’s the attitude!

  94. WCE, I am aware that these services don’t exist in many other places. It is really unfair that so many kids don’t get the help they need in the early grades. It keeps circling back to the other comments that better educated parents know that they have to try to live in areas where literacy specialists etc. will be available to their children. These are probably the same parents that will fight to get the right IEP, or school for their child.

  95. Two thoughts: Head Start is surprisingly expensive ($8K per year if I remember correctly) and the research on its impact is unimpressive. And one can finance pre-K through vouchers / backpack funding, rather than having govt in the business of operating pre-K’s.

  96. Lauren, I think it’s partly a different parenting/government services model. I’m not convinced a specialist would do any better than my manager friend did at helping below grade level kids learn to read. I think the volunteer art teacher/mom is incredibly talented. I arranged my schedule to be able to volunteer with the math club. I think some services provided professionally in higher income level/higher tax areas are provided by parents (usually moms) in schools like mine.

    I don’t think the model in your schools is sustainable in lower income areas.

  97. Mooshi, I didn’t prevent anyone from reading, but I didn’t encourage it or drill them in printing lower and upper case. The girls started kindergarten at 4 and a half, so it sort of took care of itself

  98. “‘Is it possible that MA has such a highly educated population BECAUSE its schools are so good?”

    Of because it has so many colleges?

    “Boston has bright, educated people moving in”

    It also has a lot of bright people moving in to be educated.

  99. Hijack question, complete unrelated to the OP: How do you fold towels? Is the first fold along the long axis of the towel, or the short axis?

  100. “one thing that was striking is that the staff taught in Spanish, rather than trying to get the non English speaking kids to learn English. ”

    I would see that as a feature, not a bug.

    DD’s daycare provider, before she started preschool, was a Filipina whose native tongue is Ilocano. Her English is quite good, and she spoke to the kids she cared for in English, but I wish she’d have spoken to the kids in Ilocano. I think besides knowing some Ilocano, DD would be having an easier time in her Latin class now, and would also have an easier time picking up other languages.

  101. Finn, if you lived in Germany, would you want your daughter’s teachers to try to teach her in English at school or to try to teach her German? I think kids who don’t speak English at home can benefit a lot from teachers who speak English and, ideally, are bilingual.

  102. WCE, I don’t disagree with you about the benefit for kids in the US who live in non-English speaking homes. But my kids don’t live in such a home, and would’ve benefited more from an non-English speaking day care or preschool environment than an English-speaking one. At my kids’ school, a lot of parents pay a lot of money for that.

    For your hypothetical question, since my kids would be living in an English-speaking home, I think I’d want them to be spoken to in German while in school in Germany.

  103. Murphy, it’s not a matter of not wanting non-English speaking kids not to learn English. From a more selfish perspective, I’d want my kids to learn Spanish.

  104. Finn,

    It’s a difference in perspectives and environment. The Spanish speaking kids speak Spanish at home and on the playgrounds. I would like to live in my community for the rest of my life. I would also like my kids to live reasonably close, and I would like to live in a middle class values, socioeconomically integrated community. The kids who don’t speak English fluently by early elementary, with few exceptions, don’t master the language well enough to pass as educated adults. This severely limits their opportunities. It is painful to hear a sixteen year old wistfully comment on the difference between my kids’s vocabulary and his on the way home from a speech contest.

    I don’t think public education can affect the chances of an immigrant kid becoming a Wall Street financier, however, it should be able to take a kid whose parents didn’t make it past 8th grade, through no fault of their own, and get them college ready.

    This somewhat ties into yesterday’s topic. The UMC position seems to be that bilingual education is a good thing, however, if you are only going to speak one language fluently, for economic security, that language needs to be English.

  105. Murphy, I don’t disagree with any of what you say, especially about the benefit to the Spanish-speaking kids of being able to speak English.

    But given the reality of preK being taught in Spanish, I would not see that, in and of itself, being a reason to not send my kid to that preK: from the very narrow perspective of what is best for my family, I would see it as a benefit of that preK for my kid, even if it were not what was best for the Spanish speaking kids.

    I’m wondering if the Spanish speaking kids who went to Spanish speaking preK had better long-term results than the Spanish speaking kids who did not go to preK at all.

  106. My first encounter with public school system, as an adult, occurred about twenty years ago. One of our employees was having difficulty with his child’s school and wanted our help. He wanted his child to learn English. The school had the child in “bilingual” education which meant that the child never heard English, not at home, because his parents spoke Spanish and indigenous Peruvian, not at school because they taught in Spanish.

    I believe one of the reasons California outlawed bilingual education several years ago was because on similar situations. The schools weren’t even pretending to teach English.

  107. I agree with Milo’s comment. Preschool and daycare are not the same animal. My kids also attended a morning preschool program at a church. It was a bit of a mad dash to get your kid into one of these programs. There were not enough spaces for everyone that needed one. Now, 12-15 years later, the tide has turned. More parents need daycare, not AM preschool, and some of these programs have closed due to lack of enrollment.

    There was a huge, ongoing fight spanning a couple of years when a before and afterschool care program (for kids attending the school) was brought into our elementary school. Basically, it was the SAHP vs. the WP, and the primary gripe was that the program was using resources (indoor school space and the playground) that should be used for before and after school student activities (scouts, plays, etc.), not daycare. We were one off the last schools to have such a program and we got it because a new principal supported it – the old one did not. The fighting was ugly . . . cars were keyed and a group tried to impeach the PTA President who supported the program. Initially, I didn’t get involved fracas. I wasn’t working at the time. A year later I did need the program and it was a godsend and I stepped up to actively support the program. The program become very popular, especially as the demographics of the town changed and more families have two working parents. My neighbors with younger kids are surprised when I tell them how hard it was to implement the program and the struggles we went through to keep it.

  108. Finn, my oldest didn’t get into the public preK. My middle one did, and my youngest had a significant speech delay. Putting him into a preK that operated in a foreign language would have done him a disservice. He had enough difficulty speaking the language he heard all the time, without adding another one.

    I don’t know how the results line up between the Spanish kids who went to preschool and those who didn’t. That would be an interesting study, although too politically radioactive for anyone to do or fund.

  109. My kids have Scout meetings after school in the cafeteria. It’s great, because it’s one less thing that we have to drive them to. Just one easy pickup.

    The kids who go to aftercare board those little van-buses and are transported offsite. I don’t see what difference it makes to those parents whether they pick their kid up from the school or from the aftercare center.

    “The fighting was ugly . . . cars were keyed ”

    Yikes!

  110. Murphy, did your middle kid learn Spanish in the preK?

    I would think that beyond the advantages I mentioned above, being conversant in Spanish is a particularly useful skill where you live.

  111. “My kids have Scout meetings after school in the cafeteria. It’s great, because it’s one less thing that we have to drive them to. Just one easy pickup.”

    That’s how I felt when DD got on the school team. So much more convenient than the club team.

    It also reminds me of one of the preschools we vetted. That school invited piano teachers, gymnastics instructors, etc., come to the school and teach, eliminating the need for parents to ferry kids to those activities.

  112. Finn, she learned to count to twenty and the alphabet. It has been ten years, so I don’t know that any of it has stuck. She is in her second year of Spanish, but, last year, the teacher was having significant personal problems and couldn’t manage to teach anything. DD got an A+ in the class and knows very little. Of course, she does know all the bad words.

  113. “She is in her second year of Spanish, but, last year, the teacher was having significant personal problems and couldn’t manage to teach anything.”

    What is it with young Spanish teachers? I had mostly really good teachers, but my Spanish teacher in 9th grade was there for about a week, then she said she was planning to take a leave of absence to try to deal with that illness that makes you fall asleep at random times. She spent the next few class periods discussing this illness and lecturing us that we should be more aware of it and the issues its sufferers face daily. We got a sub who didn’t speak a lick of Spanish. We knew more from middle school classes than she did.

    The teacher came back a few months later and, after about a month, she said she was going to be absent for a while because she was going through the process to legally change her surname to add the “Da” back to the beginning. She spent a few class periods talking about how awful it was that so many immigrants had their names changed by Americans. We got the same sub again for at least a few more months. I can’t remember if Senorita Da____ ever did come back or not.

  114. Milo,

    This teacher isn’t particularly young, She is late 30s to early 40s. My kids and I know far more about her personal problems than anyone but her therapist should know. She has tenure. It is a hassle to hire a teacher, and a hassle to fire one, so nothing will be done.

  115. CoC, proficiency grouping would not have helped my son, since he needed extra help on things that no other kid in his school needed (phonemic awareness, listening stratgies, etc). I also think proficiency grouping is very hard to get right in elementary school, since kids are all over the place in terms of their abilities. I went to one school as a kid that really tried – we did not have the one teacher/one class model that most elementary schools follow. Instead, we changed classes and teachers according to subject. That way, the proficiency grouping could be done by subject. We were also tested frequently and moved between groups as needed. I think that model can work – they were even willing to move me into a 4th grade math group when I was in 3rd and tested above the highest 3rd grade group. But it was tricky to do, and the parents hated it. I think they finally gave up on it some years later.

  116. My high school’s Spanish teacher was part of a love triangle-then-quadrangle that also involved a 7th grade boy. However, the teacher’s direct part in it was limited to an appropriate-aged man.

    And what is up with the long-term subs who don’t speak the language they’re teaching? I’ve heard of it in real life and it even shows up as a minor plot point in one of my daughter’s favorite books — http://www.amazon.com/Life-Magical-Beings-Rehabilitation-Center-ebook/dp/B0059W2A8E — main character is introduced to the M.B.R.C. after discovering that her non-Spanish-speaking sub is also a vampire.

  117. HM, I think it is the same reason that science subs don’t know anything about science and math subs are innumerate. The district is looking for a warm body in front of the classroom. Although the vampire would be a complete fail on that point.

  118. Yes, he was an incompetent sub all around, but apparently that wasn’t a concern for the administration! A surprisingly realistic portrayal for a book with so many fantastic creatures in it ^_^.

  119. Reading the comments about a different language being spoken at home…DS in kindergarten and first grade based on tests was classified as needing help with his speech. The school sort of classed us as Non English speaking immigrants. We speak English at home but the grandparents speak a dialect which the kids understand though do not speak. I don’t know if this was the cause of DS’s issues. Whatever, it was it all went away by second grade. There are many Spanish speaking families at the kids school with parents of varying English abilities. However, all the kids speak fluent English and are bilingual because they speak Spanish at home.

  120. On the same note I recall students in the home country being miffed at being required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for colleges in the U.S.

  121. I’m amazed at how hard it is for our district to find competent language teachers. You would think that in the DC area we would be crawling with people who can teach and speak myriad languages.

    “Head Start is surprisingly expensive ($8K per year if I remember correctly) and the research on its impact is unimpressive.” I wonder what would happen if we just gave these families $8K per kid per year? Maybe it would give them the stability they need to raise them properly or maybe it would turn folks into a bunch of Duggars. We sure are spending a lot of money trying to solve this problem.

  122. TLC is filming a series of Duggar specials featuring the two married daughters and their young families. I’m relieved beyond words.

    I’m sure TLC is testing the waters, hoping to get it back to a regular series. Five million viewers tuned in for their weddings–TLC is thinking that their cash cow still has some milk to give.

  123. $8000/year is not that much money for preschool. What are the Head Start hours? We were paying 23K per year for the Montessori, and that was about par for the course for quality fullday childcare.

  124. “$8000/year is not that much money for preschool.”

    It’s been a while, but I think we paid about $700/mo for our kids’ Montessori preschool. Taking into account inflation and about a 9 month school year, that’s pretty close to $8k/year.

    I don’t think that included the afterschool care from about 2 to 5:30.

  125. Hmm. Aftercare at our kids’ school is at the school. They also don’t have outside activities come into the school except for language practice.

    In DH’s corner of CA in the 80s, every child in his district had to take ESL class…no differentiation by what language was spoken at home!

    I am jealous of everyone with reading 4yos. It is hard for me to be patient with #1 child.

  126. L – not everyone has reading 4yos. Some 4 yr olds loved picture books and very slowly transitioned to chapter books. A little later kid heard audio book while reading the text. Kids progress at different paces and it is sometimes hard for natural readers to understand that the written words don’t come so easily to everyone.

  127. Did not read EVERY comment, so I may have missed something.

    Regarding education is MA — The Peabody sisters—Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (May 16, 1804-January 3, 1894), Mary Tyler Peabody Mann (November 16, 1807-February 11, 1887), and Sophia Amelia Peabody Hawthorne (September 21, 1809-February 26, 1871)—were champions of reform movements, pioneers in modern educational theory, founders of the kindergarten movement in America and supporters of the arts. The Peabody Sisters of Salem is a great read!

  128. AustinMom – just looked the book up on Amazon: there are two biographies, the one you mentioned, and another. It sounds like they were in the thick of things in 19th century Massachusetts, and had quite famous husbands: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Horace Mann!

  129. “I don’t think the model in your schools is sustainable in lower income areas.”

    It’s hardly sustainable even in high-income areas.

    This is the model for special education services in most areas, both high- and low-income:
    School does a cursory job attempting to ascertain special needs.
    When a student is discovered to have special needs, school does the minimum needed to not run afoul of regulations.
    Parents of children with special needs who see that their children need more than the school provides and who have the resources will fight tooth and nail, sometimes with the help of lawyers, to get their children more services.
    Rinse and repeat.

    Basically:

    The laws protecting kids with special needs are very generous in U.S. public schools, but the schools are very good at not enforcing the laws….

    It’s cheaper for the school district to fight one or two parents in court than it is to give in on all the services.

  130. “School does a cursory job attempting to ascertain special needs.
    When a student is discovered to have special needs, school does the minimum needed to not run afoul of regulations.
    Parents of children with special needs who see that their children need more than the school provides and who have the resources will fight tooth and nail, sometimes with the help of lawyers, to get their children more services.
    Rinse and repeat.”

    This bothers me to NO end. For every one of us, the educated (and over educated) with resources, there are at least 10 people without the education or resources. So by letting those kids slip through the cracks, we are punishing the children because of the parents. That’s definitely a way to keep class warfare going.

  131. “That’s definitely a way to keep class warfare going.”

    That’s a feature, not a bug. We just pretend otherwise. The UMC has decided that no child of theirs should ever be just a B/C student. If that’s what they would have been in a prior generation, now they must get accommodations. We can’t afford that level of accommodations for everyone, so they go to the kids with the loudest parents.

  132. on Spanish teachers, my HS had 2, one was a long term teacher I had several years. The other position seemed to open up every year, when I read the Harry Potter series, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position made me think of this

  133. I don’t know. I think back to the kids I went to school with and those who didn’t do well probably did have issues that could have been addressed so that they could have been educated more effectively. For my generation, there were lots of cases of undiagnosed ADHD, kids on the spectrum, etc. School could have been a much kinder place for those kids had they received some accommodations instead of a place to survive for 12 years. The practical problem is that there just isn’t enough money to tailor each child’s educational experience to fit his needs. So of course those with money, time and education get their children the accommodations. Just like in every other facet of life. Money helps.

  134. “I wonder what would happen if we just gave these families $8K per kid per year?”

    We’d have bigger families among the poor

  135. +1, Cat. I can remember several kids who would have benefited from interventions other than being categorized as stupid or difficult. A couple of them dropped out as soon as they finished 10th grade. Kind of a waste.

  136. Rhode – think of that Atlantic article that WCE linked. The author’s nephew went to a mediocre state school for an easy major, took six years to graduate, and was so unmotivated that he didn’t even realize he had taken the same course twice. Still, he got a reasonably steady job at a call center, but to the author, and presumably the kid’s parents, this meant the system had “failed him.”

    Clearly, what they expect of the system is that kids with parents in the top socioeconomic decile are supposed to receive grades in the top decile, be entertained along the way, and then graduate to jobs with incomes in the top decile for the age. Any deviation from this is a failure of the system. Call center jobs are for other people. For whom, specifically? That’s better left unsaid, because in this case we can’t just brush it off as something for those who don’t work as hard in school.

    So yeah, minimizing social mobility is ultimately the entire point.

  137. Of course there are kids who would benefit from interventions.

    Who WOULDN’T benefit from interventions?

    I remember playing basketball–a lot of us would have benefitted from a lower net height, rather than just being classified as mediocre players.

  138. I would venture to guess that most people on this board would have had no meaningful improvement had they been given accommodations because they are neurotypical. I certainly wouldn’t have. Learning disorders are real and should be addressed. It is sad that not every child who has them gets them addressed. This is not the same thing as UMC lamenting that their kids aren’t as driven as they wish they were.

  139. It goes back to the argument about that golfer who wanted to use a cart on the PGA tour. What shortcomings are not germane to the underlying process and should therefore be accommodated (obviously, hearing issues should count here), and what are just naturally occurring aspects of the person that should be allowed to factor into the ranking process?

    When Lauren and CoC talk about a third of the class getting special instruction in Math, for example, it would seem that we’ve put a few of these shortcomings in the wrong category.

  140. Well, not everybody with a special needs kid whose public schools won’t/can’t provide services and/or accommodations sues. Yeah, quite a number of people do and the loudest ones win. But at what cost?

    It’s not just money. It’s time. One has to demonstrate that the school is not meeting the kid’s needs. That takes time. Assembling experts takes time. The administrative and then legal process is at a snail’s pace. If one succeeds, one’s kid has spent 2 or 3 years in a school system that is not addressing his or her needs. Ultimately, if the school does address the needs, the school constantly needs to be monitored, and should they falter the process begins again.

    So as not to waste years of the kid’s or their lives, the parents of means are forced to put the kids into private, specialized schools. At great expense. The school districts know this.

  141. Thank you Cat. I was writing that, then had to return to work…

    I’m talking about true needs. I’ve watched kids with true needs fall through the cracks (hell, my kid is one of them). For every one of me (who is spending time shaking trees) there are countless people who can’t or don’t know how to shake trees. It’s those people who need help. Public education is failing them. And the way the system is set up now will continue to fail them. That is class warfare. That is NOT a feature.

  142. I understand that time and money are a factor. But why is the process so damn bureaucratic? Teachers spend more time with kids than the parents do during the week. Teachers notice when students have issues (hopefully). There should be an easy way to say “Johnny is really struggling. Let’s see if he needs a boost, or there is an underlying issue”. But there isn’t – at least not systematically. That’s the problem – the districts with means (like parents with means) make that assessment happen. The others just sweep it under the rug because it costs too much (in time and money). Unless the parents pick up on it, they probably will never know. And that’s the sad part, those are the people who need the most help.

    We reward the people who were lucky. And while that’s the way the world is, it doesn’t mean it’s right. We can sit here and talk about taxes and parents funding art programs from our cushy jobs. What annoys me is that no one seems to care how backwards this is. It’s a fundamental flaw in our system – education is not prioritized, yet it’s a public service. If the police or fire departments were run this backwards, the citizens would be shouting at the moon.

  143. I read the article shared here, I agree the extra money (8K) could really benefit families long term. I also know the type of person who has several kids with issues, who would look at this and say, this would make financial sense for us to go ahead and add to our family. Just how it is when the govt gives money/child. Esp if the family is living on under 20-30K per year.

  144. Milo – I think you are conflating differentiation/pull-outs with accommodations. And I say this kindly, but I think your relatively easy path in life is coloring your view on this issue.

  145. “There should be an easy way to say “Johnny is really struggling. Let’s see if he needs a boost”

    If Johnny is earning a C in Math, is he really struggling and in need of a boost, or is he a perfectly nice kid performing adequately?

    The problem is that the UMC parents will say that, if the school would provide more accommodations, Johnny could get an A in Math. And they’re probably right. But there are limited resources, and they’re taking away the resources from Tyronne or Julio, who is getting an F.

  146. Cat – they all take money and resources (extra pull-out instruction), and/or change the height of the net (extra time on tests).

  147. Milo – the UMC needs to learn to share and STFU. And the schools could prioritize students much like hospitals do. And probably some do, and should be commended for recognizing that a student with true learning disorders needs more assistance than a kid who’s just not “what his parents think he should be”.

    and to add levity… I found this article… http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/business/international/china-confinement-care-for-new-mothers-now-27000-a-month.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer&_r=1

    I know so little about Eastern cultures, and wow do I wish I had the money to have that type of confinement postpartum.

  148. And Cat, what easy path, exactly? Public schools where most people here would never send their kids?

  149. Smart with no significant physical, emotional, social or educational issues. Wife and kids likely the same.

    I think you underestimate how many people have to deal with one of those things.

  150. Well, I am intimately familiar with some significant SN right now, but I don’t share details here. Not my child.

  151. My DD#2 has some mild learning issues. After we got a diagnosis and some initial “treatment” (COGMED) and some OT targeted at her direct diagnosis, she is doing much better. This year every accommodation, other than preferred seating, is at her option and she must ask, which she rarely does. The preferred seating is ONLY because the school has a history of seating my well-behaved child next to the most distracting kids in the class. This is NOT ideal for someone with inattentive ADHD. When she can select her own seating, this is not a problem, but the teachers all assign seats.

    My point is not every child who needs some help, needs a lot of help or costly help. Some definitely do. I will say that most parents I know of children with significant learning issues are very realistic about their child’s abilities. Our state is easing up, but was very anti-vocational education in high school for a while. One parent I know is seeking programs for his son in a vocational track, because at age 15, it is very clear that he is not college material. But, he is very good working with his hands and diesel mechanic, welder, or some similar technical training would be right up his alley.

  152. Milo – I think we’ve always agreed… it’s just that you choose to see the world as it is, and I don’t.

    Austin – I’m very happy that you’re able to get help for DD! I’m assuming your daughter knows to ask for accomodations if she needs them… so why doesn’t she? Is it she feels she doesn’t need them, or is there some social pressure? Just curious, really.

    I think it’s awesome that your state is easing up and that programs may be available for those who are not college track. I don’t know when the trades became verboten.

  153. “not every child who needs some help, needs a lot of help or costly help.”

    Absolutely. A lot of the accommodations described here seem like no-brainers. (Teacher should write assignments on board.)

  154. Milo – I am sorry to hear that.

    I don’t think most parents who have kids receiving accommodations do so to make sure the kid gets an A. Most are just trying to get the kid through school in the least painful way.

  155. “Just how it is when the govt gives money/child. Esp if the family is living on under 20-30K per year.”

    So, what’s the problem if the kids end up better? That implies that either the parents aren’t having more kids, or that if they are, the kids still end up better off, in the ways that make the kids more likely to learn something in school and less likely to end up in jail (i.e., less acting-out, more conscientiousness).

  156. PTM and Rhode are right about the difficulty and bureaucracy in the system. I’m in Harlem today and I’m sure many of these parents wouldn’t have the time or money to sue NYC for services.
    They probably can’t take the other step to just move to a burb in nearby Nassau or Westchester to try to access their services. The system is really unfair even in states that spend a lot of money on special Ed.

  157. “Absolutely. A lot of the accommodations described here seem like no-brainers. (Teacher should write assignments on board.)”

    Which is sort of the downside of having everything so formalized and legalized now. Not to idealize the past at all (I can also think of several kids who clearly would have benefited from current understanding of ADHD etc.). But it also strikes me that there was a lower wall between the parent and the teacher to notice issues and fix them without rising to the level of “accommodations.” E.g., it was my teacher who noticed I couldn’t see the board, so she both moved my seat and told my mom to take me to the eye dr. In the same way, my mom could have said “hey, Laura seems to miss a lot of stuff, could you write everything on the board so she gets it?” — without it becoming a big issue, or having to go through an accommodation process, or become a helicopter, etc.

    Of course, the reason we have accommodations and such is that historically some portion of teachers/schools wouldn’t voluntarily do stuff like that. So now we have a System and a Process, which is necessary to protect the kids’ rights. But the flip side is that it also constrains and formalizes interactions that people acting in good faith could normally have fixed without making it a big deal.

  158. I can’t seem to post coherently this morning, but my only point was that whenever a program gets started with good intentions there will always be some abuse of said program.

  159. LfB – at my kid’s school I find that these sorts of interactions between parent and teacher to be very easy. I know they will let me know if they notice anything that’s off and similarly they will make an effort to work with my kid as needed without making a big deal about it.

  160. I guess I am one of Those Parents who loudly demanded services for a kid who, to Milo at least, should have been written off as unmotivated and only worthy of C’s. Not talking about my kid with hearing loss – he will always be protected in school under Section 504. No, this is my oldest, the one with severe attention issues. We did go through the process, got him diagnosed, and loudly demanded accomodations.

    But here’s the thing: I doubt his accomdations cost the district ANYTHING. All we asked for is that the teacher looks over his planner every day and checks to make sure he wrote the right assignment in it. And that the teacher accepts his assignments via email in addition to paper, so he can be very sure that he got the thing in. Oh, and we asked that the teacher tell him if he is missing any assignments. He has no pullouts, and no extra time on anything. He doesn’t need those things.

    The school did insist that he get put into the special “Learning Workshop” class where they stuff all the 504 kids. It is a total waste of his time since he doesn’t need any extra help. So I guess that costs money. But they insisted, not us.

    So for whatever small amount of money that he is costing the district, what was the result? He is now getting A’s in every subject except French, scored a perfect 800 on his Bio SAT subject test, and is happy and smiling rather than depressed and angry the way he was two years ago. He is actually performing to capacity. He acts as an unofficial tutor in that Learning Workshop class that he was stuffed into, since he understands the math better than the teacher does.

    I think our pursuing the 504 status was perfectly reasonable in this case,. I wish the whole matter could have been handled more informally, but there you are.

  161. “not every child who needs some help, needs a lot of help or costly help.”

    Absolutely. A lot of the accommodations described here seem like no-brainers. (Teacher should write assignments on board.)”

    A lot of the accommodations are no brainers, but it is still next to impossible to get them done without going through the 504/IEP process.

    My older daughter would have benefited immensely from having the teachers grade her work, put the grade in the online grade book in a timely fashion, develop a syllabus that detailed the assignments and papers expected in the class, and from not having to sit next to a kid who got frustrated, threw chairs and threatened the teacher and the rest of the class. She doesn’t have any protections and so we were not able to get those accommodations for her.

    My younger daughter does have a 504 and so we are able to get those accommodations in writing, and when the school violates them, we schedule a meeting. At present, we are at the point where each side is trying to wear the other down. We are trying to convince the school that we won’t ignore the issue and go away. They are trying to convince us that they can’t figure out which kids in the class are performing better than she is so that she is in a group with those kids. And that they have no idea who the severely disturbed child, that many parents worry will pull a Columbine is. If it was feasible to send her to a different school we would. In retrospective, we should have figured out a private school situation years ago, even if it meant moving.

    I don’t know why it is so difficult to get teachers to post assignments and grades on line, but it is.

  162. “I don’t know why it is so difficult to get teachers to post assignments and grades on line, but it is.”

    Here it’s part of the Union contract — the teachers argued that it was additional uncompensated work and that they needed either to make it optional or to give them a long time to get it posted (not quite sure which — this is second-hand). Which, of course, renders the system useless for the very kids whom it would most benefit.

  163. It was not uncommon for math camp kids to drop out of high school after 10th grade and go to college. Many states won’t count high school level math classes taken in middle school toward high school graduation requirements and they won’t count college level math classes either. As long as you complete your AA/BA/BS, no one cares later that you didn’t get a high school diploma. If you go on to get a PhD, it’s actually a point of humor in interviews.

    This discussion made me think about the different definitions of “accommodation”. My twins have an accommodation, in the sense that I told them not to sit at the same table on the first day, and their teachers agrees that it’s best if they don’t sit at the same table. (They said, “What if Miss P tell us to?” I said, “If Miss P tells you to, then you sit wherever she tells you. But let’s start you off at different tables.”)

    Some kids are easier to accommodate than others. My kids’ school now has access to some iPads and the teacher is trying to select appropriate apps. I suggested Khan Academy and offered to add her as a coach for my twins, so she can see what they are doing. Considering that Twin 2 rushes through his work accurately, she may want something to occupy him. And if she doesn’t, well, I warned her.

  164. No, and the routes available to homeschool students make going to college even easier than it was 20 years ago. If you have a specific SAT/ACT score, they just admit you.**

    (This applies to regular colleges and universities, not places with ~10% admission rates)

  165. “We’d have bigger families among the poor”

    Good point, Wine. Do you think that would still happen even if the $8k/year only was provided during the Head Start years?

  166. “scored a perfect 800 on his Bio SAT subject test”

    Congrats to your DS!

    Which Bio subject test did he take, Eco or Molecular? Did he take it at the end of his Junior year?

  167. No, and the routes available to homeschool students make going to college even easier than it was 20 years ago. If you have a specific SAT/ACT score, they just admit you.**

    good to know

  168. Good point, Wine. Do you think that would still happen even if the $8k/year only was provided during the Head Start years?

    to an extent, some people only think in the short term, so they would see this as meaning being able to afford another child, even though the funds would be temporary

  169. “It was not uncommon for math camp kids to drop out of high school after 10th grade and go to college. Many states won’t count high school level math classes taken in middle school toward high school graduation requirements and they won’t count college level math classes either.”

    It was different for me in HS. There was a program (Early Admit) at the local CCs that allowed HS students to take classes at the CCs and receive both CC and HS credit. I took a couple courses this way during my senior year, and that’s how DW took her calculus classes during HS. DW sometimes makes a big deal to our kids about how she graduated in 4 years, but she actually took 5 if you take into account that she was taking college classes during her senior year in HS.

    I’ve heard that the older brother of a kid DS knows, who had taken a lot of the most advanced classes at the HS by the end of his junior year. He dropped out after his junior year and headed off to Stanford.

    “Considering that Twin 2 rushes through his work accurately, she may want something to occupy him.”

    How about the old standby of discreetly reading a book held under the desk?
    Does Twin 2 enjoy reading?

  170. “I always thought you needed to actually graduate HS or get GED to be admitted to college”

    When I was in HS, the CC requirement for admission was 18 yo or older, HS diploma, GED, OR Early Admit.

  171. “I always thought you needed to actually graduate HS or get GED to be admitted to college”

    This was a key plot point in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” After the main character, Francie, has graduated junior high, the family is in some dire financial straits and both she and her younger-by-one-year brother get summer jobs. Their mother realizes that there’s no way both of them can return to school in the Fall. Francie desperately wants to go back to school, and her brother wants to drop out and continue working as a messenger boy on Wall Street. Their mother decides, counterintuitively, that Francie should be the one to keep working, reasoning that if she lets Neely drop out, he’ll never go back, while Francie has enough determination that she’ll finish her education at some point no matter what.

    Francie is working for a business that did the job of Google News Alerts. I’ve read about these. They would maintain a number of client accounts and have their employees read hundreds of newspapers in the country, clipping out and mailing to their clients any articles that were related to their subscribed topics. In his later years, John D. Rockefeller was given a gift subscription to it by one of his children. Anyway, Francie is the most efficient reader in the office, and is soon being paid $25 a week and was assigned to the major city papers. A year later, when her family’s situation improved and they could do without her income, she reasoned that she would be bored to death in high school when she was already so well-informed about the world. So she started in on college courses.

  172. Finn, Twin2 likes to read. The teacher had E-R books in her classroom at the start of school but they kept my twins and the FESTA kids together on purpose, I think, and they are all reading chapter books. Thus my mention yesterday of a Boxcar Children or similar set if needed.

    Sometimes teachers want kids to do math during math time, and Common Core math as implemented by our district is decidedly awful. You spend a year or two drawing pictures of basic addition/subtraction problems no matter what.

  173. “Johnny could get an A in Math. And they’re probably right.”

    I think we’ve discussed here the supposed “Asian attitude” toward math, that anyone can be good at math if they work hard enough at it, vs. the US attitude that some people are good at math and others just aren’t.

  174. WCE, have you obtained the Horrible History / Horrible Science books yet? There’s also a British TV series (we actually have the region 2 DVDs of it but you can find all the individual sketches from the program on YouTube). Obviously the books would fit into a classroom better than the videos.

  175. No, HM, but I’ll put them on my Amazon list. I always appreciate your recommendations. If we drive to southern CA, I’ll probably ask you for your audio ones again.

Comments are closed.