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Comments about ‘Breaking out — Can preschool help children escape poverty?’

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Published: Saturday, Nov. 26 2011 1:00 p.m. MST

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K
Mchenry, IL

The program helps make poverty bearable. Gives the kids something to look forward to away from the house. Gets kids medical and dental earlier. Gets more meals into families.

Kathy.
Iowa, Iowa

Nonsense is about all I have to say about using my tax dollars to support illegals. Any way you cut it they expect the state to support their children.

Don't lecture me about how the poor little children are in need, they would return to wherever they came from if they didn't have all these benefits. Then we would have enough money to care for American Citizens.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Early intervention in the lives of at-risk youth/children is key to helping them reach their full potential and is invaluable to society as a whole.

re;Kathy
Did the article mention illegals?
It did mention they were working FIVE jobs in an effort to support themselves.
According to the CONSTITUTION any child born here is a U.S. citizen.

A lump of coal in your Christmas stocking this year!

wjalden
Cottonwood Heights, UT

We seem to be headed for an Austrralian "Rabbit-Proof Fence" stolen generations problem, where the attitude of the establishment elite is to get poor (read: minority) children away from their parents for as long as possible, on the grounds that it will improve their performance. Can genuine all-day, 16 hour preschool be far behind?

This despite the fact that Head Start, an enormously expensive program, has little data to back up the claim that it helps. The Head Start Program is 46 years old and was significantly expanded 30 years ago. There should be plenty of data available already to prove whether it works or not, not just small, unrepresentative samples from two programs. We've spent over $170 billion on Head Start, including $8.1 billion this year alone.

And yes, "Truthseeker," illegal aliens benefit from these Head Start programs, and probably make up a disproportionate share of its beneficiaries. Even if it's just the parents who are illegal it is a handout to them, not to mention basically a subsidized day care program.

The Balloonatic
Taylorsville, UT

I'm from the camp that says kids are better off at the young age at home. I am fortunate to be a "stay at home" mom. We've alway struggled financially, but we feel it's important for the kids to be nurtured at home. My kids never went to preschool, but our oldest skipped kindergarten and the rest are doing well and have a great zest for learning. In fact, our youngest can already read on a first grade level, but won't be old enough to attend kindergarten until next year.

But my sister is a Head Start teacher and her kids went there. It worked out good for her, because she got to be in the same building with them during the day.

All of my friends and relatives' kids went to preschool. A lot of the kids learned bad words and bad behavior from the other kids.

But it comes down to this. Freedom of choice and what's best for kids. Some parents are not able to be at home with their kids, so a preschool or daycare is what works for them.

My concern is that the government should never mandate preschool. I think ObamaCare might do that.

annewandering
oakley, idaho

With the parents making barely over 13k a year the children are not going to be staying home. They will be in a day care center, in friends or relatives houses or left alone while the parents try to make enough money to feed them. Having a parent home with these kids is great, in theory, but it does not take into account the fact that these families are barely surviving.

Try walking in their shoes awhile. It just might give you a different outlook and wont even have to have the three ghosts of Christmas help you along.

wjalden
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"With the parents making barely over 13k a year the children are not going to be staying home."

Your argument is irrelevant and off-topic. The argument isn't about daycare, good or bad. The question is whether Head Start actually benefits children long-term. Most of the data says it doesn't. The studies mentioned here are from two unrepresentative situations. We have 30+ years of data on the benefits of Head Start - with many Head Start "alumni" now 34+ years old - and most of it is unimpressive.

There is also the separate issue of whether children who are illegal immigrants, or whose parents are, should be receiving extra government spending on their behalf. For their lawbreaking parents it basically amounts to government-subsidized daycare, justified by the dubious claim that it will help them later in life. This is subsidized daycare that American children above poverty level don't qualify for.

skitarghee
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Low performing centers are going to have to meet higher standards? Sounds like the first page has the critique of the program nailed. The question always comes down to: Can government make a difference? It definitely makes a difference in the lives of those who pay for the teachers, staff, facilities, their retirements. The recipients? Not so much.

sally
Kearns, UT

Income level should never be an indicator of poverty. Poverty is an attitude. Many families have higher incomes with school loans, medical bills, car repairs, etc, but they have lower usable income without the food stamps and housing benefits the government hands out. Those with the higher income also do not receive charity gifts at Christmastime. Categorizing income level does not present a full picture of the situation. Those without the poverty attitude somehow provide their children with what is needed to succeed in life without all of the handouts. One's home life and genes are better indicators of successfully producing productive, positive offspring. Education is only part of the equation.

PaulSpringville
SPRINGVILLE, UT

Education is the key to lifting oneself out of poverty. I believe, however, that the parents have a much greater impact than do programs or teachers. My wife or I review our three daughters school work on a daily basis. They all understand our commitment to them and their education. It amazes me how many of their friends, however, tell our daughters that their parents don't care about their grades.

The elementary school our girls attend reports that 80 percent of their students come from homes in poverty. So it also amazes me how many of them are dropped off in new cars, and how many kids are playing with their smart phones. Apparently education and poverty are also about setting priorities.

luv2organize
Gainesville, VA

We can't rely on the government to fix all of our problems. I am not a believer that head start or preschool truly makes a difference as I've seen it up close and personal because I have a special needs child. As a people we need to be responsible for our children and ourselves. The government is not the answer.

thpslc
Holladay, UT

Early intervention is always a good idea and funding education is also. It bothers me that the article quotes the Heartland Institute as if it is some unbiased research center. They have a track record of supporting Charter Schools and vouchers. They also believe climate change is a myth and supported the Phillip Morris Co. to prove second hand smoking doesn't cause health risks.
Sally, poverty is more than an attitude, for many it is a reality. Unfortunately, for many families it is a cycle they can't escape. It does seem to be learned and therefore can be broken. The best way to break it is through education. Those with a high education get out. They can then become productive tax paying citizens.
It would be wonderful to save these kids through the ideal home with both parents but that isn't realistic.

JRJ
Pocatello, ID

My teaching background indicates strongly that our Head Start children are often 2nd - 3rd generation headstarters. So if it is such a wonderful program why are the participants repeaters? It doesn't become an interruption for the cycle of poverty; it is more like it is creating an expectation for government giveaways.

Terrie Bittner
Warminster, PA

It isn't the school that is making the difference--it is the educational environment. That can come just as well at home. I pulled my oldest out of Head Start after a few wasted weeks and taught her myself. When she started kindergarten her academics tested at second to sixth grade level. We didn't have much money, but I knew how to create an educational home. There might always need to be preschools for families who won't or can't provide an academic home environment. However, if we really want to help the children, we need to help the parents so the children can grow up with enough money to succeed. Instead of sending every preschooler to school, offer the parents literacy, English, and job skill classes--and classes on home preschooling. It's easy to create an academic home and doesn't take that much time or money if you know how to do it. Then the parents can earn more and provide the child with learning in a loving home, not in a building with strangers. It also costs the government less in the long run.

chinookdoctor
PASADENA, CA

Apparently charity never faileth, except among LDS, especially in Utah and especially when it comes to helping children. I'm really disappointed at the comments on this site whenever it comes to anything that deals with using taxes to provide charity. I am a recipient of many of these government programs, as are my sisters. While my father was in law school, the first in his family to attend college, and my mother supported him by working 2 and 3 jobs, my sisters and I benefitted from amazing preschool programs. My oldest sister is now a tenured professor and a world renowned scholar at a prestigious university, she has two kids and owns a home; the next sister is a former Hollywood executive who is finishing her first novel. I am a physician in training with a PhD and have three children. When people ask my mother about us she credits, in part, government subsidized preschool and after-school programs. She had to work to support us while my father's law practice got off the ground--not until I was in elementary school--but it was a lot easier with great support. I believe in Head Start.

The Balloonatic
Taylorsville, UT

If parents have the ability take care of their kids (ie. feed them, clothe them, teach good values and proper social behavior, teach them ABCs and 123s, and read to them), then they may not need a preschool. Some choose to still send their kids to preschool anyway, and that's their business, not mine. But I for one think kids do better emotionally, mentally, and even socially when young children can spend their days with their mothers. That's just me and some politically incorrect stats I learned of before I became a mom.

But I think it's a good thing that there are preschools and programs available for those who need them. It's a safety net. It's tough being a parent, and especially hard when parents have to work multiple jobs to support family.

I also think a lot of people do depend too much on big sis gov't. It's not just preschool but conventional public school as well. And it is true that immigrants (legal and otherwise) are coddled by public school system. I've witnessed it constantly. Our local school is 70+% immigrant. I'm all for legal immigration, but not for permanent entitlements.

K
Mchenry, IL

Why is government preschool charity? Who said public school couldn't start at 3 instead of 5?

The problem is there is no preschool for all. You only get if you are the most in need. That could be speech delay or special needs diagnosis, language other than English in the home, or some family stress. For instance a child who is ward of the state in a foster home would get a spot before a child raised by both parents. But if every parent got their child in public preschool that wanted it scores of private efforts would fold and this would not be an issue of charity.

Preschool is just a few hours a day. Plenty of time to be with mom. Some kid's need time away. Some mom's need time away too. The real point of preschool and kdg is to follow directions, sit still, take turns and resolve disputes with peers. You can't get that at home unless blessed with brothers and sisters in abundance. It's great if they know letters and can write prior to kdg, but it's really not the most important skill.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Why do people have children if they can't afford it?

Government caused a fifteen trillion dollar debt. What makes anybody think they'll get children out of poverty?

Kathy.
Iowa, Iowa

Truthseeker, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that if their parents don't speak English and have low job skills they are illegal as we don't give green cards to many that fit that description.

Thank you for the lump a coal my father who is a legal immigrant always talked about getting lumps of coal and how much it meant to him as a child. He even gave them out at Halloween one year.

Also our family is still in the position of sponsoring members of our extended family from our country of origin. And since one of them had cancer and a heart attack recently we give to their children. If we weren't forced to pay to support illegals we would have more money to help the poor.

We do give to the Perpetual Education Fund to help support families and children in their own countries raise themselves and their countries out of poverty.

thpslc
Holladay, UT

Bravo to the Obama administration for asking for the study. We have been paying for the Head Start program for decades and I for one, want the best bang for my buck.
Not sure how many of you got to the "illegals" conversation. Many minorities are not "illegal". Baloonatic, I'm not sure how you came to the 70% immigrant number. I've looked at the latest census numbers and that can't be correct. And technically we are a nation of immigrants. Just found out my grandparents came from Denmark...illegally. Oh my! That means my mom was an anchor baby.
Please remember people, our kids are less educated than other developing countries. We are falling behind. And those countries...pay for their kids education. Again...I'm more than happy to pay for public education but I want my monies worth.

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