All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Friday, May 12, 2006

Elmbrook to start 4-year old day care. Oops, excuse me, kindergarten

Can you believe it? Amid all the talk of budget and program cuts, our school board is embarking on starting a 4-year old kindergarten program? The MJS article stated that Elmbrook "will hold a lottery this month to accept students for two sections of 4-year old kindergarten."

I say, if we start this, we need to call it what it is, TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED DAY CARE. In my opinion, taxpayers should not be called upon to fund this venture. It has little academic benefit.

Research shows that an earlier start in school does not translate to an increase in academic proficiency. Raymond and Dorothy Moore have done many studies that show an earlier start in school does not make for a better education or better student. In their book, Better Late Than Early, the Moores found "the best place for children to be was in a home, in a loving and supportive environment". When children are ready to learn, around the ages of 8-10, they quickly catch up to those who started earlier. So, why start so early?

My point here is not to argue the merits of stay at home moms vs. day care, but rather to discuss what the taxpayers should be called upon to finance in public education. IF a parent wishes to avail themselves of 4-year old kindergarten, then let them pay for the actual cost of enrolling that child in 4-year old kindergarten and call it what it really is, DAY CARE.

The cost for a student in the Elmbrook school system is in the $10,000 per year range--and that is only the amount they will admit to. The actual cost is higher because not every classroom is at full capacity. This additional cost should not be passed onto the taxpayers.

For the record, the idea of 4-year old kindergarten is not a new one. I attended 4-year old kindergarten 50 years ago in Shorewood. (Yes, I am 54 years old!) I can tell you, the early start did not help me in school. Just as the Moore's research showed, "children can't effectively learn until they are developmentally ready."

We are facing the prospect of repairing or replacing our high schools here in the Elmbrook school district. Every year we hear how programs must be cut because of budget shortfalls and students (and their parents) are called upon to make up the difference with fundraisers and user fees. So, why start an unnecessary and expensive program like 4-year old kindergarten?

Weed control links: garlic mustard and garlic mustard's pretty cousin, Dame's Rocket. (It can take over native areas too.) Garlic mustard should be thrown in the trash--do not compost!


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