Souring preschool proposal

Sam Dutton
Opinion Editor

The light at the end of the tunnel may be quickly approaching for early childhood majors. President Obama outlined his proposal of a newly proposed preschool plan in his state of the union address last week. This newly proposed pre-school plan will open up more job opportunities for teachers, this is music to a prospective education graduates ear. Obama’s plan is to make preschool education available for all four-year olds at or below 200 percent of he poverty line. The pre-k funding would be distributed to local school districts and a majority of the programs are planned to occur in already existing elementary schools. This has the potential to work wonders for the infrastructure of public schools. Often a deterrence of careers in the field of early childhood education is low wages. Allowing for preschools to become apart of the elementary school system would professionalize that job area, thus resulting in higher wages. This however is not a perfect model; there are a lot of “kinks” that still need to be hammered out before this program is to pass. The first big issue with Obama’s plan is pre-school will become available for those children who are at or below the 200 percent of the poverty line? It does not seem fair to allocate for education for some children and not all, what about the children of middle class families, that have enough money to support themselves but preschool is not in their budget why don’t their educational futures matter? There is of course small print in this education plan explaining that schools will be eligible to receive further funding for their preschool programs so long as their pre-k pupils meet “quality benchmarks” aka standardized testing. Standardized testing is a gray cloud of doom that looms over education. We are teaching children how to take exams at the expense of educating them in music, art, physical education and other specialized classes. The day we take away a child’s play time and creative environment in place of standardized tests will be the dooms day of education. Then another thought came to me, could it be that Obama is trying to instill the “tiger mom” characteristic in parents. Maybe it is that he is concerned that countries like China who educate their children at an early age, and hold education in high esteem put us in an incomparable position. According to fox news the cost of this proposed program is unclear but fear not because we can look forward to a future of higher graduation rates and lower teen pregnancies. The underlying issue here is that many legislators creating these programs have no background as educators. How is it that they can instruct on how to run classrooms, and the benchmarks that each child should be hitting when they have in fact never taught a classroom of four year olds. I speak as an education major, what we really need are legislators to get on our level.