Advocates, educators fight cuts

AP/ John Bazemore
Five-year-old pre kindergartner Marcus Singletary looks on during a Pre-K Day ceremony at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. Prekindergarten advocates gathered at the Gold Dome to push for more early education for Georgia's children, the same day that Gov. Nathan Deal proposed making the program half-day.
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ATLANTA --- A plan to scale back Georgia's free, full-day pre-kindergarten program -- the first of its kind in the U.S. -- to a half-day has teachers fearing shrunken paychecks and working parents scrambling to find day care for their 4-year-olds.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed shortening the pre-K day from 61/2 hours to four hours, which GOP leaders say would save the 84,000-student program about $54 million. Deal, who recently announced a dramatic overhaul plan that he says is needed to keep lottery-funded initiatives such as pre-kindergarten from going broke, also proposed adding 5,000 slots to ease a nearly 10,000-child wait list.

Many other states and private preschools already operate with a four-hour day, and schools should have plenty of time to teach if they plan well, Deal said when he announced the overhaul Tuesday. He has said schools could trim lunchtime and naptime to give students more learning time.

Studies show attending pre-K gives poor students a better chance of graduating high school and going to college.

Advocates fear low-income families could suffer the most, noting that 60 percent of children in Georgia's pre-K program come from families that earn less than $40,000 a year.

Bobby Cagle, the head of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, said Deal wants to help districts by providing more funding for aftercare programs for at-risk children and for transportation. But Cagle acknowledged the extra funding would not be enough to cover all the costs.

The state also is looking to eliminate 112 counselors who help pre-K students transition to kindergarten.

At a hearing Friday at the Capitol, pre-K supporters turned out in force urging lawmakers not to balance the budget at the expense of the state's youngest students.

Emily Cunningham, who teaches in Snellville, choked back tears as she told legislators she wouldn't be able to continue teaching if she made less money because of the shorter day.

"There are many teachers already investigating other employment," she said.

Atlanta teacher Ginger James said she would be willing to accept two more students in her class to keep the program intact.

"If you do hurt pre-K, you may not need to worry about HOPE in the future," James said, referring to the scholarship program.

Lawmakers seemed to hold open the possibility of larger class sizes but noted that the only money they can work with is from the lottery. That constraint has others, including Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, calling for the state to find extra money for pre-K. Benfield, D-Atlanta, said the state is going backward because children need a full day to be prepared for kindergarten.

"This is not going to help working parents and it is not going to work for providers," said Benfield, whose 5-year-old daughter attends a state pre-K program.

Some school districts might end their pre-K programs altogether because it's so difficult to find teachers willing to work part-time. That could be especially problematic in rural areas.

Steve Barnett, a co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, said the cuts were a big step back in Georgia. About 40 states offer pre-K programs, and most of those with programs as large as Georgia's give parents the option of full- and part-time.

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Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 02/27/11 - 05:09 pm
0
0

Attention Mrs. Dumber than

Attention Mrs. Dumber than Doorknobs, it is not the responsibility of the state to prepare your child for school before kindergarten. Learn personal responsibility and accountability for your actions or don't have children to begin with. This babysitting service does not exist so that parents can negate their responsibilities.

If your have children, it is YOUR responsibility to read to them, teach them, train them, discipline them and prepare them for school and life in general.

It is time once and for all to put an end to all enabling programs such as this and the many other social programs that teach the wrong values of which this country was founded.

mystery30815
18
Points
mystery30815 02/27/11 - 03:36 pm
0
0

Amen asitisinaugusta. This is

Amen asitisinaugusta. This is the only place that expects a handout all of the time. Other states do not even offer free pre-k and offer only part time Kinder and guess what, their kids do great. It is not the states responsibility to worry about child care while you are at work. That is why you work, to pay childcare. Perhaps you might consider teaching your child yourself. Surely, the majority of people here can handle pre-k basics, colors, counting, ABC's etc.

Gov.Palin
0
Points
Gov.Palin 02/27/11 - 03:45 pm
0
0

Amen asitisinaugusta.

Amen asitisinaugusta.

scoobynews
3697
Points
scoobynews 02/27/11 - 03:45 pm
0
0

It is the job the government

It is the job the government to invest in it's human capital. Just as companys invest in their employees by providing extra training we should also be investing in our future doctors, lawyers, nurses, service industry workers, chefs, mechanics, and etc. It may be babysitting for some but for those of us who read to our children every night and provide them with extra learning opportunities at home the pre-K program only enhances it. My fear is that since the article said that disadvantage children will suffer that this program may become a state ran babysitting institution. Disadvantage children are that way because their parents make it that way. They have every opportunity my child has. They can go to the public library and pick out FREE to use books to take home. It cost nothing to read to your child. If the program turns into a "disadvantaged" state ran child care service I will be one of the first ones against it. As so called middle class my child as well as many other working middle class parents will be the first ones cut if the state makes it about income.

Sweet son
8204
Points
Sweet son 02/27/11 - 05:00 pm
0
0

If the lottery will not fund

If the lottery will not fund it's programs then cut them until it does! I paid for my child's preschool experience! And don't expect the local boards to pick up the slack with extra transportation and afternoon "programs". They can't!

linux
73
Points
linux 02/27/11 - 04:57 pm
0
0

""There are many teachers

""There are many teachers already investigating other employment," she said."

Now there's a statement you rarely see. Sorry teachers, but you're not guaranteed a position for life, even if liberal legislatures would like it to be so.

This is just another social engineering attempt that spends money better spent elsewhere. And the dumber than doorknobs is simply a lame excuse for a free babysitting service.

corgimom
19173
Points
corgimom 02/27/11 - 07:22 pm
0
0

Back in the day, if somebody

Back in the day, if somebody didn't finish high school, it wasn't any big deal. Go to work on a farm, go work in a manufacturing plant, go work as a laborer- people could get good jobs and support themselves without a high school diploma.

Now it's all changed, including what kindergarten used to be. There are a whole lot of people that post against Pre-K that wouldn't be able to do present-day Kindergarten based on the skills they learned at home before they started school.

You can pay for Pre-K or you can pay for future welfare and prisons.

Which is best? Which makes the most sense? Which costs less to society and less to taxpayers?

In a state that ranks towards the bottom of the nation educationally, that has a failure rate of 50% of Hope college scholarship students, that has a very high illegitimacy birth rate, a low per capita income, a high illiteracy rate, a high poverty rate- why would anyone want to cut Pre-K? How long do people want all of that to continue? How many more generations?

corgimom
19173
Points
corgimom 02/27/11 - 07:26 pm
0
0

"He has said that schools

"He has said that schools could trim lunchtime and naptime to give students more learning time."

Obviously, he has never raised children. Trim lunchtime? Trim naptime?

How speedy does he think 4 year olds are? How do you "trim naptime"? What does he think is adequate for a 4 year old?

We have 5 year olds that would sleep 2 hours a day in school if we would let them.

Wonder how long he takes to eat a meal, and how long he sleeps?

Little Lamb
40081
Points
Little Lamb 02/27/11 - 11:46 pm
0
0

Corgimom wrote: You can pay

Corgimom wrote:

You can pay for Pre-K or you can pay for future welfare and prisons. Which is best?

I would rather pay for future prisons. We need them!

Little Lamb
40081
Points
Little Lamb 02/27/11 - 11:50 pm
0
0

Associated Press writers

Associated Press writers wrote:

A plan to scale back Georgia's free, full-day pre-kindergarten program — the first of its kind in the U.S. — to a half-day has . . . working parents scrambling to find day care for their 4-year-olds.

Come on, now. If the General Assembly passes this law, and if the governor signs it, it will not take effect until July. I say the Associated Press is engaging in inflammatory, yellow journalism when they say that parents are scrambling. The only things scrambling at this point are eggs.

dmfb1906
0
Points
dmfb1906 02/28/11 - 09:23 am
0
0

This is really enlightening.

This is really enlightening. I knew there were some backwards things going on in Georgia, but this one…whew. This is almost tearful.

Suppose the worst mother, who doesn’t read to their kids, spends no times, doesn’t take them to the library or any of these other activities that many of you purport to do. Even in this case, and the kid does get “state ran baby sitting” would that still not be a better option. What is the risk, the kid actually learns something?!?

And to say “I would rather pay for future prisons. We need them.” Is absolutely appalling. Why isn’t anyone talking about cutting funding from prisons? Did you know prisoners have TV, and cable, and in some instances WII, XBOX, and Playstation. Why doesn’t anyone consider that a waiste of tax dollars.

I get that you want your money spent your way. That makes sense to me. But consider this, we spend money for public health so that low income/low insured families can get vaccinations so that viral infections or other boo boos don’t spread to everyone else (and course for the “disadvantaged” family’s health and quality of life). Aren’t you glad that there was a “program” in place to prevent your kid from getting sick? Along the same vein, doesn’t it make sense for some type of intervention to help family’s not go on to be a burden to your kids from a welfare and crime standpoint?

I mean this is really cutting of your nose to spite your face. And I hate to say it, but some of the reasoning for wanting to end these type programs is just plain hateful. As the word of God says, the poor will always be with you. It goes on to say, how can you say you love me, when I was hungry you did not feed me, when I was homeless you did not give me shelter.

God bless this country…we need you now to save us from ourselves.

seenitB4
72448
Points
seenitB4 02/28/11 - 09:40 am
0
0

Who ya calling backwards

Who ya calling backwards 1906?

Suppose we lose the Hope for college allowance.....I think the Governor is as fair as he can be with the cuts....the original lotto benefit was for COLLEGE---anyway, Georgia has problems, but unhappy people could visit Delta or Greyhound.....
Well, let me find my corn cob & moonshine this am.....then I'll slop the hogs----LOL

mystery30815
18
Points
mystery30815 02/28/11 - 09:49 am
0
0

If the pre-k program was the

If the pre-k program was the answer to all of the social problems would we have "a state that ranks towards the bottom of the nation educationally, that has a failure rate of 50% of Hope college scholarship students, that has a very high illegitimacy birth rate, a low per capita income, a high illiteracy rate, a high poverty rate"

Ga is trying to put a bandaid on something that requires surgery, staples, and more surgery. Pre-K is not going to solve these problems.

dmfb1906
0
Points
dmfb1906 02/28/11 - 10:01 am
0
0

SEENITB4. I realize the gov

SEENITB4. I realize the gov is in financial crisis and lots of sacrifices have to be made. But your heart is where you find your treasure. Where is the government not cutting. What programs initiatives are the not scaling back, or at least scaling back in proportion with other austerity measures.

If one or two or three years of students must go without supplementary education, in order for the economy to survive the long haul then so be it. But, that is not what some of the comments on this article are saying. They are showcasing a desire to kill initiatives that help people and not because it’s for cost savings. And you can bet your pom pons, they will come after HOPE next.

seenitB4
72448
Points
seenitB4 02/28/11 - 10:10 am
0
0

My answer for education

My answer for education reform.

Fire all of the teachers at the end of the school year (this year) something that is UNHEARD of in most states..
Rehire the teachers in the fall....BUT only rehire dedicated-hard working-performance driven-able bodied--caring teachers..
This sounds drastic doesn't it?-----keep in mind MOST workers have that "firing option" held over their heads at all times....why would teachers be any different---& I know some good teachers are caught up in failing schools----but I would bet some heads would roll if the school system knew their jobs were on the line----I would be trying every trick in the book..

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 02/28/11 - 10:49 am
0
0

Since "tax USERS" began

Since "tax USERS" began preaching the debunked evolution religion, crime has skyrocketed over 1000% and inflation adjusted income has plummeted so they should have to pay for their failed social experiment, forfeit their gas cards, houses, cars or any other filthy lucre they cheated U.S. out of and pay for all school vouchers to begin curing all the damages they have caused the tax payers to suffer at their hands through no fault of our own. Sue tax U-S-E-R-S NOW!

Join the National Taxpayers Union
www.NTU.org

Science has always proven earth far too young to be the age all evolutionists insist would be necessary for evolution to work even if it could. None of these “geniuses” knew that to count how old something is that you must count backwards NOT FORWARDS. What a BUNCH OF IDIOTS. We want our money BACK!

mable8
2
Points
mable8 02/28/11 - 12:02 pm
0
0

In the first place, child

In the first place, child rearing belongs in the home and not the school system. In the second place, pre-k is unnecessary but it does provide baby-sitting services at taxpayer expense. In the third place, where is the guarantee that the pre-k recipients will complete high school, not join a gang or participate in criminal activity, and become highly productive citizens complete with a college degree? And in the fourth place, where is the proof that pre-k recipients become better all-around students throughout their educational years? I noted that the article cited school drop-outs are related to the lack of a pre-k experience. Oddly enough, the article does not point out that many students drop out of school due to burnout--that there are too many years spent in an educational institution. Pre-k is a choice and should be paid for by the parent who insists that their child participate and leave my tax dollar for use in other areas of community improvement--pre-k does not make a better student, but it certainly lends credence to the whining teachers who make the claim that our schools are institutions for baby-sitting.

Chillen
16
Points
Chillen 02/28/11 - 12:48 pm
0
0

Gov Deal didn't go far

Gov Deal didn't go far enough. Pre-K babysitting should be totally cut. Seriously what next, government Baby Einstein classes for infants?

Ushouldnthave
0
Points
Ushouldnthave 02/28/11 - 05:29 pm
0
0

Most of societies ills can be

Most of societies ills can be cured through education and opportunities. Budgetary woes are eliminating an already poor educational system, and most of our non-service related opportunities have moved away.

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 02/28/11 - 04:30 pm
0
0

I'm so grateful that my

I'm so grateful that my parents made sacrifices so that mother could stay home and socialize us, read to us, take us to parks and playgrounds and to the creek to catch tadpoles and observe them develop into frogs. They talked to us, had discussions at dinner every night, asked us questions that made us think. By the time I started kindergarten I was reading, speaking well, and pretty well prepared for school. Now, my parents had lots of problems, issues, and dysfunctions, so if they could do it anyone can.

corgimom
19173
Points
corgimom 02/28/11 - 08:39 pm
0
0

Nobody on here is complaining

Nobody on here is complaining about their own kindergarten education. Pre-K today is what kindergarten used to be. Of course, they don't think their kindergarten education or their own childrens' were glorified babysitting, a social experiment, too expensive, the parents' responsibility, etc. etc. etc. They thought nothing of it.

Why didn't their parents teach them skills so that they didn't have to attend kindergarten, which was paid for by taxpayers? Why didn't they teach their children the skills necessary so that taxpayers didn't pay for their childrens' kindergarten?

Back when I was in school, there weren't any formal art classes, PE classes, no school library, no science lab, no formal music classes. Time is now made in the curriculum for all those things; and that's why what was our 1st grade is what kindergarten is today.

The kids today have a much better curriculum than we did. But kindergarteners today are required to have 1st grade skills. Education has changed and the public school system has changed.

leawords
62
Points
leawords 02/28/11 - 08:55 pm
0
0

As an educator, I'm sick of

As an educator, I'm sick of everyone assuming money is the answer (or lack thereof the problem) when it comes to our schools. No one much values something given to him for free; hence, many parents and students alike do not recognize the importance of education because they see it as free child care, free lunch, free entertainment, free (fill-in-the-blank), and, as such, their RIGHT and not their RESPONSIBILITY. A child will only learn at school if he has learned at home that learning is important. It won't matter a whit if you start him off at age four or not if his learning is not encouraged (and mandated) by his parents. Thus, whether pre-K is paid for by the government or by the parents doesn't matter if the parents don't provide the child a supportive, learning environment at home, especially when the child is so young.

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