Saturday, January 29, 2005

Does the Iraqi election mean anything in SoCal?

YES! In Orange county, Iraqi's who are current living here had an opportunity to vote. Our ability to govern ourselves and believe in the system is absolutely connected to those young upstart countries who are trying to follow our example. Here in what some call the People's Republic of California, it is essential to see democracy in action.

I suspect many will doubt this votes validity no matter what happens but only time will show it's real value.

They have my prayers and hopes for their future. God bless you Iraq.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Mastering Mom Mania

I have noticed a trend in educated professional women who are choosing to stay at home with their children. We all agree it is important to help our children developmentally. We agree that we have the biggest drive to see that happen, though there are more than a few highly committed dads as well. But I must admit that the mania of being with a 1 year old an 4 year old all day has its moments.
I can get tired of hearing the same drum beat over and over again. I can get frustrated with the baby who cries when I have finally developed something interesting to say. Let's face facts, reading and writing blogs is sometimes the only adult contact I have in a day. So, let me get this out now....


Ok, better now. I adore them I long to be the best I can be. I am also in a cross cultural experience. I used to communicate the gospel, do counselling for teens and families. I was even crossing over to do counselling for children. I have a passion for sharing the gospel, so my kids...OK, my 4 year old, knows what I believe (to the best of her ability) and is learning for herself. The time will come as she grows for her to decide to claim or not claim these beliefs for herself. But for now, they are my ministry.

Are there any moms in the same boat? How is the sanity? I would love ideas for keeping my brain while fostering strong emotional, spiritual and physical children.

Am I dreaming?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Universal Preschool what does it mean

Once again Universal Preschool is brought to our state assembly floor....what does the bill AB172
mean in practical application and what does it say... let's take a look

INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Chan (Principal coauthor: Senator Escutia) (Coauthors: Assembly Members Berg, Bermudez, Coto, Evans, Hancock,Jones, Leno, Lieber, Liu, Montanez, Nava, Parra, Pavley, Ruskin,Salinas, and Yee) (Coauthors: Senators Figueroa, Florez, Kuehl, Lowenthal, andOrtiz)

JANUARY 20, 2005 An act relating to preschool.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AB 172, as introduced, Chan.
Universal preschool. Existing law, the Child Care and Developmental Services Act,establishes various full- and part-time programs for a comprehensive,coordinated, and cost-effective system of developmental services forchildren to age 14 and their parents. Other existing law, theKindergarten Readiness Pilot Program, permits, until January 1, 2011,school districts to participate in the program to providekindergarten preparedness opportunities to increase a child'sreadiness for school. Existing law requires the Superintendent ofPublic Instruction to administer state preschool programs includingpart-time day and preschool appropriate programs for prekindergartenchildren 3 to 5 years of age. This bill would make certain findings and state the intent of theLegislature with regard to universal preschool. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.State-mandated local program: no.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of thefollowing:(a) A compelling body of respected research demonstrates that quality preschool programs benefit children and their families,the public school system, public safety, the economy, and society as a whole.

I am fascinated that this states the benefits of preschool. Yet much research also shows the detrament of preschool. Children in the formative first four years of life have statistically done better when they spend more time with their parents not away from them. Also, if the assembly members who supported this are so certain, why do they need the repeated "public service" commercials touting the "benefits" of preschool. If it is true why does it need to be stated over and over as though brain washing the audience.

(b) California has an enormous opportunity to reach children at a time when they are eager and ready to learn. 90 percent of brain development takes place before age five, making early childhood the best time to invest in preschool programs that boost learning,creativity, and social skills. Preschool programs lay a strong foundation that helps children succeed in school and in life.

Again, not optimum to take children from families at this learning time. Then the things they learn is "school is more important than family." "Family doesn't want me." "School does want me." "School has higher value than family", etc. I have no problem recognizing that not all families can be together in all those first five years, but for those who can, it is lying and deceptive to tell them that preschool will be of benefit. Children need the solid core of love which keeps them strong through the school years, without it they flail in the wind. Preschool cannot and should not be the "foundation" of a child's life. The foundation is in the family who will be with them throughout their lives not the teacher who changes annually.

(c) Quality preschool experiences boost academic achievement in school, decrease grade retention, decrease special education placements, and increase graduation rates. Quality preschool further reduces the likelihood of later arrest and incarceration, and increases college attendance and earnings in adulthood. Economists report that every dollar invested in quality preschool returns as much as seven dollars ($7) to the public.

I'm sorry did they indicate that preschool will keep children out of jail in college and they can get a good job. Funny, I've done much research and seen none of this in families with strong parental involvement. Research shows that children who have a strong relationship with their father are 70% less likely to go to jail. I don't see the state proposing classes to improve fathering skills. No they want to take young impressionable children away from this strong influence. Illogical from the outset. The economists are likely to be responding to limited information given to them by those who support this bill. Besides, let's be real. If we are one of the worst educated states in the nation now, how can we assume that those who put together this program are going to fare any better. Why don't we improve what we're already doing before we try something new.

(d) Hundreds of thousands of children in this state do not have access to quality preschool. Preschool age children enroll at a rate of just 47 percent below the national average and far below international comparisons.

I'd want to know a lot more about their research before I assume it's true.

(e) The fastest growing segment of the preschool age population is the most underenrolled, in that Latino children account for nearly half of all preschool age children, yet have the lowest enrollment rate of any ethnic group, just 37 percent.

Are they honestly saying that because someone is Latino, they must not be able to go to preschool. Has it occurred to anyone that the strong Latino families don't place their children in preschool by choice? An interesting assumption without evidence of reason.

(f) Of the estimated 1.1 million children who are three to five years old and not yet enrolled in kindergarten, about 39 percent would likely be designated as English language learners. Therefore,pathways to excellence must be created for all children while communicating respect and support for differences in cultural origins.

"Likely" , it says 39% would "likely" be designated English language learners....hmmm. They are proposing a major plan costing the state $$$$? on the "likely" English learners. Funny, I thought kindergarden involved language developement. It's not like 5 year olds are fast learners or anything.

(g) Quality preschool experiences decrease special education placements, in part because they have the potential to provide early identification and intervention for young children with exceptional needs, which can reduce the need for ongoing special education services. Providing access to quality preschool for children with exceptional needs can help support their development and prepare them for a successful transition to kindergarten and beyond.

I would like to know how a child who is developmentally disabled will improve dramatically through preschool. My daughter was in a preschool which had them play, rest, experience story time and they had the letter of the week (mentioned on Monday, but not later). How will preschool, change that which already is?

(h) Research confirms the many benefits that children, parents,and preschool programs gain when parents are involved in their child's preschool learning both inside the classroom and at home.

Parental involvement in any aspect of a child's life always shows benefits. Again, why would preschool be better than staying with mom or dad?

(i) Universal programs - those available to all families - are supported by research. Research shows that children from all backgrounds benefit from quality preschool. The school and life success of low-income and at-risk children may be significantly increased through quality preschool. But problems with schoolreadiness are not confined to low-income children and neither are the benefits of preschool. A 2004 University of California study of California kindergartners found that children from all income backgrounds who attended preschool showed significant prereading and premath gains over children who did not attend preschool.

Anyone who assumes income defines involvement is probably not very involved and wants some form of excuse. According to mothers I know who have their children in preschool, the children who had parents teach them ANYTHING at home are already well beyond those others in the school. Academically, the benefits of preschool cannot outdo the benefits of parents who teach and spend time with their children. Why does the assembly see the need to poor more money down a pit that cannot have the outcome they state?

(j) Low- and middle-income California families have low preschool enrollment rates. Private preschool may be prohibitively expensive,with quality programs in some communities costing twice as much per year as tuition to the California State University system.

Yes, the costs of preschool can definitely add up, which is why we had better be certain of it's value before we spend extra state money with a system which is already highly flawed.

(k) The Council of Chief State School Officers has found that efforts to reform and strengthen public education cannot succeed without a concerted effort to support and improve programs that provide care and education for our youngest children.

This does not sound like a complete statement. When it says the "youngest children", I would want to know who qualifies in that category. It is quite possible the Council of Chief State School Officers is referring to Kindergarden students or 1st graders.

(l) All California families should have access to quality preschool programs for their children.

Define quality.

(m) These ideas are supported by many of the findings and recommendations of the National Education Goals Panel, the 2000California Master Plan for Education, and the 1998 Universal Preschool Task Force. SEC. 2. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to establish and provide a voluntary preschool-for-all system that conforms to the following principles:
(a) Programs may be offered in a variety of settings including public schools, centers, family childcare homes, faith-based institutions, and head start programs. These programs will meet research-based standards for social, emotional,cognitive, linguistic, and physical development, and are linked to public school system standards.

Trying to reinvent the wheel. This is already being done, but now they want to control it. Bad idea.

(b) A goal will be set for preschool teachers to be educated and compensated at levels comparable to teachers in the public schoolsystem and early education professionals will have access to ongoing professional development.

I see the strong arm of the teacher's unions looking to enlarge it's already large contingency.

(c) Recognizing that parents are their children's first teachers,and that preschool programs benefit from engaged parents, programs will create opportunities for parent involvement in preschool settings, as well as for interaction between parents and preschool teachers and administrators. Quality preschools can become learning resources not only for children but for their parents as well.

Already being done. But not as well as parents who are with their children personally.

(d) Families will have access to programs with settings,locations, hours, and participatory opportunities that meet their needs and preferences, and that support their aspirations for their children. For working families, part-time preschool will be integrated with full-time daycare as seamlessly as possible.

Preschool teachers AKA babysitters all day. But, with benefits in the union....strong arm is seen again.

(e) Children of all cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds,income levels, and neighborhoods will be welcomed in inclusive programs designed to meet their needs.

Wow! How much are they spending on this project? While jr. highers are failing classes....and drop out rates are huge.

(f) Elements that promote the inclusion of children with exceptional needs will be integrated into the planning and design of programs, facilities, staff training programs, and the provision of resources for parents.

They sure make it seem like the miracle cure for all human problems. Why can't they get good at what they are already doing? I find it difficult to believe they are capable of all written here.

(g) A system of public accountability will be established at state and local levels to ensure maximum benefits for children, equal access to services, proper use of tax dollars, and transparency to the public.

Someone is eyeing the new beaurocratic jobs.

(h) Programs will meet established standards of the public school system, providing adequate pay and benefits for qualified teachers,establishing accessible higher education opportunities for the preparation of the workforce, developing suitable preschool facilities, and engaging in ongoing quality assessments. Financing of preschool should not detract from funding for infants, toddlers, and schoolage children, nor child care subsidies that enable low-income families to work.

Strong arm....
Meeting established standards of the public school system? This is new how do those standards apply here.

(i) A preschool-for-all system will connect coherently with the public education system as well as to programs serving infants and toddlers and those providing full-time, full-time year-round childcare and other services for children of all ages. In addition, the preschool-for-all system will connect families to other services,including health and nutrition resources, that support children's readiness to learn.

Of course it will.

(j) All children deserve the opportunity to get ready to do their best in school, and to succeed later in life. Quality preschool helps build a learning foundation that should be available to all families who want it for their children. The Legislature recognizesthe benefits of quality preschool, and that the public education system, the economy, and quality of life will be strengthened byproviding quality preschool for all children.

Frankly, their standard of quality for other areas of education really concerns me.

It just gives me images of the USSR. Those who trained the children became the accountability for the children. The children were trained to care more about the state than their own families to the level that children would actually turn in their own parents for having differing views from the state.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Come water come

I'm watching the morning news and they mention we are in the path of rain once again. I look out my window to the back yard. It's still a bit of a swamp. Don't need it. Not part of my plan. Perhaps a bit much.

Yet I trust. I trust God's timing, I trust who He is and how he has organized things to be. He is the Living Water. He fills the soul that thirsts. He quenches our every need. I trust.

I need water, but do I always want it? That is the real question. To all of us. We need Him, but do we always want what He wants.

So, OK, whatever happens. Come water come.