Glad I’m not a 4-year-old …

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… at least not a four-year-old living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  If you’re in the 34 percent of Montanans that fall into that category, you’re out of luck if you want to send your kid to preschool.

That’s because Montana Republican legislators sent our congressional delegation a letter urging it to reject $40 million in federal preschool grant funding.  One of the reasons to reject the funding, according to the letter, is it might hurt private preschools.  But the funding would go to kids who can’t afford private preschools, so that point seems moot.

Is preschool that important?  Research indicates it is:

Statistics show that a majority of kids attend at least one year of preschool: According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), more than two-thirds of 4-year-olds and more than 40 percent of 3-year-olds were enrolled in a preschool in 2005. “Children who attend high-quality preschool enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not,” says NIEER director W. Steven Barnett, PhD.”

It should be noted that Republican candidate for superintendent of public schools, Billings Sen. Elsie Arntzen, signed the letter.  Also, Montana’s two Republicans in Congress, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Ryan Zinke, aren’t fond of the funding, although their statements to the press seem rather nebulous:

Representatives from Daines’ and Zinke’s offices confirmed that they received the letter and emphasized local control in brief, emailed statements.

“Sen. Daines understands the importance of strengthening our education system and shares the goals of improving early-childhood education,” a statement said. “However, he is concerned that current federal initiatives have failed to close the long-term achievement gap between many students.”

Democrtic Sen. Tester doesn’t agree:

“Unfortunately, there are folks who don’t think our kids are worth it and would rather privatize education, making it only accessible to those who can easily afford it.”

If you’re a kid whose parents can afford to send you to a quality preschool, you’re ahead of the game.  If not, maybe you can find a Republican legislator who will tutor you after classes when you fall behind in elementary school.

 

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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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lokywokyBig SwedeNorma DuffyPete TalbotHighPoint Recent comment authors
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Big Swede
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I thought Head Start took care of 4 year olds. By the way studies have shown no long term academic benefits to the HS program so why try another loser.

Big Swede
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Norma Duffy
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Norma Duffy

Cato? really? a right wing group? can you show me what primary and secondary education professionals reside in Cato Swede? Because there are none. Andrew Coulson has no educational prowess in these fields…. apparently never a teacher/ educator himself? just a guy with an education for himself and writing skills? If your gonna pick people to make your argument stronger, could you for at least point to one who has actually been in the trenches? and not some critic who refuses to use Behavioral Science to make his point. HighScope’s approach has a positive effect in Head Start programs http://www.highscope.org/Content.asp?ContentId=260… Read more »

Big Swede
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Actually Norma Cato is just quoting the Governments own findings in their study.

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/head_start_report.pdf

Next time I’ll skip to the directly to them unless you think the Koch bros hacked in and changed the numbers.

Norma Duffy
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Norma Duffy

We worked with less Information on the Atom Bomb and the internet. Dig deeper Swede the government jobs shines when they take theory and make stuff possible… like going to the moon, and flying to Mars. You think too small and you can’t explain away all the other good that has come about from the above products Government shares with corporations. The Horse and Buggy are still available to you at anytime Swede, you can always get away from all the medical advances, scientific fact you want by burying yourself under a rock. … But I kind of believe you… Read more »

Norma Duffy
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Norma Duffy

Not only is that exactly what happened Pete but Cato purposly left out longer studies, that prove Headstart” positive productivity! Swedes problem is just like Catos they leave out all the pro points on just about any writing they do for the Koch brothers and corporations. Skewed is the new normal for conservatives

Norma Duffy
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Norma Duffy

By the Swede, do yourself a favor and read the report. from the paper you use as eveidence is this: “We do not yet know if there will be positive outcomes for HSIS participants later in life, however, research suggests that positive outcomes later in life are possible. Despite a growing body of research about relatively rapid dissipation of early cognitive impacts, there is some evidence suggesting that positive effects of Head Start may have an impact on participants’ later life such as later school success and early adulthood outcomes (Garces, et al., 2002; Ludwig & Miller, 2007; Deming, 2009).… Read more »

Big Swede
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Yeah, let’s take 40 million of taxpayer dollars for “unknown outcomes” and “some evidence of positive outcomes”.
Regardless of the fact that these monies will force schools to prepare more rooms in crowded schools which have recently added full time kindergarden classes.

HighPoint
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HighPoint

Glad you’re not a 4-year-old living in Park County. Livingston is the poorest town in Montana. All of its representatives signed the letter: Sen. Nels Swandal (R-Wilsall); Rep. Debra Lamm (R-Livingston); and Rep. Alan Redfield (R-Livingston).

http://1075zoofm.com/poorest-town-in-montana/

lokywoky
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lokywoky

The HeadStart program was/is not designed to make and/or keep kids ahead of their peers for life. It was designed to get them up to grade level for primary grades so that they would be prepared to participate with their peers AT grade level when they reached the primary grades after kindergarden/grades 1&2. It was never designed to make these kids into wunderkind who would exceed all other children for the rest of their lives so all of you looking for those kinds of outcomes are doomed to be disappointed. Furthermore, HeadStart is block-grant funded by Congress, which means that… Read more »

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