Monday Morning Thoughts: Is County Preschool Program in Trouble?

Preschoolforall-1

Two weeks ago, Yolo County supervisors voted 4-1 to have staff come back with a ballot measure for November that would create a half-cent countywide sales tax.  The tax would be a general use tax, meaning it only requires a majority vote and would go to fund preschool, reduce homelessness and increase maintenance and repair of local roads.

The ten-year tax would generate around $16.8 million and has 64 percent of the county voters’ support, according to a recent poll.

However, the Vanguard has learned that, despite the four votes two weeks ago, Supervisor Oscar Villegas of West Sacramento may be wavering, favoring instead a West Sacramento-only initiative.  Also in potential opposition is Supervisor Matt Rexroad of Woodland, who voted against the measure two weeks ago.

In our focus on the local achievement gap, a key factor is that preschool is not universally available to all students.  Last fall, the Vanguard noted the lack of affordable preschool options.  In Davis, for instance, other than the heavily-impacted and limited-spaced Head Start, there is very little in the way of preschool options for low income families.

By way of an example, Davis last fall opened a new preschool program at Valley Oak.  This was touted as affordable, but the fee is $800 per month – well beyond the means of most low income families.  For hundreds and probably thousands of low income families, preschool may be out of reach, and their kids start out behind and never catch up.

According to literature from the Yolo County Superintendent of Schools Jesse Ortiz, “A school readiness gap exists for the youngest learners in Yolo County. At least 41% of three and four year olds in Yolo County do not experience preschool before starting Kindergarten. Income disparities, rural location, family mobility – all present significant lifetime challenges that could be overcome by a quality preschool for all education system. Our entire county community would benefit from this system and the resulting overall positive economic impact.”

That is why Mr. Ortiz and a growing coalitions of elected officials are modeling a program after the 2002 Measure K approved by West Sacramento Voters – “Universal Preschool for West Sacramento.”

This policy would enable the implementation of a quality preschool program for all children in Yolo County.

The proposed preschool system would be one that is available to every child, regardless of family income, the child’s abilities, or other factors. Yolo County’s program would provide full-day, full-year quality preschool for all three-year-olds and eligible four-year-olds.

They write, “The adoption of preschool for all would address the current gaps in service provided by Transitional Kindergarten and preschools while ensuring that all three- and four-year-olds are ‘Kindergarten ready’ by age five.”

“Yolo County’s program would be developed with the support of existing private and public preschool providers in the area, and would strive to complement – rather than duplicate or replace – existing programs. The program would put in place a standardized accountability system to measure teacher quality that could be expanded and replicated to area school districts,” the advocates write.

“Yolo County preschool advocates firmly believe that all children should start Kindergarten prepared to succeed. By giving them the best possible start in life, we will ensure an educated workforce and positive economic growth far into the future.”

They continue, “Providing a full-day, full-year service to employees will enhance the area’s current offerings of affordable childcare for the workforce. Children, families, and subsequent local classes will all benefit from the additional training and professional development received by preschool providers.”

According to the literature, “A high-quality preschool education is critical to ensuring that children start Kindergarten on a level playing field with their peers. Since the 1960’s more than a hundred studies in the United States alone have shown that preschool attendance significantly benefits children’s school readiness and success. Without access to preschool, low-income children and dual language learners often start behind and stay behind as they progress through school.”

They cite research that shows that children who attend preschool are 24 percent more likely to pass reading tests through grade three, while those who do not read well by the end of third grade are four times more likely not to complete high school.

“Programs like Head Start, while intended to expand access to preschool for low income families, have not reached large segments of the population,” they write. Last fall, we noted that Head Start only reaches 450 students in Yolo County. In the meantime, “Income scales are often set too low, with the working poor and middle class ineligible altogether. In contrast, preschool-for-all programs reach all children and provide for the most efficient use of best practices, curriculum, and teacher development programs.”

According to a 2014 study, nearly 15,000 children five and under live in Yolo County. There are approximately 2,400 births annually. In 2015, an estimated 59 percent of all three- and four-year-olds in Yolo County were enrolled in a preschool program.

“Since 2008, the total number of subsidized child-care slots in Yolo County has decreased from 3,277 to 2,288 – leaving even more families without affordable, quality childcare options. The Yolo County Office of Education estimates that approximately 2,000 three and four year olds who qualify for Head Start and state-subsidized preschool are unable to find placement in these programs due to the long waiting lists,” they write.

Superintendent Ortiz notes that Measure K, the funding Mechanism for “Universal Preschool for West Sacramento,” was funded with a half cent override of the sales tax. He believes that between half a cent to a cent countywide could fund “Quality Preschool for All.”

But unless Matt Rexroad and/or Oscar Villegas sign onto this measure, somewhere around 6000 Yolo County children will be without access to a preschool program.  At the cost of half a cent on each dollar spent, we can ensure that all students get that critical early education.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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98 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: Is County Preschool Program in Trouble?”

  1. Barack Palin

    I’m not understanding the math on this.

    $16,800,000 divided by 6000 students = $2800 a year per student

    Can we really send a child to preschool while at the same time reducing homelessness and increasing maintenance and repair of local roads on only $2800 per year?

    Will this be a program that is underfunded but once it gets a foot in the door will require more and more taxation down the road?

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I don’t know enough about the financing and whether the program would qualify for state or federal funding as well, to really answer your question, but that’s a good question to ask.

    2. quielo

      BP, seems way low to me as well. Considering the Valley Oak program is $8000 (10X$800) and they are not talking about building a new program but instead using existing programs with legacy cost structures.

      1. Barack Palin

        Quielo, it doesn’t sound like near enough to me either to fund all these things.  Adding another 1/2% to the Davis sales tax will put us at 9% which would be one of the higher rates in the nation.  If they need more later then are we looking at even higher rates?

        1. quielo

          The other factor with sales tax is the geographic size of the entity. While everyone has access to online ordering the smaller the city the easier it is to avoid sales tax by buying  outside the area. For example if the COSTCO in Woodland is charging higher taxes than the COSTCO in Vacaville that could skew my store preference. Sales tax is regressive in that it most affects poor people. If you buy a toy boat for $20 you pay tax while if you buy a yacht for $20M you do not.

           

           

  2. Frankly

    The social science field that provides the studies “proving” that subsidized pre-school welfare improves life outcomes commensurate with the cost… is so hopelessly liberal biased that it cannot be relied on.  In fact, it might be exactly the opposite, that young children dumped at a pre-school instead of being cared for at home are more likely to have some behavior issues that impact their ongoing learning capability.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Really you analyzed the studies cited here? Because to me it is kind of commonsense that kid at the age of 5 who can write and recognize letters and numbers would have huge advantage over one who couldn’t and had poor language skills. But maybe you have evidence to the contrary.

      1. hpierce

        You miss part of Frankly’s post… I had no pre-school… my Mom was a ‘stay-at home’ mom until I entered school, and started working part-time when I went off to Jr High…

        My parents read to me, engaged me in games, etc. farther back than I remember.

        I was reading the actual “Winnie the Pooh”, on my own by age 4.  I almost got kicked out of Kindergarten because I was always ‘on the wrong page’ reading the Dick and Jane books… while my classmates were struggling with basic words, I was trying to finish the book to see how it turned out.

        My parents were HS grads, no college.  Parents who are engaged with their small children, can provide much more than any “program”.  That said, yes, there are parents who cannot spend all day with their kids, for economic reasons.  But they can focus on developing their children’s minds when they are not at work.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          And you miss the real world implication of the gap – the kids who most need the schooling, don’t get it and once the gap is established, it doesn’t close.

        2. Tia Will

          hpierce

          My parents read to me, engaged me in games, etc. farther back than I remember.”

          And here in lies the problem with basing ones decision making on the purely anecdotal. You have stated that your parents read to you and engaged you in games. The ability to do this presupposes that the parents themselves can read. Kaiser did a study maybe 10-15 years ago in which it was determined that approximately 14 % of our adult patient were functionally illiterate. This study was done to determine the level at which our general health informational information should be written. My own mother never made it to high school and could not read or do math beyond the grade school level. So should policy be determined on what my mother did, or what your mother did, or maybe, just maybe we should look at the evidence actually presented by the studies.

        3. wdf1

          You could extend this logic to the following hypothetical argument:

          “I was home-schooled all the way through grade 12 and I turned out okay.  We don’t need public schools at all.  We just need appropriately dedicated parents.”

        4. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > the kids who most need the schooling, don’t get it and once the

          > gap is established, it doesn’t close.

          If you have a high IQ kid who’s high IQ parents stick him in front of the TV with a low IQ nanny until kindergarten as they present at conferences and both work hard on research to get tenure the “gap” will almost always close.  If you have a low IQ kid with low IQ parents who stick their kid in front of the TV with an older low IQ relative until kindergarten the “gap” will almost never close (because the “gap” has little to do with pre-school and a lot to do with the IQ of the kid and the parents).

          P.S. If I was a Democrat trying to increase voter turnout for the poor I would be pushing for “free daycare” (aka “universal preschool”)…

        5. hpierce

          I’ll try to remember that:

          Anecdotal experience, even if true, is not valid. [of course Tia, you never use” anecdotal experience” in your posts… will try to follow your example]

          I miss “real world” realities (even though I alluded to that things differ in different families in my post)… I was clearly irrelevant… I obviously have nothing to contribute… I apologize for saying anything…

          Parents have no responsibilities… if they can’t read, they have no obligation to learn to, perhaps with their children.  The parents definitely have no responsibility to learn to read, because if they did learn to read, they might improve their and their children’s outcomes.

          WDF’s comment, (“reductio ad absurdum”?) is noted… I have learned that if you say anything that goes beyond the ‘group think’ , you obviously take a 180 degree opposite position… thank you for your insight into my depravity…

          Best to all… can’t wait for the determination that universal preschool is not only something that is supported (which I do support), but mandatory.

           

        6. The Pugilist

          I think the key question, hpierce, is not whether your experience is true, but rather it is generalizable and applicable to the target population here and I would argue, it’s not even if it worked for you.

        7. hpierce

          Oh, Tia… you told me what I “presupposed”… so, others can’t claim to read your thoughts, but you are free to do so for others?  There is a word for that… starts with an “H”…

      2. quielo

        Without characterizing the home environment I don’t see how they can come up with ROI numbers. If the parents are real losers and spend most of their time watching TV and feeding the kids junk then pre-school is likely a cost effective option.  The message is about how to counter poor parenting.

        1. Misanthrop

          If you want to frame it that way. I’d rather think of it as breaking the cycle of poverty by providing intervention for kids whose parents don’t know the importance of reading and talking to kids.

  3. Misanthrop

    This is the problem with up by your bootstraps conservatism. It rejects the idea that the earlier the intervention the cheaper the intervention. For hundreds of years conservatives would rather throw Oliver Twist out on the street for asking for more oatmeal but have no problem paying to build prisons and incarcerate him for the life of crime this inevitably leads to. Conservatives have long been tough on crime but weak on youthful intervention as prevention.

    1. Tia Will

      quielo

      If the parents are real losers “

      This is a little judgmental for me. Let’s look for a moment at the circumstances of parents who may be working very hard and doing their absolute best, but are still unable to provide adequate early childhood education for their children.

      Let’s look at the case of a young mother, left by her partner, who is now in jail for ….whatever… or otherwise simply cannot be relied upon. She is barely literate herself having not had the advantage of literate or caring parents or perhaps just those who do not understand that importance of preparation for school. She is working three different jobs to try to keep herself and her child housed, clothed and fed. Her child is cared for most of the time by her mother who is completely illiterate and sees no benefit in talking to the child because that was not how she was raised. This is a common, common scenario. How exactly do we think that we will ever break this cycle if the society will not step in to help this child achieve its potential ?

      1. quielo

        Hi Tia,

        Having some experience in this field “She is working three different jobs” is widely touted but mainly apocryphal and part of the apologist dogma that excuses feeding kids junk food as it is cheap. It is about as factual as Reagan’s claim that welfare recipients were buying bottles of vodka from the change given with food stamps. It may also be irrelevant. The idea behind universal pre-school is that it gives children an educational foundation regardless of the situation at home. I am not opposed, I just do not think it can be accomplished with the finds proposed.

         

        1. Tia Will

          South of Davis

          The reality is for every one poor parent “working very hard and doing their absolute best” there are ten poor parents who “real losers”  (like the Dad below that gave his kid a gang tattoo)”

          Let’s suppose for the moment that your anecdote about this truly terrible father proved anything about your numeric claim, which of course it does not. Even if it did, would we not be better off exposing the child to alternative ways of living than to simply abandon him to the influence of his father ? And I would truly like to know where you got the 10/1 ratio for “real losers” to hardworking folks trying to get by and provide the best opportunity possible for their children. Care to cite a reference on that ?

        2. Tia Will

          Hi quielo

           I am not opposed, I just do not think it can be accomplished with the finds proposed.”

          And you may well be correct. However, that for me would be an argument for increasing the funding, not abandoning the program. This is, for me, another possible example of assessing “what will pass” rather than what we really need which seems to me a very backward way of asking for funding.

        3. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > I would truly like to know where you got the 10/1 ratio for “real losers”

          > to hardworking folks trying to get by and provide the best opportunity

          > possible for their children.

          A close friends wife works in Social Services and the number of poor kids she works with that don’t even have ONE parent that gives a crap is staggering (foster kids and kids raised by relatives) she does not have a single family with a married Mom & Dad who both have jobs.   Assuming you agree with me that not caring enough to be involved in your kids life at all (or even send money) is the mark of a “real loser” almost all poor kids have at least one “real loser” parent.

          P.S. Not to say that there are not any poor people working three jobs “trying to get by and provide the best opportunity possible for their children”, but for every person like that there are probably 100 poor people that couldn’t be bothered to 1. get a college degree, 2. get married, and 3. use birth control

           

      2. South of Davis

        quielo wrote:
        > “If the parents are real losers “
        Then Tia wrote:
        > This is a little judgmental for me. Let’s look for a moment at the circumstances
        > of parents who may be working very hard and doing their absolute best,
        The reality is for every one poor parent “working very hard and doing their absolute best” there are ten poor parents who “real losers”  (like the Dad below that gave his kid a gang tattoo):
        http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2010/08/getting_gang_tattoo_for_7-year.html

        1. Tia Will

          South of Davis

          The reality is for every one poor parent “working very hard and doing their absolute best” there are ten poor parents who “real losers”  (like the Dad below that gave his kid a gang tattoo)”

          Let’s suppose for the moment that your anecdote about this truly terrible father proved anything about your numeric claim, which of course it does not. Even if it did, would we not be better off exposing the child to alternative ways of living than to simply abandon him to the influence of his father ? And I would truly like to know where you got the 10/1 ratio for “real losers” to hardworking folks trying to get by and provide the best opportunity possible for their children. Care to cite a reference on that ?

        2. The Pugilist

          SOD – While I’m troubled by your comment, it seems to suggest the opposite of the argument you are making.  Let us say you are correct that ten poor parents are real losers, isn’t that all the more reason to implement universal preschool?

    2. Tia Will

      Misanthrop

      Thank you for your comment. My partner who works as a psychologist in the state prison system has extensive experience dealing with the consequences of this attitude. The amount of money that we could save on incarceration by focusing our efforts on early childhood nutrition, education and behavioral skills is not trivial. For those who are otherwise so meticulous in guarding their personal wealth, it is amazing to me that they are willing to spend far more on our prisons than they are on developing successful individuals from early childhood ( or from my point of view, from pregnancy) to adulthood.

      1. South of Davis

        Tia wrote:

        > For those who are otherwise so meticulous in guarding their personal wealth,

        > it is amazing to me that they are willing to spend far more on our prisons than

        > they are on developing successful individuals from early childhood

        Without spending more on prisons we are going to have more guys like this walking around:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/ex-wife-of-suspected-orlando-shooter-he-beat-me/2016/06/12/8a1963b4-30b8-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html

        With California saving money by letting more and more people out of prison San Francisco now has the highest property crime rate in the US.

         

         

        1. The Pugilist

          So it appears that we would spend about $60K a year to incarcerate someone and we can educated in preschool about 20 kids for the same amount.

    3. KSmith

      SoD:

      “P.S. Not to say that there are not any poor people working three jobs “trying to get by and provide the best opportunity possible for their children”, but for every person like that there are probably 100 poor people that couldn’t be bothered to 1. get a college degree, 2. get married, and 3. use birth control”

      I love how you frame this in terms of the poor people who “couldn’t be bothered” to magically get a college degree. I guess they should just walk up to the admissions office and magically pull the money to attend out of their nether regions.

      You make it sound so easy when for many poor people it is woefully out of reach.

       

  4. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    Your emphasis on locking up criminals merely underscores for me how differently we view cause and effect. You would rather spend money locking up the criminal once a crime as been committed. I would rather make the up front investment by doing the utmost we can to ensure that the crime is not committed. Since I am a very firm believer in primary prevention, the best place to prevent a life of crime is by teaching the child appropriate skills to thrive in our society, not to incarcerate him once he is an adult whose only life skills were learned from criminals.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > You would rather spend money locking up the criminal once a crime as been committed. 

      Thanks for telling me (and others) how “I would rather spend money”…

      > Your emphasis on locking up criminals merely underscores for

      > me how differently we view cause and effect. 

      You are correct, but the “cause” of crime is not the lack of preschool.

       

       

      1. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        Thanks for telling me (and others) how “I would rather spend money”…

        I was not telling you how you would rather spend it. You had made that abundantly clear in your previous post about the importance of keeping people incarcerated. No guessing or mind reading involved.

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > I was not telling you how you would rather spend it.

          You wrote: “You would rather spend money” it sure looks to me that you were telling me “how I would rather spend money”

          > You had made that abundantly clear in your previous post

          > about the importance of keeping people incarcerated. 

          You forgot the posts about how I want to spend money to stop the people who come from other countries to commit crimes and take jobs from Americans (or to radicalize people born here telling them that it is OK to kill gay guys)…

  5. quielo

    Tia,

     “This is, for me, another possible example of assessing “what will pass” rather than what we really need’ absolutely agreed though there is an undeniable element of fraud involved as well. It’s analogous to getting a quote from a car dealer and then finding out that the engine and wheels are not included.

     

    There is also the semi-fraudulent aspect of claiming this is support working parents when the intent is to counter bad parenting. it’s like those American Diabetes Association solicitations which always show children with juvenile diabetes rather than fat people lined up at Claim Jumper or Hometown Buffet.

     

    1. Tia Will

      quielo

      There is also the semi-fraudulent aspect of claiming this is support working parents when the intent is to counter bad parenting.”

      I am not really seeing a difference here and thus do not see anything “fraudulent, semi or otherwise. “Bad parenting” can have many different causes. For me it does not make a difference whether the support is needed because the parents are working, or because the parents never acquired the skills to become good parents in the first place. From the perspective of the child, the need is still there. Good parenting is a skill which may be acquired from one’s own parents or through observation of others, reading parenting books ( which of course pre supposes that you yourself can read)  and training. It is not a measure of whether or not one is a “good human being”. Just as I would never castigate a mother who was unsuccessful at breast feeding, I would also not judge a mother because she had not yet acquired parenting skills. The goal is to help every parent and every child succeed, not to point fingers and castigate.

      1. The Pugilist

        I don’t really understand this bad parenting riff.  If you make $60000 a year, that means perhaps a take home of $4000 a month after taxes.  If $800 is a low cost for preschool – it is a tough stretch to fit that into $4000 a month.  If you have two kids of preschool age forget it.  That’s at $60,000.  Then go down to $30,000 and try to make it work.  People making $30,000 are likely not bad parents, but they sure as heck aren’t going to afford to pay for preschool.

        1. quielo

          The bad parenting comes from the fact that children who most benefit from pre-school are those that receive the least stimulation at home. If you talk to your children and read to them then they will receive less benefit from this program. If you sit them in front of the TV and feed them junk then the pre-K will be very helpful.

        2. Marina Kalugin

          only if you have children pugi….otherwise $90K annually means take home of $4K….

          people who make less than $30K with two children make way more in take home …due to earned income credit et al

          when I was a lowly paid student assistant at the MU, circa 70s, I was actually a Snr clerk…and I did payroll…  it fascinated me that the higher paid didn’t take home any more than the lowliest paid career employees…or rather the difference was so slight….

          it made little sense until I got a bit older and had kids of my own….

  6. Don Shor

    The proposed preschool system would be one that is available to every child, regardless of family income,

    It seems rather inefficient to provide preschool for families who have sufficient income to pay for it themselves.

    But unless Matt Rexroad and/or Oscar Villegas sign onto this measure, somewhere around 6000 Yolo County children will be without access to a preschool program.

    Why? There are five supervisors.

     

    1. Misanthrop

      But you also save a lot by not building an administration for means testing. There is a good chance that people who can afford private day care would still but it.

  7. WesC

    While it is true that Headstart program children showed definite gains in their early school years, by the end of 3rd grade however the Headstart attendees are academically indistinguishable from their peers who did not attend Headstart.

    If universal preschool is going to be implemented it seems reasonable that there be some sort of a sliding scale co-payment required.

        1. South of Davis

          The Pugilist wrote:

          > the most recent Head Start Impact Study seemingly shows parity at third

          > grade while numerous long-term, quasi-experimental studies find Head

          > Start children to attend more years of schooling, earn higher incomes,

          > live healthier, and engage less in criminal behavior.”

          You can’t discount the fact that the kids who were in a voluntary “Head Start” program were in a home where their caregivers cared enough about them to 1. Sign then up for the Head Start Program, and 2. Get them to the program.  It is not surprising that kids in a home like that do better than kids who’s caregivers 1. did not care enough to sign them up for a free Head Start program and  2. could not be bothered to get them to the program.

          I grew up poor and my parents never paid for preschool or a single lesson (my only “coaching” was in public school PE classes).  Since I worked in Junior High and High School I never played sports.  As an adult I started playing golf and tennis but I am not as good as the guys that went to tennis and golf camps as kids.  When I had kids I had the money to pay for lessons and I did a lot of research on studies that looked at the best time to get kids started in sports and everything I read said that there is no difference at all between starting say golf or tennis at 4 or 6 (while there is a big difference between starting at 6 and 30 like I did).

        2. The Pugilist

          I still don’t understand what you’re actually arguing other than belittling parents who you don’t approve of.  You’re not making an argument against school.

  8. Anon

    A high-quality preschool education is critical to ensuring that children start Kindergarten on a level playing field with their peers.

    I am not buying this for one second.  See: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/19/us/sharp-criticism-for-head-start-even-by-friends.html

    From the article: “Studies of Head Start have typically found that most of its academic benefits wear off after three years, with children who attend the program then performing no better than those who did not.”

    If you want to argue that every parent should have access to quality babysitting services if they are working, that would make more sense.

    The tax would be a general use tax, meaning it only requires a majority vote and would go to fund preschool, reduce homelessness and increase maintenance and repair of local roads.”

    I am not in favor of throwing more money at the homeless or preschool, which would be creating new programs requiring higher and higher taxes to fully fund.  I am for improving the state of the roads, that allows everyone to travel to work safely.

        1. The Pugilist

          The advantage of those studies are that you are tracking kids through schools and you are looking at more data than test scores.  The disadvantage of them is that you have fewer “n” in your analysis.

    1. Barack Palin

      I am not in favor of throwing more money at the homeless or preschool, which would be creating new programs requiring higher and higher taxes to fully fund.  I am for improving the state of the roads, that allows everyone to travel to work safely.

      I agree with this.  We can all agree that these programs will require more and more funds, don’t kid yourself, the half cent sales tax is just the start.  It will be very expensive.

      1. The Pugilist

        I assume this is the start of a program that will expand over time. I’m happy to spend me.  The West Sac program has been successful by most measures.

      2. Tia Will

        BP

        We can all agree that these programs will require more and more funds, don’t kid yourself, the half cent sales tax is just the start.”

        Perhaps not in the long run. If we had higher levels of literacy and more people valued education and truly understood the value of early childhood preparation, we might have more of the hpierce’s whose parents were successful home teachers. While it is true that this is speculation on my part  ( although it is bolstered by the fact that children of literate and very verbal mothers acquire language faster) we know for a fact that the road that gets patched today will need patching again in the future. I do not hear many voices claiming that maintenance of infrastructure should not be ongoing. So why are we so willing to just wash our hands of the importance of establishing and maintaining a well educated society ?

      3. Misanthrop

        Too bad you don’t want to help the homeless either. Yolo County has been a leading agent for a creative and cost effective program for helping the homeless. The efforts of the Yolo Board of Supervisors has been held up as a regional model of what others should be doing. This is an area where we should be proud of our local officials and support the good work they have done and continue to do.

    2. Tia Will

      Anon

      I am not in favor of throwing more money at the homeless or preschool, which would be creating new programs requiring higher and higher taxes to fully fund.  I am for improving the state of the roads, that allows everyone to travel to work safely.”

      So it is “throwing more money ” when you do not approve of the programs, but “improving” when you do want the money spent on it. Our priorities here are completely reversed. I would much rather spend on what I see as improvements in education likely to pay off over generations as these children grow up to raise better educated children themselves than to spend it on potholes which will not be self sustaining or improving and will have to be repaired again and again.

  9. David Greenwald Post author

    Clarification to my article: The intent of this program is not to get to universal preschool.  Barack Palin is correct, there isn’t the money there for that.  What this would do is allow a family to receive a stipend or scholarship to augment the cost.  We don’t know how much of the tax take would go to preschool and we don’t know the number of kids targeted by this yet – that will be determined on June 21 at the next meeting.

    1. Anon

      My guess is this will only be a pilot program, because of the way this is structured – a sales tax increase that pays for road repair, homelessness and preschool.  Only at most a third would be spent on preschool, if that, which would seem to indicate only a pilot program.  I agree with another poster who suggested there should be a sliding scale payment for preschool, and I see it more as access to babysitting services for those who need childcare because they work.  Stay at home moms are quite capable of caring for their own kids.  The gov’t on the other hand does a questionable job…

      1. quielo

        That invalidates the arguments Tia is making. If it is an adjunct to work (or school) then it’s a very different program from the preparation for elementary education.

      2. The Pugilist

        It’s not access to babysitting services – although that’s important for working parents and having the kids educated at the same time seems like a good use of time and money.  Stay at home moms might be capable of caring for heir own kids, but most of them send their kids to school as well.

      3. Tia Will

        Anon

        Stay at home moms are quite capable of caring for their own kids. “

        Which I see as a very good argument for a UBI which would allow these mom’s to stay home with their children rather than having to scramble to try to monetarily provide for and educate their children at the same time. I do not see how we can expect our single parents, or even many couples at the bottom of the economic scale to both earn enough to live on and fully educate and care for their children. I know that I found it a challenge as a single mother even on a doctor’s salary. I cannot imagine what it must be like for those living on the edge.

        As for the presumption that everyone was raised with the same values and expectations, this simply is not true. My mother in law, raised in rural Turkey, was an exemplary wife and mother  within her culture. She raised a family of five children, did all of their cooking from scratch, had made all of their clothing by hand, and had maintained a garden and animals. She had done absolutely everything expected of her. But when she arrived in this country in her 60’s was fluent only in Turkish, never succeeded in learning English, and could neither read nor write in any language. I am wondering if any of you would characterize her, or any immigrant like her, as a bad parent or bad person. I would not. For many due to time, or age, or previous expectation, learning is not as simple as “picking up a book and teaching yourself”.

        And, just one last point. The inadequacies of the parents are never the fault of the child. So why would we withhold from the child the opportunity to advance regardless of how much we might disdain the choices of the parent ?

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        That’s not true.  There are lots of kids in Davis in this category.  In fact, my kids are going to CDC this summer, one qualified for a fee waiver and my daughter would have been a partial under this program.  There are a lot of kids in the low income category in Davis – probably 25 percent of all students.

        1. Barack Palin

          So basically this is a preschool funding plan just for low income families.  Do I have that right?

          Did they tell the voters that when they conducted their poll?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            This was the question:

            Shall the County of Yolo enact a one-half percent sales tax for general government purposes that include local priorities such as:

            •Improving preschool/early childhood education access and quality;
            •Reducing homelessness; and
            •Increasing local road maintenance and repair;

            within the County for a limited period of 10 years, with independent annual audits of all expenditures made available to the public and reviewed by the Yolo County Financial Oversight Committee?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Doesn’t the term “access” imply that you are increasing access to people who otherwise do not have it?

        2. Barack Palin

          Not necessarily.  It could mean that more preschool locations will be opened up improving access for all.  Also the quality would be better with teacher certification.

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Could be. We won’t know what this program looks like until next week – if it put on the ballot.

        3. Barack Palin

          My point is that people tend to vote for things that are goodies for them.  With the wording of the poll question I believe many of the respondents felt that the new tax would mean that they could get preschool for their kids not knowing that it will be mainly for low income.  Therefor the 64% poll approval numbers.  Now if the poll had been worded to more accurately reflect the program I doubt you would see the same approval numbers.

        1. Misanthrop

          People move away from here all the time because they can’t afford it. If you were truly concerned you would go after the elephants and not the small potatoes. It isn’t the  taxes that are driving most people out its the lack of housing creating an imbalance that drives the price of housing up. When housing costs 30-50% of income it drives more people away than a 9% value added tax on sales. Especially if you move to nearby areas with lower housing prices that have comparable sales taxes like Woodland or Sac.

    1. South of Davis

      BP wrote:

      > When will taxpayers hit the wall?

      Probably when we get to vote on the half cent tax to pay for Yoga lessons for the poor…

    2. Tia Will

      BP

      The taxes keep adding up with no end in sight.  When will taxpayers hit the wall?”

      Two thoughts about this.

      You seem to see only the taxes, not the benefits that one derives from them.

      About when will the taxpayers hit the wall, I believe the appropriate answer is at various different times and rates depending on what is most important to them. You seem to have “hit the wall” along time ago judging only from your own posts. My wall is not anywhere in sight.

  10. Marina Kalugin

    those who get yoga lessons are overall way healthier and can focus better…they likely eat better etc…

    likely they have wealthier parents who can afford it or they are poor and use the services.

    it is the middle who get squeezed..

    I don’t know how old some are on here, but I wasn’t even in this country when prior to kindergarten…didn’t know a word of English when I showed up here around 6 1/2…but I knew how to read in my native tongue and also in the country we lived in for the 5 years prior to getting to the US>

    where we lived in SA…children didn’t even go to kindergarten….and we were moving so I never went to first grade either – I mean in SA…

     

  11. Tia Will

    many retirees are moving out of davis”

    Well if enough do so, then the rapid growths will have a conundrum. Not so large a population to demonize and accuse of being selfish and keeping out those rich enough to afford luxury apartments.

    1. Misanthrop

      Some people cash out when the kids are gone and leave Davis. Others leave but don’t cash out and rent the place to students. Still others stay and age in place. None of this turnover is enough to overcome the growth in population, a percentage of which, UC Davis is trying to serve. Only by building can we keep pace. While building has its consequences not building has its consequences as well. Many are now suffering the consequences of not building while many are not and don’t even understand how their choices to oppose growth are impacting others.

    1. Barack Palin

      Agreed, once they get a foot in the door and get this program going it will be expensive to fund and you can pretty much bet a 1/2 cent sales tax ain’t going to keep it going.  They will come back for more.

    2. Don Shor

      So, you do favor preschool? You don’t? You support this plan, or you don’t? All we get here is your trademark hostility to unions. Seems that is an obstacle to having an actual conversation.

      1. Frankly

        I don’t see the cost returning a commensurate benefit.  We are talking about net new taxes.  When I am asked to pay more for anything, I ask where is the commensurate value for what I am being required to pay.

        Don’t you understand that there is an end to how much people can pay?  Don’t you believe in the Laffer Curve (that increasing taxes on people’s earnings results in lower overall tax receipts because there is less incentive to earn)?  Don’t you believe that tax increase hurt many people in other ways, hence we should ask if that hurt is necessary and a justified cost?

        How about this?  How about the K-12 education system goes to 12 months of school instead of 9 months?  And it is done at the same funding level?  That is how private industry takes care of business doing more with less.

        1. Don Shor

          I don’t see the cost returning a commensurate benefit.

          I don’t either necessarily, the way it appears to be proposed. But how would you measure that commensurate benefit if you dismiss all social science research? What’s your metric?
          I agree that the running tally of all the various taxes that are being proposed is getting to be a concern. Voters may finally balk, even in Davis. The problem is that all the various agencies — city, school district, county — are operating separately and don’t seem to be considering their possible impacts on each other.

        2. wdf1

          8 September, 2015, NPR: 10 Years In, Tulsa’s Pre-K Investment Is Paying Off

          Researchers who’ve been studying preschoolers in Tulsa say the same is true for most of the children who entered the city’s pre-K program in 2005.

          “These children did show huge gains in early math and early literacy skills,” says Deborah Phillips, a developmental psychologist at Georgetown University who has been overseeing the study. “They were more likely to be engaged in school, less timid in the classroom and more attentive.”

          Phillips says preschool gave them a good, strong boost into elementary school, Today, as eighth-graders, says Phillips, most of these kids are still doing really well.

          Phillips didn’t just look at grades and test scores. Her team looked at student mobility, whether kids were in advanced or special education classes. They examined retention rates, absenteeism, and they even surveyed students’ attitudes about school.

          Researchers then compared these eighth-graders to a large sample of Tulsa eighth- and seventh-graders who did not attend preschool. They found that those students were not doing nearly as well.

  12. irene

    I am just a little confused as to how Mr. Villegas changed his vote outside of a meeting.  The only vote that counts is the one he took at the meeting with a quorum present.  If I were Mr. Villegas, I would also be very careful about not abstaining from votes that could have a conflict of interest with his wife Katie’s position as head of Yolo County Children’s Alliance, especially considering where her salary is being paid from.  I guess after the vote Mr. Villegas got his orders from the WS Mayor not to interfere with his sales tax hike hence the change of heart.

     

  13. Anon

    Tia Will: “So it is “throwing more money ” when you do not approve of the programs, but “improving” when you do want the money spent on it. Our priorities here are completely reversed. I would much rather spend on what I see as improvements in education likely to pay off over generations as these children grow up to raise better educated children themselves than to spend it on potholes which will not be self sustaining or improving and will have to be repaired again and again.

    Throwing more money at the problem of educating our children doesn’t seemed to have worked particularly well thus far.  We still have a nagging achievement gap despite all the extra money devoted to our schools.  Meanwhile we have not maintained our roads as they should have been all along.  It is not a matter of pitting education against roads, but more a matter of what do we get for our money.  Repaired roads and the improved safety that goes along with it seem a better use of money than funding pre-school when it has not been shown to be particularly effective, as in the article I gave a link to.  By the third grade, those in Head Start did not do any better than those who had no pre-school.

    1. wdf1

      Anon:  Throwing more money at the problem of educating our children doesn’t seemed to have worked particularly well thus far. 

      Your reply gives clues as to the problem with “throwing more money” at education.  More money helps, but only if it is spent on what works.

      Anon:  We still have a nagging achievement gap despite all the extra money devoted to our schools. 

      As usual, I think we’re just going agree to disagree, but…   When you were a math teacher, did you think that math (and maybe reading) was all that was important to a child’s education?  Well, that’s how we define the quality of education today — competency in math and English.  When you cite the NY Times criticism of Head Start (“By the third grade, those in Head Start did not do any better than those who had no pre-school.”), they’re looking at the standardized test scores in English and math.  They’re not looking at any other measures of educational attainment.

      I understand that you are no longer raising a child in the public schools.  The major difference you would see is that even more so than the past, schools are relying on standardized tests, particularly in math and English Language Arts to measure whether anything good is happening or not.  And they’re not very interested in much else.  The usual response to low standardized test scores is to reinforce instruction in math and English.  And the evaluation of those interventions is that they don’t work.  That’s why there’s a “nagging achievement gap.”

      Schools and school systems actually show better results when the curriculum is better diversified to include lab science, geography, arts (visual, music, drama, dance), PE/athletics, robotics, newspaper, and even “practical arts” (woodshop, cooking, sewing).  They also work better when there is more attention given to soft skills (sometimes called “non-cognitive outcomes”) — ability to socialize and cooperate, develop creativity, how to deal with disappointment and challenges, delaying gratification, etc.  None of those things are directly tested for in standardized tests.  Many parents value these experiences for their kids in school, but state and federal legislators generally don’t.  Instead they like standardized test scores in math and English.  In general in hiring employees, supervisors and HR staff tend to value “soft skills” more than they value a certain high level competency in math and English.

      From your comments (the way that you criticize Head Start), you clearly favor math and English competency as the most important things in education, potentially even to the exclusion of other things, for instance athletics (I know, for instance, you were very critical of the school district for rebuilding the high school stadium because you thought it placed too much importance on athletics).  I would seek more balance, even emphasis on other parts of the educational curricula.  If you were to favor those other aspects of education, then you would probably find that preschool education would have more value to you.  If you want to see an ROI (return on investment) for preschool education, then you have to see what happens two and three decades later.  Personally, I think it’s worth it.  But voters respond better to the instant gratification of a filled pothole.

      1. nameless

        Yes, English and Math should be first and foremost in education.  Without those basic building blocks, the child is going to struggle in school and life, no matter how well they play a guitar. I have been a teacher as well as a parent who had to tutor my kids at home because the schools did not do their basic job of teaching the 3 Rs. Shameful.

        1. wdf1

          Right.  And that’s where we agree to disagree.  I, too, have some experience teaching and come from a family of teachers, and we discuss these things endlessly.  My spare time for years has been spent researching why some schools seem to succeed and which don’t.  In other words, I would enjoy a more engaged discussion with you if you want.

          You seem to present a view of English and math at all costs before anything else.  If you compare Davis schools to other districts, there is broader range of curricular offerings in DJUSD than many other schools and districts, especially those that are low performing.  A major reason that low performing schools end up not having much else besides English and math is that those schools are obligated to put more resources into math and English interventions and take away resources from other disciplines and activities.  It is a downward spiral.

          But I remind you that you have also commented how your kids had performing arts experience — music and dance.  You might think it was a mere “side dish” in their lives.  But for many students (and I suspect for yours), they develop fundamental life skills and experiences that are not easily learned in English and math alone.  Music, arts, drama, dance, student government, robotics, student newspaper, yearbook, athletics, certain student club activities create an environment of engagement in which students then feel that school and life has relevance because of those activities.

          If you give them English and math alone, you will be fighting a more challenging battle to figure out how to keep most of them engaged.  If they have those other subjects/activities, then they will be school-engaged enough to learn whatever English and math you give them.

          I can see why you can be as skeptical as you are of school parcel taxes, because they tend to fund many of those activities beyond English and math.

          Again, I stand by my position that you give students a diversity of curricular experience.  Not English and math alone.  Quality pre-school works within that framework of diverse curricular experience early in their lives that helps them succeed later on.

    2. wdf1

      David Brooks, 14 June 2016:  The Building Blocks of Learning

      The good news is that attention is finally turning to the love lives of our students — to the psychic and emotional qualities they bring to the classroom. No one is better at chronicling this shift than Paul Tough, the author of “How Children Succeed” and now “Helping Children Succeed.” In his latest book, he asks how, concretely, can we improve students’ noncognitive skills. (“Noncognitive skills” is a euphemism social scientists use for those things students get from love and attachment.)

      Tough notices that many of the teachers who improve their students’ character never actually talk about character. They coach them in chess, or enthuse over science. Tough concludes that skills like resilience and self-control are not really skills the way reading is a skill, they are traits imparted by an environment.

      The most important educational environment is the one that surrounds a child in the first five years, when the emotional foundations are being engraved. The gap between rich and poor students opens up before age 5 and stays pretty constant through high school. Despite this, the U.S. ranks 31st out of 32 developed nations in the amount it spends on early childhood.
      ….
      Tough reports on research by Roland Fryer at Harvard showing that attempts to pay kids to read more and perform better have been largely ineffective. Students are not motivated by financial incentives. He also reports on research by C. Kirabo Jackson at Northwestern, which shows that while some teachers are good at raising their students’ test scores, other teachers are really good at improving their students’ school engagement. Teachers in the first group are amply rewarded these days, but teachers who motivate their students to show up every day and throw themselves into school life may not even realize how good they are, because emotional engagement is not something we measure and stress.

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