Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fending off the Education Establishment



I thought I would also share with you a small victory we realized yesterday in our efforts to stymie the Education Establishment from enabling parents to further abdicate their parental responsibilities and strap the taxpayers with higher public school costs.


Last week I presented before the Tamaqua Area School District board of directors on a proposal to expand their current half-day Kindergarten to full-day Kindergarten (see the story below...also note the PDE person's comments...we need to blast these comments around...I even commended her for saying what she did because proponents like Joan Benso never do or would admit that the research is inconclusive). 


Yesterday, the board president and assistant superintendent informed me that what appeared to be a fait accompli was reversed.  The proposal didn't even make it out of committee (reversing one of the member's previously stated positions).  The asst. super (who favored full-day K) even told me that he thought it would have been defeated by the full board as well, which also was a reversal.  (Apparently there will be story in tomorrow's Republican-Herald.)


Of course, the war is far from over.  Today, on "The Bob Durgin Show" we'll be tackling Ed Rendell's "Pre-K Counts" with Andy LeFevre of REACH and Mary Anater of the PA Catholic Conference.  Then I'll be talking with Sharon Williams of Agora Cyber School about the attacks by the Education Establishment on cyber charter schools.  Tune in from 3-6pm if you can...and call in to weigh in as well!




Matt Brouillette []




Tamaqua considers all-day kindergarten



TIMES • shamrock writer


TAMAQUA — More debate over whether the Tamaqua Area School District should move to all-day kindergarten was heard at Tuesday’s school board committee meetings.


Directors heard the pros and cons of switching from a half-day of classes to a full-day schedule from two guests.

The district is the only one in Schuylkill County that still offers half-day kindergarten.

Jane Daschbach, an early learning specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Matthew Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation, presented the school board members with information.

Daschbach said that studies show nothing negative about all-day kindergarten, but she said that long-term benefits cannot be proven since research on the subject is still new.

“The research is not conclusive because the studies haven’t been replicated,” said Daschbach, a former kindergarten instructor and superintendent of schools.

She explained that private studies have shown that all-day kindergarten students develop greater independence, higher academic achievement and better attendance. For the most part, she said, those who benefit most are children from lower-income families.

Brouillette, who called his group a “public policy think tank,” reminded board members that studies on full-day kindergarten are often skewed.

He claimed that there is no “conclusive evidence” to prove that full-day kindergarten is more beneficial than half-day classes.

Thomas Ponting, elementary principal, estimated that there will be eight kindergarten classes if the district elects the full-time schedule.

If the district combines its existing kindergarten staff with its developmental kindergarten and transitional first-grade staffs, it will have the equivalent of 7.5 teachers. Ponting said the district would have to hire an additional “half” teacher to cover the eight classes.

There is always a possibility, Ponting said, that the enrollment will be down and that no additional staff members would have to be hired.

Ponting also said that students would learn more in the full-day setting.

©The REPUBLICAN & Herald 2007





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