Opinion: If Legislature wants kids ready for kindergarten, invest in quality pre-k

Mindy Binderman is executive director of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students and Stephanie Blank is GEEARS board chair and strategic adviser to the Arthur Blank Foundation. They co-wrote this column on the proposed change to the age in which children can begin kindergarten in Georgia.

By Mindy Binderman and Stephanie Blank

A new law would require students walking into kindergarten classrooms in Georgia next year would have their 5th birthday before Aug. 1 rather than the current date of Sept. 1.  BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

A proposed new law would require students entering kindergarten next year would turn 5 by Aug. 1 rather than the current date of Sept. 1. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

State lawmakers are considering a proposal to change the age of kindergarten eligibility in Georgia. The concern about children’s readiness for school is a reminder of the importance of high-quality early education.

While the chronological age considerations that our legislators are debating is important, equally critical is what comes before a child turns 4 1/2  or 5. The foundation of skills needed in school – and the workplace – is built during a child’s earliest years.

In 2013, nearly two-thirds of Georgia’s fourth graders scored below proficient on national standardized tests for reading and math. We must intervene early to build the foundation from which all learning, behavior and health depend.

A large body of research shows that students who receive high-quality early education are more developed cognitively, socially, emotionally and academically than their peers who did not receive a similar education. We must capitalize on every single moment of a child’s first five years by enrolling them in high-quality early education programs, reading and talking with them, and interacting in ways that promote language and literacy development.

 Today, a child in Georgia must be 5  by Sept. 1 in order to enroll in kindergarten. The House bill under consideration would move that date to Aug. 1 for the upcoming school year – and June 30 thereafter.

Champions of this bill say it is necessary because many of Georgia’s 4-year-olds lack classroom experience and, therefore, are not ready to succeed in kindergarten.

The additional preparation months for late summer birthdays proposed in HB 100 will only make a difference if those students are spending that time in learning and language rich environments.

 The formative years of birth through 5 offer the biggest opportunity to make a meaningful, lifelong impact on Georgia’s children. Kindergarten readiness means more than blowing out five candles on a birthday cake, packing a lunch and buying a new book bag. The brain building that is the foundation for later school success begins when an infant or young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and an adult responds appropriately with eye contact, words, or a hug.

With that reciprocal human communication, and with continued interactions between children and their parents or teachers, neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain that support the development of communication and social skills.

When you play peekaboo with a baby, you are stimulating important brain growth. And when a toddler is encouraged to stack blocks, read a book with a teacher, learn new vocabulary, and play with play dough at a high quality child care program, that child is learning valuable skills that will increase school readiness. 

A toddler in a 4-year-old Pre-K classroom learning new vocabulary through play, telling stories and learning classroom routine is far more likely to arrive at school for kindergarten ready to learn. 

We applaud the Legislature’s focus on school readiness. At the same time, we urge them to increase access to affordable, high-quality preschool and pre-kindergarten programs that focus on language rich interactions between students and teachers. That’s the proven path to improved outcomes in kindergarten and beyond.

Reader Comments 0

50 comments
Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

No matter where they put the birthday cutoff, there will always be some students who are 10-11 months older than others in the class.  Personally, I think a Dec 31 cutoff makes sense as it "splits the difference" in the school year.  I'm pretty sure that was the cutoff way back when I attended elementary.

Speaking of which, back then, many students did not attend Kindergarten.  First Grade meant just that, it was the first time many stepped foot in any type of school environment.  We seemed to turn out okay.

bu2
bu2

@Lee_CPA2 

There is a Dale Farran, a child development specialist quoted in the "Readiness" article in today's AJC.  It would be interesting to see her do an article for Maureen.  She says in the article, "...a thoughtful national discussion is needed about the academic demands of kindergarten through third grade."


There has been a lot of study about how the mind changes.  I really don't think many of these academic changes consider that.  Related to the pre-k issue, there is a very interesting National Geographic article in January talking about children's development.  The short of it, is, you need good parenting before age 3.  There is a big difference between the IQs of those in low income households and those in higher income households and much of it has to do with attention and nurturing.  Nuturing was especially critical to memory.

jerryeads
jerryeads

Hi Cat!  My guess is that there is WIDE variation in the quality of lottery supported preschool, ranging from programs resembling detention centers to model High/Scope programs. I had the honor to spend a decade doing early childhood research with Steve Barnett and his wife Ellen (National Institute for Early Education Research). I've talked with a few (really impressive) folks who are involved with monitoring preschool programs here, and of course have read the few "evaluations" of the state programs. My take is that if we REALLY wanted to do more than provide daycare, we'll have to require the teacher preparation (i.e., early childhood certified teachers - what's known here as "Birth - 5"), resources and curriculum (such as High/Scope) that we KNOW will make a difference. Until we do, all is hype, and we most certainly won't get the "$7 return on every $1" that Steve found for well-run programs.

I really admire Steve and Ellen's undying optimism, lauding states for their efforts and encouraging them to do more. Their take is that something is better than nothing, and from a national perspective that's probably reasonable given it's not possible to go from zero to a hundred in one step. But what it looks like here is that the state's leaders have some interest in LOOKING good but not much interest in actually DOING good - and as long as that's the case, we'll not make much progress.

bu2
bu2

@jerryeads 

The mentality that doing something is better than nothing is part of the problem.


We have limited resources.  They would be better spent on targeted tutoring in the elementary and middle school years.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

My granddaughter's public pre-k experience in Hall County was pretty dismal.  She went backward academically. My grandson, her brother, is in a very expensive private pre K there, and is being exposed to 10X as much good stuff as she was.  No way would my daughter consider public pre K for him!

bamamomma
bamamomma

Here's the deal- either the state pays a little bit for Pre-K now or it pays a lot more later.  Special education and grade retention costs a heck of a lot more that Pre-K- and the cost of incarceration for kids who drop out of high school and get in trouble is even higher.  You can't legislate good parenting but good pre-k has been shown to have really positive benefits for all of us.

Betsy Ross1776
Betsy Ross1776

Delaying school is a good thing. This is a good bill.
No amount of Pre-K is going to force a kid to be developmentally ready. It's not the school, not the environment; it's the body and mind and it works on its own timeline.
We're middle class white folks with four college degrees between us, decent IQs and we prepare our kids as well or better than any parent but....our kids simply weren't ready.
The school refused to allow our kids to repeat kindergarten so we had to pay for private school to repeat kindergarten. Then, and only then, A full YEAR later, were my kids ready.

More Pre K will NOT help kids get ready.
Only time will help.
The whiners on this blog are concerned only about making other taxpayers pay for their day care costs.
If you cannot afford another year of day-care, you have no business being a parent.
REAL parents plan for their children and save for their children.
If one more year of Pre-K or day care is going to break your bank, you're an idiot and more pre-k won't help your kids perform better -- but better parents will.
 

Astropig
Astropig

@Mack68 @Astropig @Betsy Ross1776


There is a lot of analysis out there that a low income second wage earner would be better off economically by doing there own day care and being a stay at home mom or dad.I was the latter and governmental tax policy on high income/low or no income two parent families actually made the economics much more favorable for that arrangement. A lot of parents that "can't afford"  to stay home with their kids are making a great miscalculation of the benefits of raising their kids first hand.They are giving up some of the most formative years of their kids young lives for mere pennies per hour,after all of the costs are totted up.

Mack68
Mack68

@Astropig @Mack68 @Betsy Ross1776

I get that, and I was also in the category of "it doesn't make financial sense for me to have two babies in daycare" - even though I have a master's degree. But I have a spouse with income that made it viable for me to stay home.

That doesn't work for a lot of people, even if they agree with the benefits of raising their kids first hand. They have to pay for the roof over their head and the food their kids eat somehow. 

It was actually the realization of how much money it would cost to have two infants (15 months apart, no I didn't plan that) in anything resembling a quality care environment while still having the one on one time with them that both clued me in to the difficulties of parents with lesser means, and led to me to suspend my career. 

Mack68
Mack68

@Astropig @Mack68 @Betsy Ross1776

And this doesn't address single parent households, which include a lot outside of the popular stereotype. The majority of single parent households I encounter in my admittedly privileged area are divorced parents, some of whom are legitimately struggling.

Astropig
Astropig

@Betsy Ross1776


A sensible,well stated opinion. Not every problem lends itself to being solved by spending more public money. Anyone with kids knows that they are all different and some are ready,some are simply not,no matter how much you spend on their behalf. Outsourcing their early development is a tragedy of our modern age. It's no stretch to say that making it easy to drop the kids off at pre-k will make it easier for some parents to rationalize that it's "the way things should be", when that time would be much better spent playing "silly games" at home, playing hide and seek and talking. Just talking and getting to know your kids on their level of understanding so that you can be a better parent and give them what they really need- YOUR time. Sit down with them and flip on a Sesame Street? Couldn't hurt. The zoo? No problem. Just don't feed the bears. The point is, parents raise the best children. For everybody else,it's just a paycheck.


Go ahead and flame away.It's worked for our family.

Mack68
Mack68

@Astropig @Betsy Ross1776

Worked for my family, too. 

But what about the kids whose parent(s) have to work, and can't afford quality child care or pre-k? It seems that you believe that should never be the case in a perfect world, but it is the reality for an awful lot of people. Those kids often end up being babysat by friends or family members or in low quality child care. Another year of being babysat is not going to magically make them more school ready. It will only put them further behind.

Unless there were a way to legislate that all children should have a stay at home parent OR be able to afford high quality early education if they must work, rejecting on ideological grounds the idea that it might be beneficial for the public to provide it for those who cannot translates to me that you're ok with an "underclass", think there will always be one, and that it's inevitable that children born into those situations will likely be the kind of child/student you seek to flee with "school choice". 

straker
straker

Every dollar the Republican legislature can save on kindergarten costs is another dollar they can give in tax cuts to their corporate sponsors.

class80olddog
class80olddog

You don't need more money for pre-K, you need parents that care!  I started school in the 1st grade (at age 5) and already knew how to read - because my parents (mostly my mother) TAUGHT me (even though she only had an 8th grade education).  She was able to be a stay-at-home mom because there was a husband in the picture to support the family (although she did a LOT of work in the home).  We were poor, but my family valued education.

Antagonist
Antagonist

@class80olddog  Well, you cannot legislate parenthood, so this is the next thing available to prevent an ignorant society to be in charge of you in your old age!

Antagonist
Antagonist

As long as we have self-serving member of the community sitting on the school boards who are not really interested in the development of the individual child in the community but rather their "do good" pictures in the newspaper and as long as we have legislators who are only interested in privatizing education and getting re-elected under the guise of lowering taxes regardless of the harm it does to the youth in our communities, sadly I don't see this education conundrum improving. It is only common sense to keep improving the foundation of every public school child's education and certainly that must begin at K-4. Yes, it all begins to fall apart at about the fourth grade and certainly does go to hell in a hand basket in middle school where there needs to be more vigilant attention given, more one-on-one and intense counseling to a very hormonal, confused, not grown-up but allowed up act and dress grown-up group. Middle school is certainly a microcosm of our society and its ills which are not certainly not glowing, but what do we give them instead? More technology, more group work, bigger classes, less access to teachers, less time with counselors, less structured time.......Look at the individual students and what they need more often instead of the financial sheets and the national test scores. Although money and test scores are certainly critical, they are never more important than the child the number represents.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@MaryElizabethSings @Antagonist  MaryEliz, that may be true, but there aren't enough teachers to go around.  They can't be everything to everybody.  As a society we can't assign a teacher to every student because they aren't prepared - for whatever reason.  At some point we have to do a triage.  Now I don't know where that is, but at a certain point...

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OldPhysicsTeacher 


I have never proposed "assign(ing) a teacher to every student. . ."  You only have assumed that those were my thoughts.  Please read some of my educational entries on my blog as to how to address this issue. I helped teachers to solve this ongoing instructional problem for 25 years of my educational career (grades 1 - 12). 


We can never solve the problem of student failures until we analyze correctly the reasons for it (just as a doctor must diagnose correctly before he/she can correctly prescribe solutions).  See this link to an entry on my blog, entitled, "Ways to teach students who are functioning on different instructional levels in the same grade," for specific instructional ideas as to how to address this problem, realistically:


https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/ways-to-teach-students-who-are-functioning-on-different-instructional-levels-in-the-same-grade/

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OldPhysicsTeacher 


I certainly agree that Mastery Learning is the only way to go!  However, I do not share your disbelief that students cannot be taught where they are functioning and improve all along the curriculum continuum.  I have seen it happen without undue stress on teachers.  It's a matter of working "smarter," not "harder."  Teach teachers a little bit at a time.  Even if they only practice one strategy a quarter, they will see a significant difference in their results with their students.  One simple strategy might be simply to place the reading comprehension grade level equivalent score on a standardized test in the teacher's grade book for every student.  Those scores are all on computers now so that a teacher only has to put the grade level score (ex. 6.4) in reading beside each student's name as she is copying that student's name in her grade book anyway.  Then, she can see in a glance the variance in reading scores in each class.  Teaming with just one other teacher, she could give her low kids to the other teacher for grouping in reading 3 days a week, for the other teacher's high kids, and both would save one instructional grouping per class period by doing this.  The kids just walk across the hall during reading time period to the team teacher's classroom.


Here is a very simple story about how Cyndie's 5th grade science teacher used a simple strategy to pull Cyndie up  to 5th grade level from 2nd grade level in her science class in one year's time.  By the time I had Cyndie in 11th grade, she was reading on grade level 13 at the beginning of her junior year and grade level 16 at the end of her junior year.  "Nothing ventured; nothing gained."  ;-)


https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/cyndies-story/

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@MaryElizabethSings @OldPhysicsTeacher


Mary Elizabeth,


I have to admit, I cringed when I read your comment about "working smarter not harder."  As a teacher, I have heard that far too often over the last few years as we are asked to undertake more and more duties and responsibilities.  It is chanted practically as a mantra from the higher ups as they dump more work on us.  I guess the patronizing smile that accompanies these words is supposed to take away the sting, but to me it looks too much like the kind of smile you give a small child as you pat them on the head.  



"Teaming with just one other teacher, she could give her low kids to the other teacher for grouping in reading 3 days a week, for the other teacher's high kids, and both would save one instructional grouping per class period by doing this.  The kids just walk across the hall during reading time period to the team teacher's classroom."




This is what I was trying to explain in my post the other day - thanks to  our new "evaluation" program put in place by our legislators, it is no longer feasible to do things like this - Our students are now "assigned" to particular teachers and must be taught by that teacher a certain percentage of the day and year.  Students are plugged into particular class rosters, and cannot be moved around, thus cutting down greatly on our ability to flexible group.   Furthermore, since student test scores now account for 50% of our individual evaluations, which can be used to determine if we get to keep our jobs, teachers are less willing to "trade away" their top students to other teachers, or take on the struggling students.   At my school, we are still very good about cooperating and doing the best for all our students, but if they start tying pay to those evaluations, (which is being pushed) I think even the most dedicated teachers may start to balk at filling their classes with the slower learners.




MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Antagonist 


Below is probably the most important reason that instructional problems are particularly noticed by the time students are in Middle School (lifted from my blog's link here: https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/why-there-are-myriad-instructional-levels-within-each-grade-level/ :


"When I was in graduate school earning my M.Ed. as a Reading Specialist, I was taught by the head of that department that the higher the grade level, the greater the range of instructional levels there will be within the grade level. The professor said that that fact would always be true because of the multiple variables of students’ backgrounds, ability levels, needs, etc. Teachers would need to be taught how to instruct to those varied instructional needs within each grade level. I found that to be true in my following 30 years of practice. . . "

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Quidocetdiscit 


Thanks for that great input, Quid.  Of course, we both know that the answer is not just to throw our hands into the air and give up.  There are other strategies involving SQ3R which can address differences within the teacher's own classroom that do not depend upon having to rely with teaming with other teachers.  With that read/study strategy alone, plus vocabulary development that builds upon roots and prefix meanings within words, a teacher can help maybe a range of 4 reading grade level variances within large group instruction.  But, one first has to have those reading scores by every child's name so you know what you are doing in that large group instruction.


Also, I do hope you took the time to read Cyndie's story in which the teacher used multi-grade level text books so that the kids could learn from context clues on the science book in their level of reading until they could advance to the larger group.


I know that many educational leaders who even hold Ph.D.s of education do not know as much about instructional delivery as some teachers do, such as yourself.  That is another battle to be won.  Until they realize, however, that their training in education is in a limited but valuable area, they will not be giving teachers the respect they deserve.  By that I mean, if they had a truly egalitarian spirit, they would in humility know that teachers are highly intelligent, knowledgeable professionals and would insist that the teachers give more input to their working conditions which would help students.  Not allowing teachers the flexibility of teaming is such a rigid and unwise, as well as counterproductive, approach to educational delivery, but that, too, is the danger in public education being turned over to those, like Gates, who only think of a business model not an educational model.  I'm on your side.  Just trying to help the process.  Teachers like yourself must get involved with the Georgia Legislature's Education Committees in the House and the Senate and go to their workshops and give your input.


Don't give up.  If I am not giving up the fight at age 72 for a better public educational system that is reasonable and smart, then I know that you will keep the torch going for decades longer than myself.  God bless.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@MaryElizabethSings @Quidocetdiscit  Actually "throwing your hands up and quitting" is *exactly* what needs to be done.  Every time you work extra hours and put your students ahead of yourself and your family, you are continuing exactly what the politicians and worthless administrators (Like Beverly Halls and every one of the politicians) want!  They will take and take and take every bit of your additional work that takes you away from your family and pauperizes you "because it's for the kids."  They will not do anything for you;' they don't care about you; and they certainly don't care about the kids.  You are simply a "bullet" they shoot out at a problem.  One they easily expend so they can keep their power and prestige.  I know this sounds like a rant, but this is a bitter pill that needs to be taken.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OldPhysicsTeacher @MaryElizabethSings @Quidocetdiscit


I actually am a supporter of teacher's unions for that very reason.  I suggested to Quid that she and others, such as yourself, get involved with the House and Senate Education Committees in Georgia's Legislature and let them know how you have students with many grade level variances in the same grade level (and according to Mary Elizabeth Sings' Graduate Teachers at GSU, that will always be true because sestudents will always learn at different rates. ;-)   These legislators have got to be educated to know that if they want real success in Georgia's public schools, they must start realizing that all students in a given grade level CANNOT master the same curriculum content at the very same time and that they must give teachers and students more flexibility to enhance individual student growth as much as possible in a year's time, but that every student will not be able to grow a year in academic knowledge in a year's time because their intellectual capacities are not equivalent and never will be.  Public educational leaders must start to recognize this and adjust their requirements accordingly.  The members of the House and Senate Education Committees under the Georgia Dome must hear this.  Practically all of them have never been teachers; they just have an interest in education.  The charter school business model is not the answer for the masses of students in public schools throughout Georgia.  Each charter school would be disjoined from every other without statewide cohesion and continuity.  Teachers must get to these Education Committee members and tell them what I have written here.  I am a member of GAE, which also makes me a member of NEA and I urge every teacher who reads this to also join the professional organizations. As teachers, we must demand our professional rights from legislators who have little knowledge of the classroom, themselves, yet they set educational policy.  The same applies to the State Department of Education as to the Legislature.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@MaryElizabethSings @OldPhysicsTeacher  I just spent an hour typing in my response and it disappeared.  Oh well, 

1) I'm sorry; I didn't mean to imply that was your position.  I simply took your instructor's comments to their logical conclusion.

2) I'm a retired teacher who knows a LOT of teachers.  What you are proposing is far outside the ability, and time constraints, of the average teacher.  Setting here and discussing this will not change facts.  Teachers just don't have the time to try this, and if they did, few would have the training to correctly diagnose the problem and to prescribe the correction, and to modify the behavior.  Class sizes are too large, and the teachers simply don't have the time to attempt this

3) Schools need to slow down - teach fundamentals to the students until they learn those skills -- if it takes 3 years to teach 1st grade, then it takes 3 years.  Mastery learning is the only way to go.

class80olddog
class80olddog

So this will practically guarantee that a student will turn 18 before he graduates from high school? 


The age has no bearing - it is what you learned BEFORE entering school.  Compare a kid who has an uninvolved parent that does nothing to a strong middle-class family that enrolls their child in Pre-K 3, pre -k 4, reads to them at home and has them well ready to enter kindergarten.

Mack68
Mack68

@class80olddog

But giving that kid with the uninvolved (for whatever reason) parent a year of free high quality pre-k just might give that kid a better chance.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@class80olddog  and in passing.  We spend far too much time teaching kids skills way before they need them or can understand them.  If I were a parent now, I would consider homeschooling them.  Not because the teachers aren't capable - they are.  The "leaders" are ... well... nuts!


bu2
bu2

@OldPhysicsTeacher @class80olddog 


I'm not a professional educator, but I suspect they teach a lot of things long before the minds are ready.  You really don't need to be reading at age 3 or 4.  Some of the math is really advanced.


One concern I have about pre-K is all the studies that show that the advantage disappears in a few years.  Instead of worrying about students starting behind, we should focus on catching them up and dealing with them when they are most likely to fail-as Mary Elizabeth brings up-in the middle school years.  Its the toughest time for them and we tend to put the youngest, most inexperienced teachers in middle school.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Mack68 @class80olddog  Maybe... or it might be throwing away good money because the kid learns not to respect education from his parent.  The parent, I am sure, would be delighted at the thought of free child care.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

"We must intervene early to build the foundation from which all learning, behavior and health depend. "


We? We, we, we, we. More leftist socialist family destruction politics. PARENTS is the operative word, not "we". Repeat the quote using "Parents" and observe how much more powerful the message is. Do "we" need social safety nets for orphans and kids with destitute parents? Sure, no argument. But let's not take that too far and substitute State for parenting and freedom of choice.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@DawgDadII  You had me until you used the code words "freedom of choice" and "leftist socialist family destruction politics."  After I read that, all I saw was a Republican against taxes and public schools stating liberals were destroying the nation. 


The Supreme Court decided that poll taxes and literacy tests were racist as they were applied.  I'd like to see literacy tests re-instated for voting.  How about you?  Pearson could be selected as a testing creator who would then be subjected to judicial oversight.  I'd be willing to take a test to see if I'm qualified to vote.  I'd be willing to test every leftist, socialist family member for the right to vote. If only literate, educated people had the right to vote --- as the Founding Fathers first presented it (you had to have "skin in the game"), we could fix education, right?  How about you and the rest of the Republican Party members? You willing to gamble that there are more literate Republicans than literate "leftist socialist family" members?

Antagonist
Antagonist

@DawgDadII  There is nothing socialist about educating a child. The child cannot help it if his parents are stupid. Either pay for their education or pay for their incarceration. If you've never taught middle school or high school, you will call this a left wing or socialist or some other ugly name. If you've taught middle school or high school, you will sadly shake your head and ten or twenty names will suddenly come to mind. "If only...." comes to mind too often with kids who suddenly disappear from the classroom roster too often when you teach, really teach, not just show up to do the bidding of the administration's newest ideas on redesigning your school so he can present wonderful numbers to a school board who's looking for a good photo-op in the local newspaper.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

More spending!!!  Now!!!


How are we going to pay for it?  Cut other programs?  NO - make someone else pay their "FAIR SHARE"....(you know the someone else who doesn't actually exist, but I don't care, as long as I don't have to pay).


So predictable.  Everyone loves Santa, but noone likes to have to pay the bill.  

cerq
cerq

Ga is very good at educating children through 3rd grade. It is in Middle school that scores start to slip. Ga's high school drop-out rate is 32.5%. If they don't finish high school, their future career prospects are limited. The children are the future. We can't compete with other countries until we take education seriously and make it a priority.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@cerq


From the article by Mindy Binderman and Stephanie Blank on this thread:


"In 2013, nearly two-thirds of Georgia’s fourth graders scored below proficient on national standardized tests for reading and math. We must intervene early to build the foundation from which all learning, behavior and health depend."

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaryElizabethSings @cerq  "In 2013, nearly two-thirds of Georgia’s fourth graders scored below proficient on national standardized tests for reading and math."


So my question is: Why are they in the fourth grade rather than retained in the third (second, first)?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

P. S. to my post below:


From the AJC (Metro Section today):  " SB 2 essentially opens the door to students who are smart in their own way and want work-ready skills often taught at the state's two-year institutions. . . it has been touted as another method for filling some high-demand and hard-to-fill jobs needed for companies operating in the state.  Those companies have said the lack of skilled workers has forced them to look outside Georgia for employees. . . .'This bill's in keeping with the White House's recognition of the importance of community colleges and technical colleges,' said Senate Minority Whip Vincent Fort. . . 'I think this is a bipartisan approach to make sure two-year schools are at the center of educating our young people.' 


"The bill includes a provision requiring the Technical College System of Georgia to identify fields of study with critical needs or a shortage of trained workers and share the information with the state and local educational leaders.  Under the bill, participating students must be at least 16 years old.


"SB 2 now goes to the state House for consideration."


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Outstanding bill, in my opinion.  Lawmakers, let's make this happen for the young people of our state who often drop out of school at age 16.

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

Ah, yes, another oh-so-predictable call to throw more taxpayer money at something.  Yawn.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

Since "The Legislature" (curse words if I've ever heard them) wants kids ready for kindergarten, we need to fund pre-K... we need to then fund pre-pre-k to get them ready for pre-K, and pre-pre-pre-K, and so forth. I'm picturing the cartoon about the swing designed by sales, marketing, engineering, etc. 


How about we change the paradigm completely and accept that all this political interference has cause more, and worse, problems than they attempted to solve in the first place and have them GET OUT OF EDUCATION ENTIRELY?  Dissolve the education committee, remove state funding entirely AND REDUCE THE TAX BURDEN BY THAT AMOUNT, and let the local districts handle it?  Yes, yes, yes.  I KNOW we need good schools and an educated public, but get the state out of it.  If the local counties want their schools to be substandard, then the people will move to counties where education is valued.  What we've tried and tried again hasn't worked because the state representatives are not subject to our wishes, but our local BOE and County Commissioners ARE!! 


I've given up on what we're doing now.  Things are not getting better.  Atlanta politicians (I don't care where they say they're from - they're lying) have not "fixed" any problems in the 20 years I was involved in education --- in fact, they've made it worse.  Get them out entirely and let the locals handle it. 


Yes, the poor counties will get screwed.  They're getting screwed now.  Taking power out of politicians (translation: professional liars) hands and putting it in the hands of people we see at the grocery store can't be worse than what we have now.

nola2atl
nola2atl

my daughter has a "late" birthday so she's in private K-4 and will be in private school at least through first grade because of these stupid rules. her K-4 class is reading early reader books, writing sentences, taking weekly spelling tests, and now they are starting math (counting with zero, one, and 2 so far); there is a 3 year old in the K-4 class that reads right along with them! i'm privileged to have the money to pay for private school but age is not the problem, it's the lack of access to quality education and teachers. the current K cut-off already steers a lot of children out of public education because it was cheaper for me to pay for christian school than pay for daycare and wait. my husband and i both have "late" birthdays and we started K at 4 along with a third of our friends with "late" birthdays. 


my friends are telling me their kids learned more in daycare than Pre-K! improve access to Pre-K education and curriculum and you will see a far better outcome than 6 year olds in a kindergarten class who still can't read and write!

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

"We applaud the Legislature's focus on school readiness. At the same time, we urge them to increase access to affordable, high-quality preschool and pre-kindergarten programs that focus on language rich interactions between students and teachers. "

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Yes, yes! 


On another note and at the other end of the spectrum, I noticed in today's AJC that the Senate in Georgia's Legislature has unanimously passed a bill (Dual-Enrollment bill, Senate Bill 2) that would allow students who have had at least two years of high school, and who pass a college entrance exam, to enroll in a college or university, using some of their college courses as high school course work in which they can finally obtain a high school diploma. When they complete a degree or certificate program, their college-level courses would satisfy 11th and 12 grade requirements and allow them to also receive a high school diploma. The business community in Georgia is supporting this.  From my experience as a high school teacher, I, likewise, support this legislation. These college/high school courses can be tied to work experience these students accrue.


Addressing the various needs of every child, individually, is what will create more high school graduates in Georgia.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

Our public schools should be shored up given that they are the backbone of our democratic society. School choice already exists and does not always provide the promise of a better education than the local public school. Public schools are open to all no matter what background you come from. I do not want my tax-payer money to be thrown into a pit where the hungry wolves of greedy privateers get to reap profits at the expense of the child. 


Pre-K is a valuable tool for socializing and teaching our little ones the skills they need to enter kindergarten. My concern now is that students are being tested at such a young age While recently looking into some daycare options for my little one, one school touted that they are aligned to CC skills. At this age it should all be about play and discovery. Unfortunately, our children are being turned into nothing more than data points. What a shame.

bu2
bu2

@sneakpeakintoeducation 

I read nola2atl and wonder why they are doing that to those poor kids!


I'm from the era when K wasn't mandatory.  I couldn't read when I entered 1st grade and still remember being impressed with those who could, but it didn't hold me back.

EdUktr
EdUktr

Legislators should only consider such expenditures if they involve giving parents freedom to select the public or private school that best meets their child's needs.

At all K-12 levels.