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Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 28, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Education: Universal pre-kindergarten proposal lacks organization

The editorial calling for the city’s proposed pre-kindergarten program, at an unknown future cost but starting out at $58 million over four years, needs to be soundly rebuked for a number of reasons [“Explore what works — preschool for all,” Opinion, May 24].

First, while The Times cites a Rutgers University study of the Abbott, N.J., program and quotes success from a longer-term study in Ypsilanti, Mich., these are only two examples from other programs that started out about 40 years ago. There is no compelling evidence that all pre-K programs have had universal success when compared to schools that offer only kindergarten and where their new entrants had socializing experiences at day-care centers, for example.

Second, while acknowledging that the State has a primary responsibility for all children’s education, administered in Seattle through Seattle Schools and its elected School Board, the Seattle City Charter contains not a single word on education, early childhood or otherwise. Accordingly, the proposed program obviously lacks authority. It is well beyond the pale of city government.

Third, fundamentally, is the City Council better equipped to administrator pre-K education or is the Seattle School Board? Why does The Times advocate the Balkenization of Seattle children’s education administration?

Fourth, the program as presented has the city taxpayers picking up 50 percent of the cost for families earning $166,950. They even pick up 20 percent for families with incomes of $238,500. How do you think the “$15 Now” crowd or Seattle’s retirees would feel about this proposed gift to the very well heeled?

Christopher Brown, Seattle

Comments | More in Education | Topics: education, pre-K, school board

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