Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Preschool For All"

It's time for me to dial up the state legislators, again. I have never called my legislators as often as I have during Gov. Rod Blagojevich's term as governor. I might add, that of all the politicians offices I have called over the last 15 years, whoever answers his calls has been consistently uninterested in what I have to say.

Governor Blagojevich has decided that the taxpayers of Illinois should foot the 135 million dollar bill for the first three years to offer preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds. It would make Illinois the first state to do so.

I have numerous objections to this program. Illinois cannot afford it and we already pay for preschool for "at risk" preschoolers. Preschoolers with delays or who are low income are eligible for preschool. If government schools can't get the job done in 13 years, then how in the world is two more years going to help? The logistical issues surrounding this are huge. Many of these preschoolers will need transportation which is expensive and these are small children to be put on buses. Then there is the issue of where the preschools will be located. There will be a need for new structures or a remodeling of old structures. Someone will have to hire and train the new teaching staff. The list just goes on and on. I'm thinking 135 million isn't going to pay for all of this. The plan is for a minimum of 2.5 hrs which means that parents have to figure out what to do with the kids the rest of the day and gets us back to the transportation issue. On the surface, this may sound like a great idea. To really make it work, it would take a lot more money and a lot more practical approach to serve the needs of working families. Illinois just doesn't have the money to pay for this.
Here is a link to a Chicago Sun Times Article: Gov to propose preschool for all kids 3-4 yrs. old

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