Browsing articles in "Early Education/Nanny State"
Feb 16, 2014
ELW

Education Liberty Watch Speaks Out Against “Baby Common Core” in Utah

Gayle Ruzicka, president of Utah Eagle Forum and co-founder of Utahns Against Common Core, interviewed Education Liberty Watch president, Dr. Karen Effrem on February 13th about the expansive and invasive Utah early childhood bill, HB 96.  During that interview, Dr. Effrem discussed the many dangers of expanding these programs that include the imposition of radical early childhood curriculum standards on young children and the government takeover of private and religious childcare and preschool.  Most importantly, she described how early childhood programs are “Baby Common Core” or the cradle end of the “Cradle to Career” womb to tomb government control and tracking  of your child as part of the federal Race to the Top program that required the imposition of the Common Core standards on K-12, and is now doing the same with early childhood standards.

You may listen to the podcast of that interview and here are links to research, quotes, and analysis by Dr. Effrem on  this very important topic:

Mar 14, 2013
ELW

Pre-K Scholarships Mandate Curriculum, Aid Unionization & Decrease Choice

The DFL legislature is seeking to greatly expand the funding for early childhood scholarships to as much as 1750% over current levels.  The Republicans are supportive of the concept of school choice as is Education Liberty Watch.  However, both sides need to be aware of the many pitfalls with these bills.  The biggest concern is that accountability strings will end up imposing a one size fits all nationalized government mandated curriculum on private and religious providers, analogously to what is happening with the Common Core in K-12.

SF 481, authored by Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL – South St. Paul) was heard in the Senate Education Committee on March 11th.  HF 1058, authored by Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL – Golden Valley) is being heard today, March 14th at 4 PM in the House Early Childhood and Youth Development Committee.

The detailed written testimony submitted to both committees is available here.  The main points are as follows:

1) Mandated curriculum standards for early childhood that apply to private and religious programs that take subsidies that destroy parental autonomy regardless of one’s views. These standards are based on the Head Start national standards and are part of the Race to the Top efforts. They include gender identity, careers, environmentalism, and social activism

2) Childcare and preschool programs that accept scholarship recipients will be considered subsidized for the purposes of unionization, resulting in increased costs and decrease access for poor and middle class families analogously to what is happening under the Affordable Care Act.
3) Cost – The governor’s finance bill calls for a 733% increase in funding for these scholarships over current levels.  This bill’s funding for 2014 is a 1,300% increase and a 1,750% increase in 2015 in a bad economy.

4) Many large centers and Head Start programs receive automatic four star ratings putting small programs at a disadvantage.

5) Evaluations of Parent Aware and national research show there is no evidence that the required quality rating systems  improve child outcomes.

6) Scholarships incentivize poor parents to let someone else raise their kids.
7) Preschool does not work in the long-term and causes academic and emotional harm.

Although there are many issues facing the legislature, if you care about parental autonomy, conscience rights for providers, and fiscal responsibility, please consider calling your legislators and asking them to oppose this legislation or at least to provide conscientious objection to the curricular mandates.

Thank you!

Mar 14, 2013
ELW

Written Testimony SF 481/ HF 1058 – Early Childhood Scholarships

Written Testimony on SF 481/HF 1058 – Early Childhood Scholarships

Karen R. Effrem, MD

President – Education Liberty Watch

Although this bill is less onerous than the language in the governor’s education finance bill regarding parental rights, family sovereignty, and the rights of conscience, we still have a number of concerns

1)      Internal language inconsistency  – Lines 1.10-1.14 of the bill say:

1.10 Subd. 2. Duties. The Office of Early Learning shall administer the early learning

1.11scholarship program, establish participation standards for children and their families,

1.12develop criteria for qualifying providers based on section 124D.142, and contract for

1.13administrative services as necessary with a resource and referral organization under

1.14section 119B.19, or other nonprofit or public entity.

If the Office of Early Learning determines “criteria for qualifying providers” how does that square with lines 3.9-3.10 that say:

 Subd. 7. Scholarship recipient choice of programs. A scholarship recipient may
3.10choose to apply to any rated program or prospective program for acceptance.

What is to say that the Office of Early Learning won’t say later that recipients must choose a 3 or 4 star rated program such as required in the governor’s finance bill?  We are particularly concerned about the Parent Aware requirement to align curriculum and assessments to the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIP) in order to receive a three or four star rating, which I will discuss more below.  We also want to know whether it is the language of this bill or the governor’s bill that will be included in final legislation and which part of the language of this bill.

2)      Childcare and preschool programs that accept scholarship recipients will be considered subsidized for the purposes of unionization – This will increase costs and decrease access for these poor and middle class families analogously to what is happening to physicians who cannot afford to take care of Medicaid and Medicare patients under the Affordable Care Act.

3)      Cost – The governor’s finance bill calls for a 733% increase in funding for these scholarships over current levels.  This bill’s funding for 2014 is a 1,300% increase and a 1,750% increase in 2015 when there is still a deficit in Minnesota, much less the federal government, the threat of unionization and higher taxes, other needs in education, little proof that they will work, and a still quite shaky national economy.

4)      Many large centers and Head Start programs receive automatic four star ratings putting small programs at a disadvantage – According to the Parent Aware evaluation two thirds of programs received automatic four star ratings.  This is especially problematic for Head Start, when the most recent of over 600 studies released in 2010 and 2012 showed that there was no benefit to the program after 1st grade and harm to math skills of three year old participants. Smaller programs and individual providers will find it harder to compete.

5)      Mandated curriculum standards for early childhood that apply to private and religious programs that take subsidies – If the 3 or 4 star rating requirement remains, all programs that take subsidized students must align their curriculum and assessments to the ECIP.  This is especially problematic in the social and emotional area, because the state is now mandating one set of standards for thought, behavior, and belief that, no matter one view’s on any given subject, it is the right and authority of parents to inculcate those values in their children, not taxpayer funded education institutions.  Doing ratings and assessments of little children and eventually teacher/caregiver merit pay systems on one set of very subjective standards like this is extraordinarily problematic.  It could also lead to unnecessary over diagnosis and treatment for mental health issues.   We have heard through the grapevine that these standards are being rewritten to remove some of the more controversial items.  That is good, but we still question the authority of the state to be determining norms in this area at all and imposing them of private and religious providers.  Some of the more egregious examples of the ECIP, with definitional quotes and my comments are as follows: Continue reading »

Mar 6, 2013
ELW

Childcare Unionization Will Hurt BOTH Working Families & Small Businesses

The childcare unionization attempt that was halted by a judge and about which we warned and reported in 2011 and 2012 (see background here and here) has returned with a vengeance in this legislative session under DFL control. Although more properly trying to unionize childcare and home care providers via legislation instead of executive order, this idea has many problems that are outlined below in the written testimony submitted by Education Liberty Watch in the hearing on SF 778, authored by Senator Sandy Pappas that occurred, March 4th in the Senate Local Government Committee.  These include lack of constitutionality, higher costs and decreased access to childcare and home care workers for struggling poor and working families that receive state subsidies, including the early childhood scholarships proposed for a huge expansion this year.  We understand that bills to increase government control over every aspect of our lives are coming at breakneck speed this legislative session, but if you care about small business’ freedom from forced unionization, the quality, cost and availability of childcare and home care, and the right to provide education and care for your family members without government interference, please consider contacting your legislators (House, Senate) and Governor Dayton.   The March 4th hearing will be continued with a vote taken on SF 778 tomorrow, March 6th at 3 PM in Room 15 of the Capital, but the event is ticketed and no testimony will be taken. The House companion bill, HF 950, authored by Rep. Michael Nelson will be heard by the in the House Early Childhood and Youth Development Committee at 5:30 PM, Thursday March 7th, in Room 200 of the State Office Building. Thank you!

Education Liberty Watch’s written testimony prepared by Dr. Karen Effrem for the Senate hearing is linked here and available just  below.

Pages:«123456789...18»