Browsing articles in "Social Emotional Learning/Mental Health"
Apr 11, 2011
ELW

Some Good News in HHS Bills

Although Education Liberty Watch primarily deals with the effects of education programs and spending and their effects on academic excellence, parents’ rights and the propagation of the American heritage of freedom, we also monitor a number of issues in the health and human services realm that affect parents’ rights and family autonomy to have parents raise, educate and care for their children without government interference.  Both the Minnesota House and Senate finished their massive health and human services policy and spending bills in recent days.  Although spending remains a major problem in both the House and Senate bills and the House bill being significantly more bureaucratic than the Senate bill, there is still some very good news that should be trumpeted and for which the Republicans should be thanked.  Contact information for the House is available here and the Senate information is available here.

1)      Health Care Freedom of Choice Act Now in Both House and Senate Bills – This provision that asserts Minnesota’s state sovereignty to not force its citizens to buy health insurance as mandated by the federal government in the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obama Care) is now in both omnibus bills. This is great news for freedom and for families struggling in this economy to not have to buy government mandated health insurance whose premiums will rise and coverage will shrink.  The legislation was introduced by Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud) and Senator David Hann (R-Eden Prairie). The provision was in the Senate bill. The amendment to add it into the House bill was offered by Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) on the House floor.  The vote was along party lines.  The authors and all of the legislative Republicans should be thanked.

2)      Protections Regarding State Collection, Storage, and Unconsented Research on Baby DNA in Senate Bill – Thanks to the excellent work of Senator David Hann, Twila Brase and Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, and many concerned parents and citizens, protections from government acquisition, storage and use for research without consent are now in the Senate bill.  Our genetic code contained in DNA is what identifies us as individuals and is the most intimate information we have.  The last entity that should have possession and control of that information is government.

3)      Parent Aware Quality Rating System for Child Care Now GONE from Both HHS Bills – The bureaucratic, ineffective, big government quality rating system about which we have warned you extensively was in the House bill in a watered down form at the behest of Democrat early childhood proponent Rep. Nora Slawik.  House HHS Finance Chairman Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) removed the provision before the House bill went to the floor.  Senate Chairman David Hann never had the provision in the Senate version at all.  Both chairmen should be thanked.

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Mar 20, 2011
ELW

Studies on Effectiveness of Early Childhood Programs

FADE OUT:

“Institutionalized messages surrounding ECE claim that it has the potential to promote children’s life-long success, especially among low-income children. I examine the legitimacy of these claims by reviewing empirical evidence that bears on them and find that most are based on results of a small set of impressive but outdated studies. More recent literature reveals positive, short-term effects of ECE programs on children’s development that weaken over time.”  – Lowenstein, Journal of Educational Policy, January 2011 – Emphasis added

“As with the 4-year-old cohort, there was no strong evidence of impacts on children’s language, literacy, or math measures at the end of kindergarten or at the end of 1st grade.” (Head Start Impact Study, Executive Summary, January 15, 2010, p. 21)

“…the achievement impact of preschool appears to diminish during the first four years of school…preschool alone may have limited use as a long-term strategy for improving the achievement gap…”  – Rumberger, et. al, UCSB, 1/06, pp. 79-80

Using data from the (ELCS), researchers concluded that preschool has a positive impact on reading and mathematics scores in the short term and a negative effect on behavior. While the positive academic impacts mostly fade away by the spring of the first grade, the negative effects persist into the later grades.  (Katherine A. Magnuson, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jane Waldfogel, “Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?” National Bureau of Economic Research, April 2004)

Also using the ECLS data, Lisa Hickman at Ohio University, compared children in center care with children who were taught at home. She found that center care children had higher math and reading skills and poorer social skills prior to kindergarten entry. In first grade, however, preschool participants’ cognitive advantage disappeared and their social skills deteriorated.  (Lisa N. Hickman, “Who Should Care for Our Children? The Effects of Home Versus Center Care on Child Cognition and Social Adjustment,” Journal of Family Issues 27 (May 2006: 652-684)

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Feb 20, 2010
ELW

DFL Bills Promote Mental Health Curricula, Continue Child Care Takeover and Micromanage High School Counseling

Continuing the big government trend to spend money that neither the state nor federal governments have for ideas that are not only not at all needed, but are actually intrusive and harmful, a trio of bills will be heard in House education committees this week:

1. HF 664 (Welti)/ SF 1531 (Torres Ray) heard in the House Education Policy Committee on 2/17 at 8:30 AM – This bill as introduced required the commissioner of education to establish a model mental health curriculum for grades 7-12.  The proposed substitute amendment instead encourages districts to develop these curricula and demands that the Minnesota Department of Education provide support based on the national health education standards and a bunch of Minnesota developed benchmarks that are not even easily available for public review.

This is a bad idea for numerous reasons.  First, national and international groups like the World Health Organization, the US Surgeon General, and authors of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual all admit that the definitions of both mental health and mental illness, especially in children and adolescents, is difficult to uniformly describe and is based on ever-changing societal and cultural norms.  Secondly, this is further psychologization of curriculum open to political indoctrination and labeling.  Thirdly, it is a diversion from academic curricula when math and reading scores are stagnant and there are large achievement gaps between poor students often from single parent families and middle class students.  Finally, neither cash-strapped districts nor the state department that is subject to further budget cuts from the governor’s proposed budget balancing plan can afford this. Continue reading »

Nov 9, 2009
ELW

Home Visiting in Health Care Bills Promotes Government Intrusion into Homes

Among the MANY important reasons to oppose the health care “reform” bills now working their way through Congress from EdWatch’s point of view are the efforts to expand home visiting programs and the mental screening of new mothers. Language of these programs is in the House and Senate bills respectively.  The latest House bill, HR 3962, that sadly passed the full House, plans to spend $750,000,000 through 2014 and the Senate Finance Committee version, S 1796 spend $1,500,000,000 over the same period to implement the very bad idea of home visiting. For new mothers, the House bill spends “such sums as may be necessary” and the Senate spends $3,000,000 initially, and then “such sums as may be necessary” through 2012 to fund grants that will include the promotion of mental screening of pregnant women and new mothers.

These odious home visiting programs send government workers into the homes of mostly poor families, although the Federal home visiting bill also wants to do the same with military families. These workers then make sure children are being raised according to government standards, collect massive amounts of data about every aspect of the family and their lives, and make sure that families are “helped” into dependence on government services like childcare/preschool and mental health services.  EdWatch has described the many problems with the federal stand-alone bills.    Continue reading »

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