Posted by Charity on November 14th, 2008

This was posted on the Front Porch Forum (emphasis mine):

By Jeanne Collins, Superintendent of Schools – Burlington School District, Colchester Ave
Wed, 12 November 2008

The Burlington School District Essential early Education Preschool is looking for 3 & 4 year olds with good play, communication and behavior skills.

Slots Available: 3 Mornings a week or 3 Afternoons a week


Advertising for children who can be good role models does not exactly leave one with the best impression of the public pre-school, does it?

They should have just said: “Openings available for your well-behaved child with good communication and play skills to learn poor behavior, bad words, and how to fight with other children.”

Good behavior does not rub off on 3 and 4 year olds, but bad behavior does. In fact, it rubs off on children of all ages. And it is very hard to undo, trust me.

15 Responses to “How’s That Public Pre-School Thing Going?”

  1. Nice to see the public schools are open to all. Mkaes you wonde what would happen if a poorly behaved child was from a protected racila class?

  2. Hi Charity… this posting from Superintendent Collins on Front Porch Forum is for the Burlington School District’s well-regarded Early Essential Education (EEE) program for preschoolers with special needs. In addition to kids with disabilities, BSD’s EEE includes children who are typically developing as “peer models.” Our family has benefited directly from this program and we recommend it to others. I’d guess from the posting that they have a couple peer model slots remaining for this term. Cheers. -Michael

  3. Thanks for the clarification, Michael. It is not apparent from the ad that this is a pre-school for special needs children.

    Even so, I have pretty strong opinions on public pre-school, as in, I don’t support it, well-regarded or not.

    All the same, I am glad it was at least beneficial, since I’m obviously in the minority in my opinion and public pre-school is only going to expand.

  4. ?!?!?!?

    Are you kidding??? “Good behavior does not rub off on 3 and 4 year olds”?? I can’t believe you said that! My 9 year old was totally modeling the “good” behavior he saw from older kids at that age. My current 4 year old doesn’t do so as readily, but he still does, without a doubt.

    Without that kinda modeling we would’ve had a much harder time, as he wasn’t just going to listen to us…

  5. Public pre-school is a wonderful thing. You want to know a bad idea for most kids? “Homeschool.”

  6. Odum, you are talking about your children modeling behavior from older kids that was also reinforced at home. I was talking about same-aged peers serving as role models for kids who are poorly behaved, who typically come from homes where the good behavior is not being taught.

    Typically in a school setting, the good kids pick up bad behaviors, rather than serving as a good influence on the kids who are not well-behaved, especially if it is not reinforced at home. Granted, some good behavior might be picked up, but it is not a worthwhile trade off, in my opinion.

    In this case, if in fact the situation is that they are seeking kids who are typically developed to serve as models for kids who are differently abled, then it seems like a more sensible goal, I admit.

  7. Haik, what is that based on? All of the research that I have read has found benefits to homeschooling. Are you just trying to start something or do you believe that?

  8. I do believe that. My wife was a para at the middle school in Williston a few years ago and she said all the kids that had come from homeschooling situations were far behind the other kids in knowledge of most subjects. That only makes sense. No one person can replicate the school experience from home and no single adult can provide the breath and depth of knowledge that multiple, trained professional teachers can over the course of a kid’s schooling. Not to mention all of the socialization, resources and facilities a kid could only get by actually going to school.

    So my belief isn’t based on research or any kind of scientific analysis, and I’m not going to bother looking for all that now. My belief that homeschooling puts kids at a disadvantage is just based on what I consider to be common sense.

    Why don’t you support public pre-school? Do you have any evidence that it puts kids at a disadvantage? Koko’s been going to some kind of EEE preschool at Flynn for a couple of months now, and it’s really good for him. It’s good for children to interact with kids their own age. It’s good that he brings home art that he made at school so we can proudly display it on the wall. And he is learning to play nicely with other kids in a way that just his mother and I alone could never teach him.

    I saw that ad on front porch forum and I agree that is wasn’t very clear, but your headline made me defensive. Don’t ask “How’s that public pre-school thing going?” All snide, sarcastic and rhetorical. You don’t know and you don’t want to know. So don’t take a dig at something that benefits many young kids, including mine. Because the answer is it’s going great. Please don’t make fun of it or threaten it.

  9. From “Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998″ by Lawrence M. Rudner ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation College of Library and Information Services
    University of Maryland, College Park:

    “In Spring 1998, 20,760 K-12 home school students in 11,930 families were administered either the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) or the Tests of Achievement and Proficiency (TAP), depending on their current grade. The parents responded to a questionnaire requesting background and demographic information. Major findings include: the achievement test scores of this group of home school students are exceptionally high–the median scores were typically in the 70th to 80th percentile; 25% of home school students are enrolled one or more grades above their age-level public and private school peers; this group of home school parents has more formal education than parents in the general population; the median income for home school families is significantly higher than that of all families with children in the United States; and almost all home school students are in married couple families.”

    Homeschooling is an option that works well for many people, however children who are homeschooled vary just like children in more traditional public or private schools. The best situation we found for homeschooling was in California. Instead of trying to minimize homeschooling through restrictive legislation California actively supports homeschoolers with curriculum support, libraries, music and enrichment programs, and voluntary biweekly teacher conferences focused on homeschoolers at their “homeschool schools”.

  10. Haik, you didn’t actually get defensive. Defending public pre-school would have been a thoughtful response. Instead you went off topic, attacking another educational option that has benefited thousands of Vermont children.

    I have a right to oppose taxpayer-funded pre-school. Why should it be taxpayer-funded? Did we ever actually vote on that? (No.) Was there ever a collective decision made by the people to expand public education to include two more ages (3 and 4)? No, it was done incrementally and without much fanfare by the legislature over the past few years.

    When I see an ad that seems to imply that the public pre-school is in need of well-behaved children, I have a right, even an obligation, to question that. Every person who lives in Burlington, whether they rent or own their home, pays for that pre-school program and it is accountable to us.

    What does homeschooling have to do with that? Do you pay for me to homeschool? No.

    Yet, the state still holds me more accountable than they hold the public, taxpayer-funded schools. Go figure.

  11. I knew it was a bad idea to respond to this post.

    You asked if I really thought home-schooling was a bad idea and I responded. If you were going to take offense because I went off topic, you should have done that after my first comment, not my second one.

    You’re getting defensive now because I hit a nerve. If you didn’t have moments of doubt about whether homeschooling was really the best thing for your kids, you wouldn’t be a thinking person.

    The title of this post is snide, and revels in its own ignorance. It assumes public pre-school isn’t going well, when quite the opposite is true.

    This blog drives me crazy.

  12. Where did I get defensive? I did not even defend homeschooling. I would be happy to respond to all of your comments about homeschooling and defend the practice, but the post was about public pre-school, so in the interest of keeping my comments short, I limited my response to that topic.

    There was no nerve hit regarding homeschooling being good for children. You didn’t even make one claim that I can’t counter. I haven’t one bit of doubt about whether homeschooling is the best thing for my children. The only conflict that occasionally arises for me is over whether or not I want to do this much work when I could easily delegate it to the public schools and have my days free to blog.

    And I do not assume that the public pre-school is not going well. I am sure that it is going just as well as the rest of the public school system.

    Try not to get so caught up in my inability to think of good titles for my posts.

    This blog drives anyone who doesn’t agree with me crazy.

  13. Fine. I apologize. Let’s move on.

  14. I was thinking, when it comes to criticizing public education, I am also in a sense criticizing someone’s educational choice and that is a very personal thing. As someone who has to continuously defend my own choice to well-meaning friends and family members, I should be more sensitive and less in-your-face about it. I will try to remember that.

  15. Hi Charity and Haik,

    Wow – two big names in the Vermont blogging world slogging it out over prek. I blog too, and happen to work on public policy surrounding early ed – public prek.

    Haik – great to hear that prek is working for your family.

    Charity – loved seeing you on election night waving microphones under people’s noses. Nice to see the people that we hear from. Anyway — there was a long and thoughtful process in passing the prek law in 2007. “we” did vote on it – just like we vote on most laws – through our elected officials.