Why one parent is voting “No” on Preschool Propositions 1A and 1B

Child

As a parent, I know preschool isn’t a one size fits all experience.  My oldest daughter couldn’t wait to start preschool, my youngest begged me not to take her.  Same place, different kids, and two completely unique experiences.  Interestingly, when it came time for kindergarten, both of my daughters were ready.

That’s why I’m urging a no vote to both 1A and 1B.  Preschool needs to be done right.  Families, along with preschool providers, and local government have to be on the same page.  In addition, I’m troubled by several issues:

-why did both sides walk away from negotiations that would have given voters one united proposition?

-The City already invests $61M in preschool services via the Families & Education Levy (http://www.seattle.gov/office-for-education/about-the-levy. )  And Seattle Schools has dozens of preschools in its buildings already.  So it’s not true “nothing” is being done about preschool in Seattle.

-Why don’t we know where the money is coming from for 1A?  Why won’t 1B say where the classes will be located and who gets in?

-My children are in Seattle schools and nearly all of our schools are hugely crowded.  The district just announced it has grown nearly another 1,000 students.  It has grown 1,000 students a year every year for the last four years.  They have installed 30 new portables all around the district this past summer.  And yet every City document on 1B says its “priority” is partnering with SPS.

-My kids’ classroom isn’t even fully funded as stated under McCleary for K-12 and the City wants both room and resources from SPS?

-1A wants to have control of its training “institute” when there are good early childhood programs at most community colleges.

-1B would fund a 6-hour “academic day.” That seems a long day for small people and yet it doesn’t include childcare for a parent’s 9-hour workday.  In fact, if 1B passes, the City would fund a longer preschool day than the state does for kindergarten.  That seems backwards to me.

-Kids aren’t “one size fits all” and yet 1B would only allow their own curriculum and exclude ones like Montessori and Waldorf.

-Prop 1B is top-heavy with administrators who would make upwards of $100K+ while the salary range for teachers would be between $30-60K.  I want my tax dollars in the classroom. http://murray.seattle.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/AttachmentAthruE.pdf

Additionally, the City Council has just taken on the work of being the Metropolitan District for the Parks.  Does the City Council really have the ability and bandwidth to take on two major endeavors at the same time?  I don’t and I can sum it up in one word: Bertha.

1A is less about preschool and more about birth to age five caregivers having more oversight, better training and higher wages to create better conditions for children.

1B is about a structured preschool system throughout the city with oversight to ready 3 and 4 year olds for kindergarten.

Which will bring better outcomes for our littlest citizens from low-income families and is the best use of taxpayer dollars? No one can say for certain.

It’s important for all voters to realize that we do NOT have to vote for either measure.  This ballot issue has two parts and if you answer No to the first question, you can stop.  Plus, a no vote will not impact the preschool programs already in place.

Voters deserve a clear ballot and should not be asked to blindly approve one plan over another.  The lack of coordination between the proponents of 1A and 1B is also troubling.  A no vote will send both camps back to the table to create one authentic proposition that would serve the most Seattle children.

 

Submitted by Carolyn Leith, a parent of two students in Seattle Public Schools

Advertisements

Yes on Seattle Preschool Proposition 1A

496px-Your_Vote_Counts_Badge

I have researched both programs as seen in the 10 posts I have written on the programs.

My regret is that Burgess and others involved with 1B couldn’t come to the table with the proponents of 1A and work out a program that would work universally. Because of that, we have two proposals and unfortunately many people are confused as to how to vote.

I was confused also at first and it took me several weeks to sift through the information and talk with many people to come to my own conclusion.

First, let’s look at the ballot. This is how it will be worded:

 1. Should either or neither of these measures be enacted into law?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

2. Regardless of how you voted above, if one of these measures is enacted, which one should it be?

 [ ] Proposition 1A
 [ ] Proposition 1B

You can see that whether you vote Yes or No on the first question, you are to provide your opinion on which program you want.

This is where it gets tricky because we are under the impression that no matter what, one will be selected, whether voters think we should have a citywide preschool program or not. (Whacky? Absolutely. Can this be challenged? I believe it can.)

Because of the way the questions are worded, I recommend voting for 1A and to follow are my reasons in brief.

Why Yes 1A

  • It’s inclusive. All existing preschool programs can participate which provides greater choice for low income families.
  • Because it can include all programs it is easier to scale up to a county and even state level.
  • Teachers can be trained while working.
  • Wage increase to $15 per hour will be accelerated.
  • Educators who live and work in Seattle developed the program.
  • Families pay no more than 10% of their income across the board.

Why No on 1B

  • Programs must agree to a prescribed curriculum and set of “assessments” in order to participate.
  • An AA or BA is required which will displace existing teaching staff. 1B proponents say that scholarships will be provided but if you’re living on the edge financially, it will be very difficult, particularly if you have children.
  • $15 wage increase will occur per the city’s plan. (Which is too long in my book)
  • 1B continually uses the word “quality” preK and yet doesn’t support appropriate teacher training and wage increases.
  • Because of the standardized material, programs such as Montessori and Waldorf will probably not want to be involved which decreases the choice and opportunities for lower-income students.
  • By the way, 1B is not fully funded. They are short by about $20M. They say they will probably receive a state grant to cover the rest of the $58M they project it will cost to create and run the program for four years.

For more information on the propositions, please take a look at the homepage. All posts on this topic are now featured at that location.

Questions? Ask them here and I will do my best to answer them. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does.