"[Rob] Reiner initiative bad for preschoolers"
Posted Mon, Feb 6, 2006 at 5:37 pm
Alan Bonsteel, president of California Parents for Educational Choice offers his thoughts on Rob "Meathead" Reiner's preschool initiative:
...California's public schools are governed by four interlocking layers of dysfunctional bureaucracy: the federal, state, county and district levels. No one is in charge of anything, least of all the parents, voters and taxpayers. Not only do the multiple layers of bureaucracy soak up an unacceptable amount of taxpayer dollars, but disagreements among the bureaucracies are resolved through lawsuits, with the taxpayers footing the bill for each camp of dueling educrats.Previously: UC study: by Third Grade, Preschool benefits disappear and "Preschool for All Act", Rob Reiner, and the government targeting 4-year-olds.
Reiner's scheme again involves all four levels of bureaucracy, but, worse still, the primary responsibility for administering his tax funding of preschools is the black hole of California education, our county offices of education. Most voters are unaware even of the existence of these county offices, and not one in 100 can name their county superintendent of public instruction.
As a result of this lack of democratic control and public oversight over the county offices of education, the misnamed "continuation" schools they run graduate almost no one, and their schools for mentally retarded and physically handicapped kids are shamefully dysfunctional. Many school reformers have advocated for years eliminating entirely California's county offices of education and folding their responsibilities into the state Department of Education and the districts in order to streamline the bureaucracy and provide more transparency and accountability to voters.
Very few of the high-quality community-owned preschools that have served us so well would survive in an environment in which they must compete with preschools that appear to consumers to be giving away their product. As these community-owned preschools close, freedom of choice in preschool education will vanish, and the door will slam shut on quality preschool education for the low-income families who most need it. No one who understands California public education would have made such an obvious error as to put early childhood education into the hands of the county offices of education, and Reiner's initiative is yet another example of a multimillionaire abusing the initiative process and refusing to seek expert advice...