Monday, January 27, 2020

Illinois can do better on pre-K education

     If Dad brings home a pony on Monday, I’d say when the boys were small, and another pony on Tuesday, by Wednesday his kids will meet him at the door shouting “Where’s the pony?”
     That was meant to illustrate how expectations of children ramp up to meet whatever is done for them, my sympathies automatically siding with fellow beleaguered parents.
     But there’s a harder truth behind that: Children want so much because they need so much. Maybe not ponies, though some reader will no doubt argue that one. But they definitely need food and clothing and shelter and attention and love and vaccinations and storybooks and bedtime kisses and early morning activities and drinks of water in between.
     They’ll take as much as they can get, then put it to good use. They’re sponges, soaking up whatever is poured over them, squirreling it away to fuel their astounding metamorphosis, the magic trick of transforming from squealing, pooping, nonverbal, immobile, lumps of flesh slightly bigger than a meatloaf into fully formed, functioning, aware and decent adults.
     If all goes right. But what if it doesn’t? What if young children don’t get all the stuff they need? We see the results every day. Bad childhoods lead to bad adults, often, which help create the bad situations we must cope with on personal, family, neighborhood, city, county, state, national and world levels.
     Gov. J.B. Pritzker knows this and is expected to push early childhood education in his State of the State address Wednesday.

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Vatican Museum, 2016


  1. Children raised in impoverished circumstances are never going to have equal opportunity, but mandatory pre school might just help a few of them get a decent start on an equalizing education.


  2. I was taught to read before kindergarten by my little Welsh nain (grandmother.) I Remember being able to relate the plots of the Doctor Doolittle books, which earned me the admiration of my first grade teacher and the scorn of my classmates. However, it was, I think, a valuable head start.



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