Because I have seen the great success in our public schools with outstanding pre-schools, I fully support children beginning school at an early age. My children are fortunate enough to reap the benefits from starting school at age 3. They are ahead of most children their age; they are above grade level in reading and math; they are independent, self-confident learners, and they know how to plan, organize, and direct their own learning. I credit these fine attributes to their pre-school education at Bunche. Pre-school gives children the opportunities and benefits that last a life time, and it makes them productive citizens who make positive contributions to our society.
However, I am strongly opposed to Section 10 of HB1004 which expands the voucher program. I am also opposed to giving the responsibility of pre-school to private institutions. I am opposed to expanding the voucher program, and I am opposed to private pre-schools receiving public tax dollars as well as private schools hurriedly expanding their programs to offer pre-school so that they can receive our tax dollars. In fact, I believe our public schools are more than capable of handling this pre-school initiative. They already have the knowledge and experience. They will provide an equal opportunity to ALL children. Why do our legislators think they are not capable?
I hope there is an amendment to HB1004. I believe the state's preschool proposal is important enough to stand on its own, without section 10 of HB 1004, which ties the preschool program to the current voucher program. Section 10 should be removed. I wish our legislators would allow our public schools to do what they do best – teach ALL children equally; accept all children fairly; provide for our children what our democracy has promised them – an equal opportunity for education. That is what I want to see happen.