Tempe’s “Free” Preschool

For some reason over the last several decades, it has become the norm to send children to school before the magic age of five.  There are various reasons, but those in education or who want to justify the decision say it is so the kids are “kindergarten ready.”  It’s amazing so many successful and well-educated Americans have done great things without preschool, and some didn’t even attend kindergarten.

Little kids attending babysitting in a classroom setting used to be called nursery school. The situation has become more acceptable by calling those grades preschool or pre-kindergarten. Whatever the reason, it is up to the parents if they want to pay a stranger for doing things with the child the parent is qualified to do.

That is the the bottom line–the parents have every right to make the decision to PAY for their child’s preschool.  But not anymore in cradle-to-grave Tempe, Arizona.  Now we have a two-year pilot program which will provide preschool to a certain amount of “needy” children.  What Tempe Council won’t tell you is nothing is free and money to cover the cost of the program doesn’t grow on trees, but in its citizens’ checkbooks.

The teacher to student ratio will be 9:1.  Wow, that seems high.  Imagine if these kids were able to be with their parents and get more one-on-one attention; they would learn much more.  Also, they will be in nursery school all day.  That’s tough on little kids.

We know this post is not going to be popular for many reasons, but think about how well generations before us did with less. As the woman in the video says, she has one income and COULD pay for preschool but it would be hard.  Of course!  Paying for non-necessities is often hard.  What ever happened to sacrifice? She would be able to teach her son way more as his mother than throwing him into a classroom where he has to compete with 17 other kids for attention at a crucial time in his life.

Why should the residents of Tempe pay for her son when she admitted she COULD pay for preschool?  With three school districts already in Tempe, is Tempe Government becoming a fourth?

Or is this a mechanism for Councilman David Schapira to get his name all over the “free” pre-school gig so folks remember his name when he runs for Superintendent of Public Instruction? He went on offense when a Tempe Chamber of Commerce representative challenged the program during public comment recently.  What does he have riding on this program? In this video while the players pretend they are making some surprise preschool acceptance calls, the mother blows his and Councilwoman Lauren Kuby’s cover when she says she was expecting their call:

Tempe Free Preschool

Tempe keeps telling us our city is setting the example for other Arizona towns.  That is true.  We are hearing that even Gilbert, which is usually sensible, is having some chatter about education. Perhaps after a long year for the 3-4 year olds in all day paid-by-the-taxpayers nursery school, they can attend a local Tempe Elementary School for a free lunch, needy or not.





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