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51° Good Afternoon

Letter: No commitment to pre-K programs

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reads

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reads to kindergartners at P.S. 130 in Chinatown on Feb. 25, 2014. Credit: Getty Images

Newsday's editorial "Pre-K program presents a golden opportunity" [Aug. 22] offers a positive view on state funding for full-day prekindergarten. However, the strings attached to the funding are not readily apparent. Many good programs ultimately fail due to a lack of long-term commitment, and reading between the lines of these state grants, one can see potential problems.

Research has firmly established the benefit of pre-K education, particularly for kids in high-needs districts. Now, tying these funds to demonstrating the worth of such programs will inevitably result in "high-stakes testing," which has been linked to negative consequences for both teachers and students.

By continuing to insist on this testing, state education officials are rapidly perverting education in pursuit of statistical "success," with teachers maneuvering to keep those numbers in line, rather than concentrating on what's best for children.

This problem, together with the lack of a true long-term commitment to pre-K education -- the money must be approved yearly -- makes the new program just a palliative. We are long overdue in making full-day pre-K as much a part of our educational system as K-12.

Stephanie Freese, East Meadow

Editor's note: The writer is an early childhood consultant.