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Letter: Opposition to universal pre-K

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talks to the media at a press conference after the State of the State address at the Empire State Plaza and Convention Center in Albany, NY. (Jan. 8, 2014) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Regarding "Mayor goes to Albany" [News, Jan. 9], here's a novel thought. How about those who need pre-K pay for it? Thousands who choose something other than publicly funded education pay their own way. Enough of forcing others to foot the bill for your choice.

Educational funding needs to be reviewed. Seniors need relief, beyond STAR, after decades of paying for a system they no longer use but recognize as imperative to our nation's future.

Parents need more skin in the game. A fee per child might get the parents more involved and pro-active in their children's education.

Bill Ragona, Baldwin
 

Universal pre-K has flunked every test. Over the last 15 years, New York State has wasted several billion dollars in taxpayer money on a flawed and misconceived program which has shown no real results.

Contrary to what Newsday has reported, studies do not show any real gains for a universal population. Some studies have been done on a targeted population, and the gains from universal pre-K disappear by fourth grade.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo caved in to the special interests and unions and favored unproven "universal" programs over targeted programs, which would reach the most vulnerable. Why? Politics! Universal programs sell easier.

The solution would be to target pre-K based on financial need and students' needs. In the end, universal programs are ignoring the most vulnerable populations, not improving K-12, and further burdening taxpayers.

Universal pre-K competes with private preschools like mine for students, and Abigail Bottoms has had to close a school. Universal pre-K is going to families that can already afford preschool, and it is essentially shifting private programs to public funding.

Perry Russell, Farmingville

Editor's note: The writer is the owner of Abigail Bottoms preschool in East Patchogue.

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