Tuesday, July 20, 2010

4K Possibility Still Alive

Two of three members of the Board Instruction Committee gave the okay to Ted Neitzke to continue studying the possibility of adding 4K to the West Bend School District. Voicing strong objection to this added program, Dave Weigand recommended not pursuing it further.

The West Bend School District is looking to “partner “with local parochial schools, the YMCA daycare and other preschool providers for an offsite 4K program. It would not be fully funded until its third year.

Tim Stepanski questioned why the district would add a non-mandated program in the midst of “budget cuts”. Weigand echoed that thought, further stating that the district would likely use union teachers, which are part of the current budgetary problems we have today. Weigand cited the financial liabilities and legacy costs that come with hiring teachers from the teacher’s union. No one denied that the district would hire union teachers for 4K, even though it would not be necessary to due to 4K not being mandated by the state.

The lack of data showing the benefit of 4K to students future school years was one reason Weigand is opposed to adding this to the district‘s offerings. “The studies of the success of 4K are ambivalent”, stated Weigand.
Many studies have shown that by third grade, any advantage to being in 4K is lost.

Kris Beaver strongly supported the proposed program, stating that not all moms can prepare their kids for school. “There are moms who know how to teach kids and moms who don’t”. He went on to say that because his mom was a teacher, he had an advantage over other kids whose moms were not teachers.

Neitzke echoed that thought adding, "Eighty-five percent of parents in our district have a high school diploma." He compared that to the parents who have college degrees and said that there is an increase in vocabulary of kids from homes whose parents have a college degree.

That made me wonder how my two daughters succeeded. I have a some college credits and a one year diploma degree in nursing, but not a college degree. I home schooled my daughters through high school, and they scored higher than West Bend’s average on the ACT test. HMMMMM
It’s all about perspective and priorities. To me, a large vocabulary at age 4 or 5 is not as important as character, respect, a strong family environment, teaching my values to my young children, etc.

We are told that this program is optional, “We’re not encouraging anyone to do anything.” they say. But, they are forcing the tax payer to add another program which will increase taxes and cause parents to give up their responsibilities to the schools again.

Weigand asked, “where will it end?” Neitzke agreed. I agree too.

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