I am so proud of my community and my schools. That’s because the Green Local Schools decided to offer free, all-day, everyday kindergarten to all its children.
Prior to this decision, residents had to pay for all-day kindergarten on a sliding scale, depending on income level. As a result, many Green kids ended up in private kindergartens, or at Charter Schools, which would offer free kindergarten but would significantly reduce funding for kids in Green public schools.
When I was the chairman of the Primary and Secondary Education subcommittee of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee in the Ohio House during 2009, I had the honor of shepherding the “evidence-based” model of school funding, as well as a host of education reforms, through that chamber. The package was recognized as the most innovative, nonpartisan education reform of the year by the Education Commission of the States in 2010.
One of the requirements was to adopt all-day kindergarten for every child. The reason was the overwhelming evidence that good, all-day kindergarten programs are vastly superior for all kids. The problem was that, until the evidence-based model, the state paid only for half-day kindergarten.
While the state granted many waivers from this mandate during the model’s phase-in (it has since been eliminated), it got districts thinking about one important question: What are we paying for now that’s more important than all-day kindergarten?
Many districts were spurrred to adopt all-day kindergarten, recognizing as Green now has, that its long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term costs.
I am thrilled that every child in Green will be given a chance to overcome obstacles in ways they wouldn’t have before because that’s what great early childhood education allows children to do: thrive.
I urge every school district to fight for all-day kindergarten and demand better funding from the state. Then it’s on to universal preschool.
Editor’s note: The writer is an education policy fellow at Innovation Ohio.
Commitment kept to U.S. soldiers
The recent vicious and unwarranted attacks surrounding the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are beneath contempt. As a country, we know better. We honor our commitment to never leave military personnel behind.
Rather than thank the president for a job well done, the right wing in Washington, Texas and on Fox News (entertainment) have vilified Bergdahl, his parents and the president.
I heap even greater contempt on Sen. John McCain. Having been a POW, he should know better.
These attacks are unsympathetic, unpatriotic, un-American, and certainly un-Christian.
David F. Denes
What happened to females’ freedoms
When did the Republican Party become a party of greater regulation? Historically, the GOP has always opposed greater regulation of carbon emissions through the Environmental Protection Agency.
Republicans have rallied against funding the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, citing it as an unnecessary cost on schools.
And yet, look at Ohio House Bill 351 to see the opposite position on health-care for women.
Republicans trust CEOs and small business owners to make appropriate decisions for their businesses, but they suddenly cannot trust doctors to help patients make appropriate decisions. To ban the most effective and long-term birth control option available to women smacks of irrational politics, far removed from pragmatic Republican policies of yesteryear.
Let’s take a step back and realize who is trying to push for greater regulation, without being medical doctors.
If women of lower socioeconomic status have their options taken away and run a higher risk of pregnancy, does that not increase welfare spending in the long-term?
Instead of looking to the long-term to reduce the welfare burden on taxpayers, Republicans have started to slash the power of doctors to make responsible decisions with female patients.
Remember, it was a Republican president who signed Title X to help women of lower socioeconomic position regulate their family planning.
Statistically speaking, a child born into poverty has a much higher probability of falling into poor educational systems, crime, domestic violence and perpetuating the cycle of irresponsible family planning.
That only serves to further the cycle of poverty among already struggling communities.
I would urge both sides of the aisle in Columbus, as well as my fellow Ohioans, to stand against H.B. 351. It is unnecessary at best,and harmful at its worst.
Andrew S. Golden
Hardly a matter of ceremony
A recent visit to the First Baptist Church in America in Providence, R.I,, founded 1638, reminded me that my fellow Christians have lost their way concerning matters of church and state.
Writers to this newspaper proclaiming that prayers before civil assemblies are a sacred right guaranteed by the First Amendment fail to understand both the power of prayer and its sacred purpose. We who pray do so in the expectation that God listens.
The decision by the Supreme Court on the town of Greece’s invocational prayer should be especially offensive to Christians, precisely because if the solicitor and Justice Anthony Kennedy are to believed, “it is only ceremonial.”
It is selfish and imprudent to assert for those who believe no such power can silently sit by as if it is pure ceremony.
When a Wiccan gets a chance to open a meeting, or worse, an atheist, with some invocation of spirits or some nonsense about the absence of a creator, who will be the offended ones? Not God, of course, because He knows full well our foolishness.