Ann Bednarski: Recession is no time for all-day kindergarten
March 9, 2013
Gov. Brian Sandoval’s plans for this legislative session seem to be something that was proposed years ago, and pressure, probably from the teachers union, gets the plan recycled periodically. Has he forgotten or ignored that Nevada is in a recession? All-day kindergarten is a waste of taxpayer money. It is another way to indoctrinate children into a progressive society that works hard to make the family unit weak and dependent. All-day kindergarten does not enhance the education of the child. Some, like me, think it is detrimental to the joy of learning. The underlying message is, “We can do better for you than your Mommy or Daddy.” It did not sound at all like the plan of the Brian Sandoval I trust and helped elect.I read the article a few times hoping to find “parents” in his suggested plan. Not there. Parents are their children’s first permanent teachers. I think as young women and men become parents, they try to do their best raising their offspring. School should be an auxiliary tool parents use to fine-tune their child with skills for living. Instead it has steadfastly undermined the role of parents. Now very little is expected from parents, and young parents know the schools will take over their roles. It is unbelievably sad and destructive.Schools and teachers make poor substitutes for parental nurturing. And, they do not teach values or morals. The curriculum has wandered off into social training instead of academic and skill preparedness. Look at the numbers and you will readily see an ongoing decline in excellence and academic prowess. Recently I learned the latest diversion from basic skills is to teach kindergarten students sex education. Why? Handwriting would be a much better idea; reinstitute that as every person’s uniqueness is found in his signature, not his email address. A person is also judged by his vocabulary; stress and insist on reading aloud, and encourage all students to treat the dictionary as a very good friend. It is always a pleasant surprise to see what happens when students have effective words to express themselves. We have systematically encroached on parental rights and responsibilities. The parents of today are the products of this ever-failing education system we have created. Single parents, unwed mothers, drug-affected newborns, homeless, helpless people of today without skills or direction are the result of a public school system that is an abject failure. We are and have been doing our children a tremendous disservice. Nowadays, it is conceivable that children spend more time away from their home and parents than they do with them. In some places, children are at school from 7 a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m. They are being nurtured by many people who have no interest and no emotional ties to them; it is just their job. I tutored a little girl who was at school every morning at 6:45 and did not leave until 4:30. She knew almost nothing about her family; she rarely spent time with them.If Gov. Sandoval recognizes the need to “revamp (a) strained education system,” he could better serve the people of Nevada, especially the children, if he:1. Gets back to basics. 2. Realizes that all these programs and giveaways are burdening the future of these very students. 3. Stops the labeling and quit, really quit, telling kids they are “at risk.” Help them instead to learn to think logically. Aim toward reducing the number of special-education students. 4. If a student cannot afford the uniform required, let him do something academic to earn it. Handouts become cop-outs for adulthood and responsibility.5. Stops expecting so many people to volunteer their time; accept their help when offered. 6. Abolishes the union. It is an obsolete, expensive albatross.7. Eliminates the categories; teach children each one of them is unique and has a role in our society. No one has to become a burden or a drag on society. 8. Stresses, practices and demands respect from everyone for everyone. It will make him a much better governor.9. Re-evaluates testing for its value to a student’s future.10. Revamps and modernizes the archaic credentialing process. Some experts possess excellent communication/teaching skills and are not college graduates, but are tremendously qualified. Some credential requirements are revenue sources and not necessary.I think when a person is elected by the people, he takes an oath to represent and act in the best interests of his constituents. Integrity, transparency, and accountability are essential qualities for competent leaders. Any person who is more interested in a political victory by sacrificing what is best for the people is self-serving.Gov. Sandoval, you have experience and parents who gave you values. Most of all you possess leadership skills: compassion, confidence, conviction, creativity and courage. Please “… revamp (our) strained education system” for students and families.• Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.