Some Utah parents are worried about afterschool Satan Clubs. I don’t blame them. However, and I’m no religious expert by any means, if there is a devil, I think it is always sneaking into town when and where you least expect.
Utah, in my opinion, has some devil-like programs designed to eliminate public-schools.
First, there’s social impact bonds or “pay-for-success” programs. These sound nice and enticing at first. Here is a description from the Stanford Social Innovation Review:
The plan called for United Way of Salt Lake to work with area partners, including StriveTogether (a national network of cross-sector community partnerships focused on improving public education), to expand high quality preschool opportunities in high-need communities, and for Goldman Sachs and J.B. Pritzker to provide $7 million in up-front funding to pay for the program. If the children who had been identified as potentially eligible for government-funded special education (beginning in kindergarten and often lasting through high school) were able to avoid tapping those services, then, ultimately, the state of Utah would pay investors their principal plus a financial return. (Because state legislation had not been passed in 2013, for the first cohort of children the investors are paid by United Way of Salt Lake and Salt Lake County).
The problem is that some children have disabilities for life that teachers, no matter how great miracle workers they might be, cannot fix. They can help the child improve, of course. But with such reward bonds, the ultimate goal appears to be to get rid of special education services.
It would be nice if there were no more disabilities in the world. It would be wonderful if medical science could ensure that every child be born into the world healthy, and without ever having to face learning challenges.
But students with disabilities might always need special education support. Parents often rely on these public school programs for their children. With assistance, many young people go on to do well in life. They can learn to correct or compensate for their learning or social problems.
There should be no reward get rid of such programs, or to make it look like teachers should be able to fix every learning difficulty a child might have with a disability. What will happen to students who still need services?
Social impact bonds do not appear to be as lovely as they seem. So I say, be gone Beelzebub!
Then there is the business of Utah’s online preschool for children from lower-income households.
Utah legislators, despite concerns from a few years back here and here, jumped on Waterford’s UPSTART online preschool. Scroll down on the page. The research advisors from the world of reading instruction are interesting.
Utah claimed they didn’t have enough money for actual preschool or for apparently paying for early childhood teachers, so they purchased iPads for students, with the promise that 15 minutes a day would make four year old children prepared for life.
And now they are bragging that students are doing so well, they are going to pay for even more computers for young children. They still don’t have the money for early childhood teachers though.
Of course, for some parents, if 15 minutes works, probably an hour or more will work better. So little children might be online for a long time. I am not opposed to a little computer use by young children, but please don’t call it preschool.
UPSTART gives parents an hour of training for home use. The claims are the program is free, but tax dollars fund UPSTART.
The reality is that preschool is where children get together and socialize–that’s the biggest part of preschool. The other parts involve play and make-believe.
There is a lot written about what good preschool is. I’ve written much about it too.
In fact, so many people know what good preschools consist of, it is a wonder people can be deceived into thinking it is something it is not. It is certainly not 15 minutes on a computer! You can’t socialize with a machine.
Keeping children away from each other, teaching kids that a computer is all they need to learn from, and leaving teachers out of the picture is concerning.
I don’t know if its the devil, but it isn’t good whatever it is.
Or, the older one. HERE.