Friday, December 12, 2014

'We are tearing at family fabric when we separate children from parents'

"The early childhood school debate sometimes misses the heart of the matter," writes Russ Pulliam.
The early childhood push originally was aimed at at-risk children, those growing up in homes without enough sophisticated adult talk or missing parents who would know how to prepare them for school. But sometimes advocacy slides more toward universal pre-K education that’s supported by taxes.

Yet skeptics point to studies suggesting that early childhood programs work well when teachers only have a few students and parents receive special training. A less-intense approach won’t necessarily help students in the long run. ...

Jim Strietelmeier works with at-risk families through Neighborhood Fellowship in another low-income area of Indianapolis. He’s zealous for helping families in need but thinks the pre-K campaign has gotten carried away.

"I would be against universal preschool because it feeds into an American greed that will eventually destroy family relationships," he said. "Policy should be geared toward parents educating children in those pre-K years, to build family responsibility. When you detach children from familial relationships, you have an increase of psychological problems."

As a foster parent, he knows that some young ones should be removed from the home. But he is wary of the broader push away from family. "Parents nurturing children will prevent the decay of society," he said. "We are tearing at family fabric when we separate children from parents."

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