Pre-k Funding Cuts Hurt Children Who Need it Most

Short-term fiscal fix at the expense of needy childrens' long-term futures

Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed legislation that will cut millions of dollars from Georgia's pre-k program, which offers free pre-k to 4- and 5-year-olds.

The legislation is expected to pass in a few weeks and be in effect this fall.

Some of the changes he has proposed are pretty promising. Putting $4.2 million towards increasing  the quality of pre-k and $4.5 million for at-risk extended day flat (after school care). It also adds 5,000 slots to the program to help accommodate the 9,000 kids on the waiting list.

What seems to be the largest contributor to cutting spending is cutting the pre-k day from 6.5 hours to 4 hours by removing rest time and reducing meal and routine time. I can't understand why a 4- or 5-year-old needs to be at school for 6.5 hours a day to begin with.

The shorter day was a pleasant surprise for me. I  found myself, regrettably, kinda glad they are making the changes. Now, I can send my kid for a few hours a day. I can get a break and she can be exposed to "school life."

Then I discovered the program was started as an at-risk program. The program was not started with stay-at-home moms, who need to get a break from the ever annoying "why?" in mind.  The program was started for, I think, the parents who fund it. The parents who buy lottery tickets with their last dollar, hoping to win big because it seems to be their only hope.

The ones who can't afford to send their child to pre-k and can't afford to stay home with them. The mom who can't stop working in the middle of the day to go pick up her child. The parents who are, for whatever reason, unable to  provide their own children with the school readiness skills I have been lucky enough to have the means to provide my children with.

My children will be prepared for kindergarten and probably go on to college with or without the free pre-k. These cuts do not effect my child's education as much as they effect the education of children with poor or single working moms and dads. These changes could change the course of their lives.

In the last fiscal year, the Georgia Lottery took in more than $3.6 billion and gave $883.9 million in profit to the state for education.

This may account for the president of the Georgia Lottery  receiving a bonus of $236,500 in addition to her $286,000 salary, as well as the four percent raises the lottery’s 260 employees received this past year. However, all of the reasons funding for pre-k education is being cut by millions of dollars, are lost on me. At this point, I do not know if I want to send my child to free pre-k, taking the much needed spot from an at risk child.

Besides, I've never bought a lottery ticket.

Roger Alan Wade February 24, 2011 at 08:51 AM
Bailey February 24, 2011 at 09:20 AM
The phrase "non working mothers" is just plain stupid. SAHMs are some of the hardest working people i have ever known and i certainly don't know of any more difficult, demanding and trying job than tending to children. A lot of people with young children "work" some prissy-ass job rather than stay at home and raise their own children. Motherhood is a real job and some women w/ children can't handle the pressure & responsibility of tending to their own children so they work outside the home and fancy themselves as businesswomen. I'll put SAHMs up against any these pompous, whiny "Career" girls anytime. You have to be industrious, savvy, patient, tough, smart, strong, wise, durable, accountable & responsible to be a SAHM & the system should be available to them and assist and support them. Hail to SAHMs. They are not the problem, they are the solution.
Shandy Dixon February 24, 2011 at 06:55 PM
The word on the street for "stay at home mom" has been that Pre K is a great tool to aid in a child's social and emotional development. I just could not dare fault a parent who may sacrifice a paying job in order to stay home and then take advantage of the free or low cost pre k. We all want the best for our children. If the 3 yr. old's mother is headed off to work, get her nails done or even just to rest ..that doesn't matter. The focus is the child and the child's enrichment. If these little ones don't get set up on the right track they will not have any use for the lottery higher education scholarships. The money should be invested in the children..LOTS of money!!! rich or poor, black or white teach them all, every one of them!
Shannon Sanders February 28, 2011 at 04:09 PM
@Bailey... Coming from both sides - formerly a mom who worked outside the home and currently a SAHM, I find some of the comments made frustrating... faulting moms who work outside the home as if they don't care for or can't handle their children as much as SAHMs. I agree, staying at home with kids takes talent and is not easy, but neither is working outside the home and being a mom. You're living in a bubble if you think there is only one solution to raising children. For one, not all mom's have the luxury of being able to make a choice of staying at home or working. There are single moms who can't stay at home and others who need a dual income in order to pay the bills, not all moms are in families in higher income brackets. I have had one child who has gone through GA Pre-K and appreciated the relief of one daycare bill while the other began daycare. Have you seen GA's rankings in education? Though I wasn't completely impressed with the GA Pre-K program as compared to the curriculum of the daycare center my child attended, I feel it is a necessary program for many and children from all backgrounds that can benefit from Pre-K programs and it is unfair to judge parents who choose to put their child into Pre-K. Didn't many, many women fight for the right to choose - to work or not to work? I think we should commend anyone who is a good mom whether they work outside the home or not and not be so critical of people's choices.
Bailey February 28, 2011 at 04:38 PM
@ Shannon, Fine point & i 100% agree w/ you. I should have been more clear. I was absolutely not aiming my comment at those brave and talented Moms who have no choice. I was referring to the silver spoon elitist quoted in "A. Hobbs" post. My deep & sincere apologies & Kindest Regards, my friend.


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