From: Patti Bateman
Subject: HB 96
Date: Thu Feb 06 04:30:15 MST 2014
Dear Representatives,

I am writing to plead with you to oppose HB 96.  Let me explain.  As a first grade teacher I feel I have a unique perspective on the effectiveness of early childhood programs.  I had many children come into my classroom who had attended head start.  They come from homes that were economically disadvantaged and often spoke an alternative language.  They were FAR behind children who came from most homes common to Utah families.  Head Start was ineffective in preparing children for school.  Another government program, designed to do approximately the same thing will be equally ineffective.  Until the home environment changes, the learning curve for these children will remain approximately the same.   Taking children out of the home and away from the parents' influence is more detrimental than it is helpful

I also fear that if we start such a program for disadvantaged children it won't be long until it is required of all children to attend an early childhood school.  We already have compulsory education for children K through 12.  How long will it be before the government REQUIRES 3 and 4 year olds to attend school?  The less influence parents have in their children's lives the greater the chance that "indoctrination" will change who these young people are.  We will be robbing our children of what makes them unique!  This is all apart of President Obama's Race to the Top!  It mirrors what happened in Soviet Russia.  That is NOT what makes America great!  

In some countries children don't attend school until they are 7-8 year old.  It is my experience with children coming into a first grade setting that they have forgotten much of what they learned in kindergarten.  A first grader loses about 1/3 of what they learn during the summer.  A child who is ill prepared loses more than that!  It's my belief that we are pushing children too hard, trying to push more curriculum at them and in the process we are "burning them out" at an earlier age!  School should be a fun place where learning is enjoyable.  We are so intent on test scores and progress that we've taken the fun out of learning.  Starting kids out at 3 years of age will simply accelerate that decline in the joy of learning.  

I am extremely concerned about the gathering of data on children!  We have done that for years but what information was gathered stayed with the child!  It didn't get passed on to anyone but the next year's teacher and then filed when they graduated from high school.  Passing these scores on to state officials guarantees that a child and family's privacy will be violated!  And to what end?  We don't know the answer to that yet but…

Please consider opposing HB 96. 

Sincerely yours,
Patti Bateman
193 East 1100 North
Pleasant Grove, Utah  84062