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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, May 12, 2010 11B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Budget cuts proposed for California pre-K education WHERE I STAND NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR EARLY EDUCATION RESEARCH Despite evidence that Cali- fornia state preschool raises school readiness substantial- ly, it serves only 13 percent of 4-year-olds and inflation-ad- justed spending per child is at its lowest since 2002, accord- ing to the annual survey of preschool programs released today. "The State of Preschool 2009" showed California ranked only 26th for percent- age of 4-year-olds enrolled, ranked 22nd for funding per child, and met fewer than half the quality standards bench- marks. "As one ofll states with a proposed budget cut, inade- quate funding threatens the pre-K program's effective- ness," said W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Insti- tute for Early Education Re- search at Rutgers University and report author. Barnett warned that preschool-age children across the country are feeling the im- pact of the recession as states cut back on early education programs, according to the re- port that ranks all states on enrollment in state-funded preschool programs, the amount states spent per child, and how many of NIEER's 10 quality benchmarks a state met. "We are seeing a pause in the rapid increase in state preschool programs that we have seen in the last several years," said Barnett. "In some states enrollment has been cut back to the lowest levels in many years. Other states have cut funding and quality." "The immediate future of pre-K seems much more per- ilous than past trends might suggest," Barnett said. "State budgets will more fully bear the brunt of the recession in 2010 and 2011." Looking ahead, pre-K cuts are pro- posed for next year in 11 states including Arizona, Illi- nois, Florida and New York - Arizona has proposed cutting the program entirely. More cuts may be coming as state legislators cope with budget shortfalls. Nationally, the report showed that the average amount states spent per child, when adjusted for inflation, declined from $4,179 to $4,143 in 2009, ending an upward trend. Real spending per child declined in 24 of 38 states with programs. Total enrollment and spend- ing increased, but not in every state. In nine states the percentage of children en- rolled actually declined, and 12 states provide no state pre- K for its children. Other key findings showed modest growth in some areas and vast discrepancies between states: Enrollment nationally in- creased by more than 81,000. More than 1.2 million chil- dren attended state-funded preschool education, 1 million at age 4. Total funding for state pre- K rose to more than $5 billion, a state funding increase of $446 million, about half the in- crease of the previous year. Twenty-three of 38 states with state-funded preschool failed to fully meet NIEER benchmarks for teacher quali- fications, and 26 failed to meet the benchmark for assistant teacher qualifications. Programs in six states met fewer than half the quality standards benchmarks. Oklahoma remained the on- ly state where almost every child had the opportunity to attend a quality preschool at age 4. Oklahoma was rated as the leader of the top 10 states in the country, followed by Arkansas, West Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Louisiana and Tennessee. The top 10 ranking is based on en- rollment, quality standards, funding adequacy and evi- dence of program effective- ness. "With more families facing economic hardship, publicly supported preschool is more important than ever," Barnett said. He cited new research pub- lished in the journal Child De- velopment showing that low family income has dispropor- tionately more negative ef- fects on preschool-age chil- dren than on older children and adolescents. Those effects include higher school dropout rates, lower income as adults and greater adult health prob- lems. "We need to get the reces- sion babies on a progression path so they don't carry the scars for a lifetime," Barnett said. He called on the federal gov- ernment to place greater em- phasis on providing aid to states for educationally effec- tive pre-K programs. "As pure economic stimu- lus it is hard to beat pre-K pro- grams," Barnett said. "Pre-K is a high-return investment in our children's future that will help pay for the deficits we run now. In the meantime it generates jobs in local com- munities, with virtually none of the money spent on import- ed goods or services. "The alternative of cheap child care with low standards may reach more families, but it is bad policy, doing little to improve child development or the quality of our future workforce." The National Institute for Ear- ly Education Research (nieer.org), a unit of the Grad- uate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., supports ear- ly childhood education policy by providing objective, nonpartisan information based on research. NIEER is supported through grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts and others. LETTERS to the EDITOR Amused and disgusted I want to write in response to a letter that appeared last week which was quite illumi- nating. When I read the words "the sovereign state of Arizona," I knew I was going to be in for an amusing ride, and it sure was. As a Latino, this sorry ex- cuse for a law that passed in Arizona frankly disgusts me. To detain a person because they look "reasonably suspi- cious" of being in this coun- try illegally is nothing more than racial profiling. Sure, the federal government has failed to enact immigration policies that protect our bor- ders from further illegal im- migration; this doesn't mean that the states should jump the gun and interfere in mat- ters tht are the responsibili- ty of the federal government. Another thing that really bugs me when people speak so adamantly in defense of this law is that they fail to recognize or simply ignore the fact that illegal immigra- tion has been a quiet engine that has kept our economy afloat. Just like previous waves of immigration to this country, Mexicans are look- ing for nothing more than a better chance at honest work that they couldn't otherwise get in their native country. Without immigrant labor, prices for certain goods would not be as affordable as they are now -- would any- one honestly be willing to pay four or five times more for fruits and vegetables, just to make sure they weren't touched by "illegal in- vaders?" If immigrant labor were to be cut off as a result of this law, it would result in a domino effect that would end up having the opposite ef- fect it wants to have and end up hurting the economy. In order for Arizona to fully implement its new draconian law, it needs help from the feds and, truthfully, they are not going to get it. Edgar Perez Portola Cut it short I went to the candidates' de- bate in Portola because I wanted to be informed about the upcoming election. Only one of the candidates for as- sessor, Mr. Leonhardt, gave me some information that I felt was meaningful, honest and sincere. I was disgusted with Mr. Gardner's constant personal attacks on Mr. Leonhardt, of- fering nothing that would support why anyone would want to vote for him. I have been told by several friends that this is Mr. Gardner's way of doing things. I have to assume that the moderator knew what she was doing because she cut it short after 20 minutes of per- sonal attacks by Mr. Gardner. Mr. Leonhardt, you have my vote. Betsy Linderman Portola Even temper Election time always brings out some of the strangest candidates for some of the county offices up for election. The office of county assessor has piqued my interest for this election. For one, we have in this po- sition Chuck Leonhardt, the most honest, reasonable, car- ing assessor we have ever had in Plumas County. He has been our assessor for the last 13 years. When you have a problem, he and his staff are always willing to sit down with you and discuss what your issue is and what can be done about it. They do this without preju- dice, by that I mean without feeling as if they are always right and therefore you are wrong. Over the last few years as the economy has taken a tum- ble Mr. Leonhardt has taken it upon himself to see what could be done for the Plumas County homeown- er/businesses to lower their taxes, if the law allows. He and his staff have lowered taxes on over 5,000 properties in Plumas County and contin: ue to look for more property owners they can help in these hard times. Prior to his election Mr. Leonhardt worked for both Bank of America and Placer Sierra Bank, of course at dif- ferent times. He is a licensed appraiser and worked in real estate for many years as well. One of the most important qualities Chuck Leonhardt has is his even temper. In all the years I have known him I have never seen him lose his temper with the public, or his staff for that matter. Mr. Leonhardt instills in his staff that they are there to serve the public and to never forget that fact. I am not fooled by election rhetoric. Fran Roudebush Retired Plumas County Supervisor Portola Benefits us I am currently the chair- man of the Plumas County Economic Recovery Commit- tee. The committee includes volunteers from the entire county of diverse back- grounds and knowledge. PCERC works with 17 north- ern California counties to as- sist in needed economic stim- ulus. In the past several months, there have been many arti- cles in the local paper regard- ing the structure of the com- mittee and the qualifications and interests of the members. Chuck Leonhardt is an im- portant member of the com- mittee due to his knowledge of the economic history of the county and the importance of regaining Plumas County's viability through economic stability and job opportuni- ties. An important role of our elected officials is to have a broad understanding and sup- port for all facets of our coun- ty. It allows each individual to not only bring expertise and knowledge to their elect- ed position, but also interact and be a team player to the benefit of our entire county structure. Chuck was specifically asked to be a representative for PCERC at meetings with the regional forester in Sacra- mento, which included state and federal representatives. Chuck's testimony was essen- tial to the understanding of how vital it is for our county to maintain our healthy forests and watersheds through proper thinning and maintenance of our forests. The by,products of these ac- tivities promote healthy com- munities and jobs. Chuck provided informa- tion on the short- and long- term social and economic ef- fects associated with job loss, in this case, the closing of the small log mill in Quincy. These impacts go far beyond the individual job losses. It af- fects our small local business- es, our schools, hospitals and the well being of our individ- ual communities. By representing PCERC, Chuck assists Plumas County in maintaining our property values. As a representative of PCERC and an individual vot- er, I support Chuck Leon- hardt in his campaign for re- election as county assessor. Bill Wickman Quincy Residual bruising I attended the candidates' forum in Portola, and scored it much like a judge at a box- ing match. In the first contest, Asses- sor Chuck Leonhardt easily outscored the challenger, keeping his ethics and in- tegrity high and fending off jabs and a couple of attempts at body blows. I scored it 98-62 in favor of Leonhardt. In the second matchup, ap- pointed Sheriff Greg Hag- wood successfully defended his title against a much larg- er opponent. His adversary, retired Deputy Bob Shipp, kept his feet during the con- test and earned points for dedication and service to the community, but was no match for the speed and savvy of Hagwood. This is the type of fighter that not only improves the community pro- grams, but can take the battle to the highest levels when we are in need of state and feder- al funding. I scored it 99-75 for Hagwood. The third and final contest was to be a three-way battle for supervisor of District 5, but Dick Lundy was a no- show, so contenders Jon Kennedy and Ralph Wittick duked it out for the open seat. Both had a shaky start, but settled down in the later rounds, with Kennedy pulling ahead easily in the later rounds, blocking head shots and scoring with flurries of intelligence and honesty. I scored the contest 90-78 for Kennedy with a scratch for Lundy. No blood was shed in any of the bouts, but there may have been some residual bruising. Bill Powers Portola Best of hearts I have known Jon Kennedy for many years. After going through some difficult times, he left Plumas County and continued to grow as a per- son. Years later he returned and paid off the debts he had incurred with others and me; he was generous to a fault. His business as a mortgage broker was going great guns. One day while we were talk- :fftg;:hls phonerang and he launched into a conversation in fluent Spanish; that hap- pened to be the day he asked me to teach him to fly, which I did; he is now a licensed pri- vate pilot. The recession hit everyone hard, including Jon Kennedy; I have watched him try every- thing to pay his family's bills. Time and time again, he stood up and was knocked down. Fi- nally, he nailed down a good supervisorial job requiring tremendous pecuniary savvy. From my point of view, I see Jon Kennedy as a very in- telligent individual with a strong knowledge of civics and finance. I believe he has the best of hearts and would be an effective and levelhead- ed Plumas County supervi- sor. Johnny Moore Quincy Embrace I have known Jon Kennedy for 25 years when he was vot- ed class president of his high school. Jon has always been a "make-it-happen" leader who has a keen eye for detail and is a master problem solver. He is a dedicated and hard worker who works magic to turn a failed operation into a We need successful business. Anyone that has worked with Jon would testify to his tenacity to get the job done. While we wish Jon Kennedy was still in Sonoma County to lead us through these tough times, at least we know that Jon would offer your community the same leadership and dedication that he has for decades in Sonoma County. We would encourage your community to embrace the opportunity to vote for Jon Kennedy for the open office on the Board of Supervisors Joseph P. Soldis Retired Law Enforcement Officer Sonoma County I'm writing in support of Jon Kennedy for supervisor of District 5. I've known Jon and his family for many years and know him to be an in- credibly intelligent, driven and ethical person. I believe that Jon is run- ning for office for all the right reasons: He cares! He cares about the economic state of our county, educating our children, helping local busi- nesses and public safety. He has a passion for business that is only surpassed by the diversity of the skills he can bring to this job. We need the fresh perspec- tive that only Jon Kennedy can provide. We need a vision that will not only sustain us through these tough times, but propel us to the next level of economic stability that our county needs. We need Jon Kennedy for Supervisor of District 5. Antoinette Quesenberry Blairsden Rare opportunity It is rare I vote for rather than against a candidate; however, Greg Hagwood is clearly the exception. We have challenging times ahead, requiring the highest caliber skill set as we struggle with fiscal shortfall and the necessity of rethinking future direction and policy. Greg is uniquely qualified to meet these challenges, at all levels. He brings to the job his edu- cation, experience, character and, most importantly, his commitment to the depart- ment and to Plumas County. And, he has the youth and energy to fulfill this critical role for the moment and for years to come - continuity. I cannot overstate the impor- tance of these attributes when electing our future sheriff. I urge you to vote for Greg Hagwood as we enter an era far more challenging than any of recent memory. Jeffrey S. Greening Lake Almanor Exorcism I am trying to exorcise an image that keeps nagging at me by writing about it. The image is of a compari- son of Sarah Palin to my neighbor's 5-year-old daugh- ter, who used to put on her mother's high-heeled shoes and have an imaginary tea party with her imaginary friends in her backyard. Of course, there is a signifi- cant difference. My neigh- bor's 5-year-old daughter knew she was pretending. Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Risky Building a large two-story medical facility, as proposed, in a sparsely populated rural region sure was a risky pro- posal. The board members' loss of credibility, dividing the com- munity, "irate" property owners finding a loophole and economic fluctuations were some of the risks taken. Now, the higher than "esti- mated" property taxe have placed a burden on the prop- See Letters, page 12B KRILL, from page lOB as we have on earth. Yet, they are contradict- ed by existing facts here on earth itself. At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, from north to south, the earth is splitting at the seams and from the depths, sulfuric fumes rise into the water. The fumes are toxic, the gases poison. There is no sunlight. The temperatures are all wrong, unbelievably hot. Nothing should live here. Yet there is a wealth of life. Go figure. Seeing creatures face to face as equals in their world allows us to see our likenesses. The look on the polar bear mother as she nurses her cub is the same look that was on my daugh- ter's face when my granddaughters were born. Seeing likenesses, we identify and empathize, even learn from them. We can try their ideas on for size. For instance, "molting" is a concept we hu- mans may have given insufficient considera- tion along our evolutionary path. Giving birth while you are hibernating seems another good idea. There are certain krill that getthrough the winter by reverting to their juvenile state and becoming smaller and thinner. That idea certainly has merit. And then, some whales on- ly eat once a year, which could really free up time. Of course, they have to travel 12,000 miles to get to their food. Never before in recorded history have we been able to see our world up close and person- al as we do today. Never before have we been able to stand back and see ourselves in the con- text of our surrounding solar systems and galaxies. All thanks to moving pictures and the in- credible telescopes and microscopes and photo- graphic equipment that are used to examine our world. You would have difficulty explaining what a spinner dolphin is to me in words alone and a still photograph wouldn't add much. But, watch a five-minute film clip and its graceful spins and pirouettes are imprinted on your psyche forever. It would seem the ability to distance our- selves and see an overview objectively and con- versely, the privilege to examine the tiniest bits of life in great detail would lead to great leaps in understandings not possible when we walked with our noses to the ground and our blinders on. I hope so. For the moment, I am simply dazzled. Like Alice. In Wonderland. ,!