Quality of preschool dependent on quality of parents

Lyndsie Yamrus, Assistant Opinion Editor

In his recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama declared that early childhood education should be open and available for all.  Early childhood education, he said, can benefit the country in the long run by “boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.”
Obama went on in his speech to claim that high-quality preschools will provides states with about $7 back for every dollar spent on the program in a “bang for their buck” scenario.
This statement was based on academic studies and reports of HighScope Perry Preschool in Michigan and the federal program Head Start , installed in 1965 during the Johnson administration., according to politifact.com.
Preschool is vital for children no matter what race they are or how much money their family has in the bank.
There are so many factors involved in the development of a child all around, including one’s attitude, behavior and viewpoints. But a child does not simply come out of the womb knowing how to participate in life or how to behave with other children, or how they feel about an idea. They learn these things.
So each one of them needs a teacher, not a babysitter.
Unscientifically speaking, the common babysitter will probably turn on the TV. They will prepare snacks for the children, throw around some toys and allow the kids to do what they normally do at home.
A TV will only do so much. Sure, learning channels exist and not all television shows are mentally destructive. But TV is generally mindless. It requires little to no participation.  It’s an occupier. Mom and dad need to get ready for work and it does a good job getting and keeping kids’ fleeting attention spans.
Point is, your child more than likely cannot achieve at home (with a 12-16 year old babysitter) what they can achieve at preschool.
Preschools are designed for learning. They typically are very colorful and welcoming. Reading nooks, coloring and writing tables and learning areas are usually set up in an open environment where kids can function in small groups; conversing, playing and interacting with each other.
They need that creative stimulation that Dora the Explorer just can’t quite provide you with.
Under adult supervision, children are able to develop in activities that are often neglected at home, especially in underprivileged areas. They are then able to discover and develop with others of similar ages and in similar growing stages.
So again, yes, Obama is 100 percent on the mark about expanding our currently implemented plan towards early childhood education.
But we’re missing a key piece.
Our preschools, no matter how “high-quality” we think they should be, are only going to be as good for our children’s futures as their own lives at home.
Many children unfortunately just don’t have a good set-up at home. While many families provide stimulating conversations and experiences for their kids, others fail to do so for a number of reasons: maybe they’re too poor. Maybe they’re never home. Any number of explanations can contribute to the problem.
Even worse off are the mentally or physically abused children who are almost guaranteed to fail no matter what kind of school they’re exposed to: high-quality, low-quality, it doesn’t matter.
They’re only a few months to 3, 4 or 5 years old. If something traumatizing is occurring at home, that instability alone sets up an immediate roadblock for learning.
While not guaranteed, and partially dependent on the degree of the individual situation, it is a pretty safe to say that if the parents fail, the preschools will fail too.
It’s time to compare statistics, create more studies and really analyze this early education system to see if expanding is really worth it or not. Let’s hope it is.