Thursday, July 23, 2009

We'd Like to Thank You Rod Blagojevich

...for screwing up our state's budget. OK, it probably was already screwed up when you got it, but you did nothing to improve matters. And neither has your successor. I am thankful to you myself for creating a statewide program (preschool for all), upon which my family has come to depend, but which our state can no longer afford (assuming it ever could). The IL Board of Education announced earlier this week that the early childhood education budget took a 33% hit. What that means for The Girl (and me) remains to be seen. But I'm thinking that the program will probably get the axe at the 11th hour, leaving me and about 12,000 other parents citywide scrambling for alternate preschool for our children. That is, assuming we see the value in early childhood education and/or can afford it.

At this point, CPS has not disseminated any information to PFA parents about the near future of their children's education. I've got my ear to the ground on this issue and I still don't know a damn thing.

I talked to State rep Deb Mell last week, who first told me that I'd have to call the governor's office to find out what was happening with the education budget and PFA, and then asked me what people did for preschool before PFA. The Boy is 6 and The Girl is 4; I don't know what "people" did for preschool before PFA, I was not among them then. Presumably, they sent their children to daycare, private schools, parochial schools, or park district programs, at varying levels of affordability. The Boy spent a year in parochial preschool, an experience I do not care to repeat. I have no problem sending The Girl to the park district, but fear that the Web site will lock up at 9 a.m. on August 17th as thousands of parents attempt to register their children for the already limited spaces in these programs.

Today, I spoke to the lovely Mrs. Santiago at Disney II, who also had no news. At last week's IAC meeting, a member proposed a 1/2-day TBPK. However, besides being problematic in terms of tuition amounts and teacher fee structure, such a program would have to be administered by the school, which does not have the resources to support it. I wonder if D2 has enough interest to open a second TBPK classroom?

Scuttlebutt from CPS teachers, friends in-the-know and other interested parties suggests that I -- and any other would-be PFA parent -- would do well to have a back-up plan for preschooling our children. Where will your children attend preschool next year?

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