Peskin gets behind Preschool-For-All proposition
Supervsor Peskin is joined by Supervisors Ammiano, Ma, Mirkarimi
and Labor Council Director, Tim Paulson, on the steps of City
Hall yesterday in support of Proposition 82.
By Aldrich M. Tan
May 10, 2006
Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced legislation in support of
Prop 82, the Preschool-for All-Initiative, at the Board of Supervisors
meeting on Tuesday.
The proposition would develop a free, high-quality preschool
education program for every four-year-old in California, Peskin
"Prop 82 is a historic opportunity to make sure all children
receive a quality preschool education so that they can enter school
prepared and ready to learn," Peskin said.
Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, Fiona Ma, and Tom Ammiano joined
Peskin in support of the legislation at a press conference on
Tuesday outside City Hall.
"Preschool gives students a leg up in life," said Ammiano,
a former preschool teacher.
Ma agreed with Ammiano.
"Every child should have a fighting opportunity to succeed
in this country," Ma said.
Mirkarimi said he represents a district that continues to struggle
to provide community needs.
"If this city is serious in protecting families of all different
classes and races, it will support this legislation," Mirkarimi
Lee Blitch, former president of the San Francisco Chamber of
Commerce, said the key to having a great city is to have an educated
"The sooner that we educate children, the less money we
will spend later to play catch-up with their education,"
Tim Paulson, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council,
said a good education system is critical to the city's quality
"Prop 82 gives working families a break and puts kids on
the right track in school," Paulson said.
Scott Moore, co-owner of Little Elephant Montessori School in
Oakland, said preschool can be very costly. Moore, whose program
has 28 children from Oakland, said his school charges over $1,000
per month for full-day program and $825 for a part-day program.
Moore said he is pushing for the legislation for his son Duncan,
16 months old, can someday avoid becoming one of the 50 percent
of fourth graders who cannot pass the basic reading test, according
to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.
"Children like my son would be able to go a high quality
preschool some day," Moore said.
Not every state official is in support of the initiative, which
will be part of the June primary election ballot.
"With all the real and pressing problems facing this state,
the last thing we need to do is raise taxes by $2.4 billion to
create a new government run bureaucracy to replace our current
system of preschools," said Allan Zaremberg, President of
the California Chamber of Commerce.
Larry McCarthy, president of the California Taxpayers' Association
said the legislation will get only four percent more of state
children into preschool.
"Rather than focus resources on the state's most pressing
needs or helping parents of low-income families who need the most
help sending their kids to preschool, this flawed measure creates
a subsidy for rich and middle-income families that already send
their kids to preschool," McCarthy said.
Natanya Moore, Duncan's mother and a preschool teacher herself,
said Prop 82 instead provides equal opportunities for children
from rich, middle and low-income families.
"It is important to have children of diverse socioeconomic
background participating in the same education program,"
Moore said. "Such programs will promote greater community
and global awareness for these children."
According to the proposition itself, Proposition 82 will develop
a $2.4 billion state-run voluntary preschool education program
for all four-year-old children beginning in 2010 through a 1.7
percent tax increase on individual incomes above $400,0000 annually
and $800,000 for couples.