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"Issues and Action in Education"

A Federal Curriculum for Preschoolers  
Mental Health & Gender Issues in Head Start HR 1429
Votes will be this week, perhaps Wednesday.

Contact your U.S. Representative.
Find Representatives here.
Or call them at 202-225-3121.

Tell them to remove federal curriculum
and mental screening for preschoolers.

 An e-letter produced by EdWatch, a nonprofit organization. 

Posted on March 30, 2007

        This week exposes the extreme direction of our current U.S. Congress. Within hours of each other, Congress will be voting on both a federal curriculum for preschoolers requiring gender/diversity/ training, and they will vote on the dangerous Hate Crimes Bill to add special federal civil rights protections for homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders. It's a stark picture of where the new majority's priorities are.

         Re-authorization of the federal Head Start program, H.R. 1429, requires Head Start curricula and assessments based on the radical ideas of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. They include gender issues, diversity, multiculturalism, mental health, environmentalism, and careers to very young children. These required "outcomes" constitute a federal, centralized curriculum for preschoolers. This will not close the achievement gap. Federal bureaucrats will be setting childhood norms in controversial areas for our nation's very young children.  These Head Start curriculum and assessments are a No Child Left Behind system for preschoolers.

        Is social-emotional (mental health) screening of very young children the purpose of Head Start?
HF 1429 includes ongoing  assessments of children. Very young children will be continually screened and assessed based on the controversial content and expectations of the outcomes. This strategy will not eliminate poverty or raise academic achievement. Psychological screening of young children increases the psychiatric labeling and drugging of children with ineffective and dangerous medications.

        Continuing to assume the right and constitutional authority that it does not have, the federal government is extending its illegitimate takeover of K-12 education downward to the birth to five age range in this reauthorization of Head Start.

1.  HF 1429 implements radical curriculum standards for preschoolers in every state.
        Head Start has published a Head Start Child Outcomes Framework, heavily influenced by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which is known for its controversial early learning credentialing system. (See "Child Care Credentialing and NAEYC's Anti-Bias Curriculum.")

        HR 1429 requires states to align their Head Start programs with either the radical Head Start Child Outcomes or with their own state early learning curriculum standards, many of which are also based on this same Head Start/NAEYC Framework. Curriculum standards for preschoolers in individual states are then applied to other state programs. In this way, Head Start sets the norm for what must eventually be required of all children. The Head Start Outcomes become part of a seamless system of controversial government required standards from birth through twelfth grade.
        The Head Start Outcomes do the following:
2.  Extends No Child Left Behind standards and testing to preschoolers.

        HR 1429 requires Head Start to be aligned with NCLB content standards and its assessments. Significant opposition has developed against extending NCLB to high school. Extending them to the nation's youngest and most vulnerable children makes even less sense than extending NCLB to high school. (See next point, below).

3.  Extends curriculum standards to all children via state and local integration.

        This aligned system of standards and programs is not just for poor, at-risk children, but rather for all children due to required integration on the local and state levels with public preschool programs.Eventually this forces faith based programs to teach Head Start curriculum standards. As described above, some of these curriculum standards are radical, and would be contrary to their philosophy. The result would be to force faith based programs out of Head Start or out of business altogether.

4.  Continues the role of government in the mental health of very young children and their families.

        HR 1429 re-inserts mental and behavioral health care into Head Start. These diagnostic criteria for mental disorders are extremely vague and subjective, as admitted by the US Surgeon General, the World Health Organization, and many psychiatric textbook authors.They are very difficult to accurately apply to young children. As a result of the New Freedom Commission recommendations for screening and drugging, this emphasis on mental health for very young children will result in increased screening and psychiatric drugging of infants and toddlers with drugs admitted to be ineffective and dangerous for children. (See here for details)

        Parental consent for health services and screening is included in the legislation, but consent cannot be an excuse to implement an expansive federal curriculum for childhood outcomes.

Urge your Member of Congress to vote this week to amend HR 1429 --
  • To remove mental health teaching and assessments;
  • To remove the requirements for a federal curriculum for preschoolers.

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