, Newburyport, MA


November 26, 2012

Put entitlement programs under the microscope

There’s a family I’m close to who live in a near-by city. They’re the average young family, sort of like the Berenstein Bears: Momma, Poppa, Brother and Sister. They go to Sunday school and soccer practice and Scouts and sometimes swimming at the Y. They live in a neighborhood with many young families like them, where you can ride your scooter on the sidewalk and chat with friends over back fences. They don’t go on vacation very often as a family and rarely even go out to dinner, but they’re happy and healthy, enjoying life.

Unlike the Berenstein Bears, Momma and Poppa work. Four jobs between them. Sometimes Momma leaves the house in the morning before the rest of the family is awake so she can get to work on time several cities away from home, and Poppa has three jobs and is home only one night during the work week. There is the mortgage to pay for, along with new shoes for growing feet and food and, of course, day care.

So you can imagine how delighted this young family was to learn that the city where they live decided last year to fully fund all-day kindergarten. Wow. The younger child will be in kindergarten next year. No more day care. Wow. Maybe Poppa will be able to drop one of his three jobs and be home at night. There is a light at the end of this tunnel.

This family is delighted, of course. And the teachers are delighted as well. Instead of spending time in first grade getting half-day kindergarteners from the year before up to speed with those whose parents paid for full-day kindergarten, they can now hit the ground running and have a real first-grade curriculum.

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