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President Biden’s plan for universal preschool is the ‘great equalizer’ for kids

All kids at age 3 are eager to learn. A former neighbor of mine used to complain about 5-year-olds who were not ready for kindergarten. I had no idea that kids that young could differ so much in skills.

A preschool student raises her hand during class at Dawes Elementary School on the Southwest Side.
A preschool student raises her hand during class at Dawes Elementary School on the Southwest Side. Universal preschool is about more education for more kids, a reader writes.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Mona Charen’s recent column, “Why, Goodness, Who Could Possibly Oppose Universal Pre-K?” mixes apples and oranges, and a few bananas. Her column mixes up daycare and preschool (two very different programs) and a parent’s desire to work while parenting young kids. All three concepts deserve a separate column.

I have no doubt that some of the surveys that she quoted are accurate. It is exceedingly difficult to balance work and parenthood. Part-time work is a great compromise, as mentioned in her column. But balancing work and parenting is not the point of the president’s desire to expand preschool for all. Nor is it the point of his desire to offer two free years of junior college to all. The point is more education for more kids.

The “gold-standard” preschool study she notes only followed the kids until third grade. The Perry Preschool study followed them for 15 years and found great outcomes. Also, subsequent studies found that some kids in low-income neighborhoods need after-school tutoring throughout grade school as well.

All kids at age 3 are eager to learn. A former neighbor of mine and I used to talk about our “kids” in our classes. I used to complain about 17-year-olds who made it through high school lacking basic reading and math skills. She complained about 5-year-olds who were not ready for kindergarten. I had no idea that kids that young could differ so much in skills.

Head Start and other preschool programs are the great equalizer. They get kids ready to learn. President Lyndon B. Johnson started Head Start because he taught young kids from a very poor area in Texas and saw the need.

Ms. Charen should write a column devoted to the teachers who work with young kids every day.

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

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We need more technology like ShotSpotter

Not only am I a proponent of ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology, I don’t feel it goes far enough.

The times I’m aware of shots being fired on my block, the police have shown up, and that’s a good thing in my opinion. Invariably, they then ask residents if they have security cameras that may have picked up the incident. My question is, why aren’t there working police- monitored cameras on our blocks? We need to get serious about making peace-seeking residents safer.

Michael Pearson, Englewood

Baseball’s fan base

It is a real shame that people no longer have free television access to the baseball games.

Growing up, it was great to watch the Cubs play. The fans were the backbone of these clubs. On a special day, maybe they could make it to the stadium in person, with their cow bell in hand. Now they’re home because of COVID-19, or because they’re retired or maybe sick and can’t work. These folks can’t watch their teams unless they pay up for special TV access.

It seems like the sports teams have turned their backs on their most loyal fans. Hope it doesn’t come as a surprise when they find their fan base strikes them out.

Carol Huotari, Melrose Park

Keep Trump away for good

A board at Facebook kept former President Trump off of Facebook. Ah, peace.

I took myself off of Facebook in 2018. But a white supremacist who seeks civil discord should not be given a platform to display discrimination against everyone who does not think as he does. “My way or the highway” is not expected from a former president. “All for the common good” is more like what we need to hear.

My message: Permanently remove Donald J. Trump from Facebook and other social media.

Janice Gintzler, Crestwood