Advancement of early childhood development

Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal? I learned about the issues underlying in my proposal when I started working at my service work place and it was concerning.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal? My service activity influenced my thinking because I was concerned for the kids well being in terms of their education and how it was not where it needed to be.

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My screencast: issues with early childhood development

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1:

Dr. Rona Carter, a professor at the university of Michigan for Psych 325 Empowering families and communities.

Dr. Carter’s research bridges biological transitions with critical developmental tasks (e.g., racial identity) amid specific contexts (e.g., schools) to elucidate the socialization experience. Dr. Carter said When trying to figure out the problem of the situation that I was investigating that I should find the guiding principles and orienting concepts of community psychology, namely, the prevention of social problems and the promotion of well-being among individuals within diverse contexts, such as families, schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

CONSULTATION 2:

Raven Jones, Former kindergarten teach in the Detroit Metropolitan area. 

Raven helped me a long the way in terms of coming up with solutions and how they would work in terms of logistics. I valued Raven insight and thoughts because she herself was a former kindergarten teacher so she knows what the kids need to be prepared for kindergarten. Therefore she threw out some ideas of what she used to develop her students and what stuff worked and what didn’t. And together we came up with the idea of homework packets. She didn’t use this method but used a simpler form which was just occasionally worksheets she would hand out in class. This was the turning point in my proposal in terms of brainstorming ideas.

 

CONSULTATION 3:

A supervisor who asked to be nameless for certain reasons.

The supervisor had many concerning comments about the HeadStart program. Yet one thing that stuck out to me in particular was the overall program. She said that the curriculum consisted of learning through play. The kids play the whole day and the teachers ask them questions about what they are doing while they are playing and if they do not want to talk about it or can not form sentences about what they are doing the they are left alone. I found that concerning because that does not seem like a successful way of learning to me. However one positive I found was when the supervisor told me that the kids that stay in head start for a full 3 years are ahead of the curve and do excel in kindergarten which means they are doing something partially right.

Prospectus:

Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)

Visiting the United Children and Family Head Start the last few weeks has given me a chance to observe how the program works and who makes up the individuals involved. I have spent time working side-by-side with students and teachers, hoping to gain more insight into the program’s strengths and weaknesses. Probative conversations revealed a few consistent points of concern. Teachers felt that a lack of parental involvement, particularly in regards to male role models, was hindering their program’s impact. They explained that one reason for this was that parents were required, by the administration, to hold full-time jobs to maintain enrollment of their children. Additionally, each family must volunteer 12 hours per month with Head Start. With the limited hours of operation at the center, that is likely a challenge for a lot of parents to fulfill. Teachers also had concerns about the overall social skills of the children. They often come into the classroom not knowing how to share or use their words to explain their feelings, and it is a struggle for teachers to keep order. They worry that it takes away from their learning time, and will be problematic for them once they continue into kindergarten. Furthermore, I have individually noticed that the children frequently struggle to write letters, and many are still unable to write their own names. Taking these observations into consideration, I have created SMART goals to meet the needs of the program and provide empowerment for the children and teachers. First, a short video series helping the children to learn good manners and habits demonstrated by some of my teammates and I. I thought incorporating the Michigan Men’s Basketball Team would not only be a good way to get the kids engaged, but also provide them with positive examples of male leadership that they so desperately needed. A way of fixing this is making and distributing a homework packet focused on letter and number development. Our hope is that we can work with the administration to get approval for completion of the packets to count for some amount of volunteer hours for the families. This would be an incentive for parents to work on these skills regularly at home with their children.

 

Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: a short video series helping the children to learn good manners and habits demonstrated by some of my teammates and other athletes from different programs. I thought incorporating the Michigan Men’s Basketball Team or other male collegiate athletic teams around the state of Michigan would not only be a good way to get the kids engaged, but also provide them with positive examples of male leadership that they so desperately needed. Creating a mentorship program with local athletes throughout the state of Michigan at their local HeadStart programs.

SOLUTION 2:The next SMART goal that I came up with was creating take-home packets for the children.The goal of Head Start is to provide a jumpstart to the education of the children involved in their program. However some kids still struggle with the basic fundamental skills that are necessary to succeed in kindergarten. In observing this we came up with the idea of an Alphabet/Letter packets that the kids can do in school and at home to involve their parents. Expanding this to a statewide program so that all Headstart programs can use these packets.This curriculum change among all Headstarts in Michigan could increase parent volunteering.

SOLUTION 3: The last SMART goal is having a partnership with Kumon or other smaller after school math and reading programs. Partnerships with these organizations that specialize in improving children's math and reading scores could greatly benefit grade schools in Detroit that are struggling to keep up with the nation. Smaller programs could help K-12 schools in Detroit if given additional funding or through volunteering programs from individuals. A reward based system of incentives could entice organizations to offer free or reduced services to low-income schools like HeadStart. Also the Government could offer incentives like subsidies or tax breaks to these programs to encourage them to help HeadStart programs.

 

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

Allie Lisner has helped me a lot through the process of constructing my final thoughts for the proposal. When Allie said "I think you have a great ideas and a great foundation to a proposal, you just need to work on expanding this to a state policy level rather than just focusing on your specific service center," this helped me a lot and resonated well with me. At first my vision for the proposal was too narrow and only focusing on one problem in one specific place. Yet Allie helped broaden my vision, or focus I should say, to a more universal focal point for my idea. Im glad Allie helped steered me in the right direction when trying to figure out what is ultimately best for the community and the people of the state of Michigan.

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

Visiting the United Children and Family Head Start the last few weeks has given me a chance to observe how the program works and who makes up the individuals involved. I have spent time working side-by-side with students and teachers, hoping to gain more insight into the program’s strengths and weaknesses. Probative conversations revealed a few consistent points of concern. So to the best of my abilities I tried to come up with as many solutions as I could that I thought was feasible for the program. It was tough to come up with solutions because you have a feeling that you do not want to step on anyones toes by reforming something that has been in place for awhile. So I did research to see if anybody had the same views as me and i found somethings.  In a USA Today article about how groups urge earlier age deadline for Michigan kindergartens, I saw that some people did share the same views as me in regards to the development of the kids. A Teacher named Tina Everard feels for the 4-year-olds who enter her kindergarten classroom at the beginning of the school year. They're the ones who would rather play when it's time for reading and math. They struggle to stay focused. And developmentally, they don't seem ready for the rigors of today's kindergarten classroom. Everard testified in March, leaving lawmakers in the Senate with a document showing just how much more demanding kindergarten has become. In it, she included examples of a kindergarten report card from 1963, when the only math skill students were rated on was the ability to show an understanding of the meaning of numbers. Today, the list of math elements spans half a page and includes headings such as "counting," "operations and algebraic thinking," and "geometry." Kids are expected to master all this and more before first grade. With all of that being said I figured it would be best to  not try to fix that problem but to see how I could prevent the problem and start before kindergarten in a Head Start program. Then I tried develop as many simple solutions that would not be too much but integrate education earlier in childrens lives. That would ultimately stimulate their brains into a learning mind state that would improve until they reach kindergarten.

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

I worked on this whole proposal by my lonesome.
 

===FORMAL PROPOSAL===

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... Michigans K-4 readin scores have been going downward for almost a decade now ranking at 41st in the nation currently

WHEREAS....Kindergarten is more demanding now, kids are expected to know math elements from "counting," "operations and alegbraic thinking," and "Geometry."

WHEREAS....Kindergarten students who are under 5 would rather play when its time to for reading and math

WHEREAS.... Michigan students low-performance transcens race and income, affecting students who are white, brown, higher-income and lower-income.

WHEREAS.... Behavior issues start to stem from below average or failing test scores and grades.

 

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

1. A SMART goal of creating take-home packets for the children that consist of Alphabet/Letter and math worksheets. The more the children practice the more familiar and the more comfortable they become in the class room.

2. As a result of the take-home homework packet this would increase the parental involvement in the child Academic career. The parent plays a important part in the success of a childs academic career.

3. A SMART goal is having a partnership with Kumon or other smaller after school math and reading programs. Partnerships with these organizations that specialize in improving childrens math and reading scores could greatly benefit grade schools throughout the state of michigan that are struggling to keep up with the nation.

​4. A short video series helping the childeren to learn good manners and build good habits demonstrated by collegiate athletes from local universities. This is a good way of getting the kids engaged by using some of their role models to combat occurring behavior issues by eventually creating a mentorship with loacl athletes.

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. When companies like Kumon and other tutoring programs get involved, how can the state afford funding for all school districts.

2. How could you get the local athletes to be a part of a mentorship when they have busy schedules? and what if a particular school district does not have a college near by?

3. How would a video combat behavior issues if it is not quite engaging for the intended audience whose attention span maybe very short?

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

A reward based system of incentives could entice organizations to offer free or reduced services to low-income schools like HeadStart. However for the larger organization that are looking for some sort of collateral in this partnership the government could offer incentives like subsidies or tax breaks to these programs to encourage them to help Headstart programs throughout the state of Michigan. These are inexpensive ways to better the develop the youth without spending millions of dollars in attempt to better educate children. With these attempts the organizations have to be willing to help the children in the community in order for my whole proposed funding system to work. Then in terms of the college athletes and funding for the video could easily be solved. The video could be made on cellphones because it is probably the easiest and most inexpensive way to accomplish it.

 

References:

These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.

https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-05-19/earlier-age-deadline-michigan-kindergartners/55085950/1

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/05/michigans_k-12_schools_terribl.html

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Total votes: 16

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