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Denied Attending Pre-k

I have a three year old daughter who will be four in May, she will be attending kindergarten in the school year of 2008-2009. We live in Plano, they had there pre-registration yesterday and I took my daughter. We went throught the whole deal filling in all the paper waiting in line and everything. Come to find out we had to qualify bbased on our in come. My husband is a firefighter/paramedic for the city of Richardson, and I am a stay at home mom of four children. When it was my turn to "check out" they told me we qualified and she starts school on Aug 27. I am excitied because I didn't think we will qualify. So I am getting her all ready for school telling her what she is going to be doing and stuff, then the phone rings. It is PISD calling me and telling me we make to much money and if I want her to go to this school I will have to pay a total of $2600 within a 10 month period. Now I am not against anyone or anything, but I feel I am being discriminated against. If I spoke a different language in my house other than English my daughter could go free, if she had a learning disability she could go for free. So I am a little upset. I feel if they are going to go based on income with some people they should go on it across the board right regardless of what language you speak. I guess what I am wanting here is to know if any of you guys ran into this problem, and if you got around it somehow.

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Ok so I guess I hit a hot spot. Just to inform you a little more of what is going on in this middle class household. I have two step children and two of my own. My two older kids are in regular plano schooling and to let everyone know they are both in resources because the wonderful PISD has labeled them as having a learning disability. I tried to get my 8 year old son in pre-k when we first moved here to Plano by speech and learning disability!!!!!They denied him why I don't know. Now I go to these wonderful ARD meetings and they ask my R. how come you didn't send him to Pre K I said well you denied him. but now he is in speech, resources and he is on a reading level of a kindergartener. So yet I have two children who are labeled as disable so for you few who said to stop whinning and be grateful I am but, I have been let down by this system before. My daughter is very intelligent and we work with her at home she knows all her colors and count to 20 and knows her ABC's she even knows some Spanish (colors, numbers and some words) But SHe lacks the child interaction and she can be aggresive some time, I was wanting her to be use to being around kids her own age. All I am saying is just because I am not able to speak a different language that this city doesn't recognize then my daughter should be punished. (I do speak a different language I speak Hebrew b/c I am Jewish) My husband is a very devoted father and he works his butt off by taking others emergency calls and saving lives. We barley make it with his income and for those who say that the kids who can't speak english should get a break well I agree they should but so should us who are struggling also. I asked the school if there is a schoolarship or financial aid or something like that... they don't b/c they don't have the funds to provide it..... Then how can we afford to let people go for free?????
I pay Taxes just like my neighbors why can't I get a break with this. I guess I will find out b/c I going to the school board with this problem. I am not against any race, religion or class, I just feel we should be able to have the same oppurtunies as everyone no matter what I make or what languauge I speak or if johnny is smarter than sally. So I apologize now if I upseted anyone but before you go screaming and saying I am thinking wrong just find out the whole story.

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Pre-k is not mandatory in the state of Texas. It is for low income families because it is believed that they have a lower chance at a good education. They want them to be at the same level of education as child that comes from a wealthy family once the children are in Kindergarten. When I was a single mother, I qualified for Pre-K. My child attended for the first half of the year. Then I remarried and all of the sudden I had to pay $250 a month. I did not think that it was fair. My husband has a good job, but once you add up all the expenses, it doesn't leave room for much. Just the same I do not think it is fair that children of lower income families are classified as "needing more education" than other children of wealthier families. I have always thought my kids to be very smart. I am of Mexican orgin. Well, instead of getting upset about it, I have made the most out of my situation. I bought some programs off line and at the stores. I am teaching my daughter at home everyday. She likes it and tells others that she has school at home and mommy is her teacher. I get to see her progress everyday and it is great to be a part of her learning. We completed her Pre-K programs and now I am teaching her Kindergarten so she can be ready and ahead of the other kids once she starts Kindergarten.

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Hi, R.. I wondered if you recovered from some of the comments yet. I understand where you are coming from. I feel that if the program is going to be offered to some children for free, then all children in that age range should be able to attend. We do pay plenty of tax dollars for the schools to hire a few more Pre-K teachers, right? It's not a matter of parents wanting free child care. It's parents caring about their children's education. The "whinning" comment was unnecessary. This website is supposed to be helpful, not hurtful. You are simply a parent feeling discriminated against and you have the right to voice your opinion. Sorry for those who made nasty comments. I think you are absolutley right to be upset. Best of Luck!

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Pre-k is not mandatory in the state of Texas. It is for low income families because it is believed that they have a lower chance at a good education. They want them to be at the same level of education as child that comes from a wealthy family once the children are in Kindergarten. When I was a single mother, I qualified for Pre-K. My child attended for the first half of the year. Then I remarried and all of the sudden I had to pay $250 a month. I did not think that it was fair. My husband has a good job, but once you add up all the expenses, it doesn't leave room for much. Just the same I do not think it is fair that children of lower income families are classified as "needing more education" than other children of wealthier families. I have always thought my kids to be very smart. I am of Mexican orgin. Well, instead of getting upset about it, I have made the most out of my situation. I bought some programs off line and at the stores. I am teaching my daughter at home everyday. She likes it and tells others that she has school at home and mommy is her teacher. I get to see her progress everyday and it is great to be a part of her learning. We completed her Pre-K programs and now I am teaching her Kindergarten so she can be ready and ahead of the other kids once she starts Kindergarten.

R.:

I'm sorry that you rec'd such judgemental replies to your post ; ( Sometimes it seems that people don't read the whole post and just start firing off their opinions without asking more questions. I'd like to believe that this forum is place where we can safely share our thoughts, seek advice, give advice, etc. but I've noticed more and more reflex responses like the ones you had.
I understand where you're coming from and I'll be interested in hearing what happens when you meet with the board.
I'd be dissapointed too if they told me everything was all set and I had already discussed the new situation w/ my child.
Hang in there!

S.

Hmmm, I just wanted to debunk your belief! In my household, we are bilingual! My husband is from Colombia, and I am from here. My son has ADHD, a disablity. We live in Plano and still had to pay for pre-school. It is a non-issue. I understand you may be upset, but you should not judge! The rules are the rules, and you have to follow them regardless of the color of your skin or the language you speak! Have you ever noticed that people who are racist always begin derogatory comments with, "I am not racist, but.....". Just something to think about.....Good luck with your issue.

I am with Sara on this one ... be grateful for what you have, and pay for pre-school if it is necessary for your child to attend.

I also agree that we should allow these privledges to those that are less fortunate. It is not discrimination ... it is showing compassion, and knowing that it is about ALL kids, not just our own. They're ALL our future.

To be honest, I would have never expected for pre-school to be free for middle class families.

Since you are a sahm why not Home School. they will get a much better education, and you can still have them interact with others. They will learn more than they do in public school. In the last 4yrs I have homeschooled my son and my daughter graduated from homeschooling 8yrs ago. There is a wealth of info out there and since you are home anyway how wonderful it would be to teach your own kids and know what they are learning instead of haveing to cram for the TAKS tests and such. just a thought. I never knew you had to qualify for pre-k thats sad. oh and my son is in High school now and it's going good, he's learning more than he would in public school.

Hi R....
I do not want to deny your frustration in any way, I just want you to understand that it is not all PISD's fault. I have worked in PISD for the last 9 years as a bilingual and ESL (English as a second language) teacher. The reason that it is free for some and not others is a funding problem. Students that speak other languages or have special needs recieve extra funds both from the state and federal resources. PISD looses millions to "R. Hood" every year. What we really need to do is write to our legislators. Not that any of this helps, I just hope it gives you a bigger picture of what is happening. I remember feeling the same frustration for myself when I was trying to find college scholarships!

R.,
I am surprised at the kind of responses you received. I would assume most of these people do not live on the East side of Plano. I have had kids in the Plano schools for the last 9 years. My daughter now attends kindergarten when my 14 year old went. The school has gone down hill. You can complain and talk to the school officials and board until you are blue in the face, but Plano money is NOT allocated evenly. West, Murphy then East. In fact my daughters school has more programs and benefits for the non English speaking kids, then the English speaking ones. Even the teacher/student ratio differs.

With the preschool, non English children and children with disabilites do go for free. Though that ratio is surprising as well. Most non paying students are non English speaking, at least here where I live. Plus they get free transportation. If you pay for them to go, you have to provide transporation.

My son is with ITIP going through speech. WE will have to go through interviewing and testing to see if he can go through speech with the school system starting in August since he will be 3. Our current speech teacher told me that qualifing for speech through preschool in Plano is alot harder then it is in some of the other area. Even though if he qualifies it would be free, I am still looking into other options.

I honestly would recommend looking into some other preschools in the area. They actually have better hours and are alot cheaper then the PISD program. There are several in Plano that are great. I would look into them now so you can go and tour the school while they are open and compare them.

As for your feelings on the income quidelines across the board, I completely agree with you. We struggle to raise a family of 6 on one income and it is not easy, not at all. We do end up seeig kids who eat free lunch and their parents drive nice new cars that are priced way over our heads. Then again, maybe it's just that we try to live within our means.

Hang inthere and don't let the negative responses get to you. Do what is best for your family. I do highly recommend you look into some other programs. There are some pricey and non pricey preschools. Check them all out.

Good luck.

I had the same issues with Garland. My daughter had to speak spanish or have an learning disability in order to attend pre-k. The question of money never came up. I had to put her in private school so she can attend pre-k. Every child has the right to attend school no matter what!! I felt very discriminated aganist also. I had to pay for my child's education, I believe that our children have a right to attend public school, no questions asked!! That is what our tax money is for. She went to private school for pre-k, and kindergarden. Now she is in 2nd grade in public school in Plano. The only way we got around is putting my daughter in private school. It was an uphill battle to get her in pre-k. I also tried to get her in headstart also. I am a single mom who works 40+ hours a week. In order to do that, they told me that I made to much and I needed to be on welfare. I do have pride and my parents raised me better then that.
That was my experience with that.

I'd like to know what is wrong with some of you people? The poor woman was just asking a question and for some advice, she didn't deserve to have her bead bitten off!

R., I also understand your frustration. We live in the CFBISD and they have the same rules - no pre-k if you make above $X or don't speak English, so we never even tried getting our kids in. It's extremely frustrating, for all sorts of reasons that I won't go into because it will probably start something. But for everyone who said that we pay taxes and can't even get this for our kids, they are exactly right. I don't have any suggestions, but I do feel for you, and I do underestand what you're going through. I hope the rude and unnecessary comments you received won't deter you from continuing to seek advice from others.

R., I hate to sound inconsiderate but I don't really understand what you are complaining about. You are whining that it is not fair that your kid cannot go to school for free!!! Yeah, of course they cannot! It bothers you that because you and your family do not speak a different language you have to pay. I have one question. Why is it that you do not speak another language? Is it because it is hard to learn? Well, the answer is yes. These children do need to work harder at school just to communicate and sending them to school a year earlier than everyone else is beneficial! Would you like to be considered a low income family just to get free pre-k? No, of course not. Then you would not have access to your computer to vent on forums like this. Yes, the majority of the people in this group are going to side with you. We all have access to computers and the internet, which means most of us are middle class. However, there are some of us that are sympathetic to those less fortunate than us. You have the good fortune of staying home with your children and still being considered middle class. You are not being discriminated against. The school recognizes that there is nothing hindering your child's education and they should do fine in a regular kidergarten setting. You should be happy about that. I also live in Plano and actually paid to send my daughter to pre-k through the school system. She was so much more advanced than most of the kids I ended up pulling her out. The teacher told me it was not benefitting her at all since they were going over colors and things she already knew. I know that when she went there were atleast two kids that were still in diapers at the age of four. So, quit griping and trying to get around the system! Be happy that you have a healthy child and use your resources to school her yourself until next year.
I dont mean to offend anyone or sound self-righteous but it annoys me when people aren't greatful for what they have or just don't realize what they have.

As the wife of a firefighter/paramedic I know the pay isn't much. I'm surprised she didn't qualify. Have you considered enrolling her in a Mother's Day Out? Contact Rita at Murphy Road Baptist Church to see if she still has openings. ###-###-#### ext. 101.

R.,
Whew! You sure did hit a hot spot. I have one more suggestion that I didn't quite see. You might want to ask if you can go observe in the preschool setting in which you are trying to place your daughter. I do not know about Texas public preschool because I am new here, but in Louisiana the children who qualified were behind in their speech, academics, or emotional/behavioral growth. You metioned that your daughter was bright but needed socialization and it could be that this would not be the best place for her to get it. If all children were allowed into the program she might have the role models she needs, but since they are not (unless they pay)this program might not meet her needs. You might find a better program for her in a paid preschool setting and perhaps even some scholarship help there.
I do not at all mean to assume anything negative about the children in the preschool program. I researched it extensively in Louisiana for my daughter who had health issues but was also denied due to income and lack of a diagnosed special need. I placed her in an inclusive nursery school for special needs and typical children and she had her first healthy year since she was born. I did have to pay, but it was the best program for her.
I know this doesn't address your frustration of how children are selected for the program, but it could be that it is not the best spot for her anyway.
Good luck!
L.

R.,
I totally understand...I have the same concerns with my daughter. She is only two and a half right now, but I am always thinking of her future. I was discussing this same issue with my sister the other day and she explained to me that my daughter wouldn't be able to attend preschool because we make too much money and that I'd have to pay unless she had a speech problem or learning disability! I was so upset-I don't think that is fair to my daughters education, but I bought a pre-school learning book so I can teach her at home. Private schools cost too much for me to pay and my daughter is extremely bright, so that leaves her education up to me until she is 5. Good luck with your situation, and God Bless.

We too are middle class. My children's education means the world to me. So When my daughter was 18 months and I could not afford to send her to a mother's day out I asked if they were hiring. I work two days a weeks from 8:30-2:30. So instead of paying $500 for 2 kids they pay me :) Now that I have three it is a little larder juggling schedules. My husband said I didn't need to work nexy year if I didn't want to. I was so excited until he told me my son could go . He has one year left before kindguarten so I am going to work again so he can go. I feel it is very important for him. He also goes to the public school for speech class twice a week. Any way, you will find a way. Try to meet other moms in your neighborhood to get together with. Take him on "fieldtrips" and teach him. I hope the school board listens to you. Disabilities tends to be genetic. I have dyslexia. Hopefully they will want to help your child before she gets gets to K. Good luck!

R.,
You are right that this is a hot topic. I think that there is some great advice mixed in with some hurtful comments. As one woman commented, maybe you could volunteer in a Mom's Day Out or work 2-3 mornings a week to cover childcare/pre-k. It sounds like she could get a better experience somewhere else than the PISD pre-k. I would also recommend a play group instead- something for her to interact just one day a week (which really helped with my daughter when she was young- and I was not a SAHM, we just took her on my day off.)
Not only did I have to pay for all education prior to Kindergarten, my daughter's birthday had her starting Kindergarten just before her 6th birthday- so we had to educate her for one additional year and she was so far ahead of her class once she started Kindergarten.
As some others have also commented, Pre-k is not a right that we are owed. It is intended to make the long-term education of all students less-burdened by children who need special help.
I am sorry for your frustration and for any misunderstandings people had about your situation. Understand that others also have situations that you cannot imagine. We all have to make sacrifices and take responsibilty for our decision to have children.

Ms R.,

That is the most absurd thing I've heard. It does sadden me that this country is more willing to help others rather than it's own. They should be willing to help everyone out in the same matter. To get off the soapbox, I do have a suggestion...maybe send your daughter to a private pre-K prgram. My son is only 2yrs old so I haven't had to deal with pre-k yet,but he does attend a Primrose School and I know they have a fabulous pre-k program. I'm not sure the cost issue for that program..but if you are going to have to pay, you might as well get the most for your money. Good luck.

:) N.

My son is three and goes to preschool for having speech delay. I am very happy that he has this oppourtunity to go and I glad that he is with other children who have similiar struggles. I don't think it is a matter of you being discriminated against. I can understand your feelings of deing upset about this but at the same time, be thankful that your daughter can actually converse back and forth with you and communicate her needs and wants. And that she doesn't have any learning disablities.

R.,

You could likely teach your daughter all she needs to learn at home, especially if the environment she would be in is ESL. An hour of one-on-one time a day will get her ready in kindergarten in no time.

I understand your frustration, and I don't think the issue is 'another language'. The issue is the frustration of knowing that taxpayer dollars go toward educating illegals. NOT that every non-English speaking immigrant is illegal, but statistics show that a significant portion of the non-English speaking population are. And for those of you asking about speaking other languages, I speak Spanish and French fluently, Italian fairly, and can get my way around German without offending anyone. :)

Personally, I think that preschool should be a sliding scale, but that everyone should pay something. I don't think a free ride ultimately helps anyone, but creates laziness and dependence upon government.

Can't say that I can help, but I feel for you. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have been discriminated against for being white and/or middle income. I truly do respect that some people need some extra help, but it certainly doesn't seem fair a lot of the time. I am still struggling to pay off college loans where several of my friends had school paid for because of nonacademic reasons. Good luck, and like the other person mentioned, try to look at the bright side - that your daughter is free from disabilities. That's something I wouldn't trade for the world.

R.,
You have every right to be upset and I would feel the same way as you if I were in your shoes. PLEASE IGNORE those rude and unhelpful coments like the one from Gladys. If someone doesn't have anything helpful or kind to say to you, they really need to just not respond at all. I am so sorry. Good luck with everything.

I think plenty of people have commented on this, but I have to respond to Sara's inconsiderate note just to make a quick point. First off Sara, you are obviously assuming that bc she lives in Plano (where there are crappy apartments as well as big ugly houses by the way) that she is "middle class". You are obviously oblivious to the income of firefighters and paramedics. It is low, ok? For a family of four to live on $40-$45K/year, that's not middle class. You also don't know what kind of bills they have...medical, etc...whether they are helping pay for a nursing home for a parent, etc...so perhaps you should stop judging people before you know them. Second, pre-school SHOULD BE FREE. Yes, I said it. It is Plano INDEPENDENT School District right? A "public" school system where people's tax dollars are supposed to pay for their kids education? Why do they charge for Pre-K but it's free for 1st graders? Is it not important for kids to get a good start on education? If it is free for 1st graders, it ought to be free for all. Otherwise, don't offer it to ANYONE. I was born here, but I am obviously not caucauasian. Yet I find it absurd that it is only those that speak another language that can attend for free. Mind you...$2500 for 10 months of school is not a ton of money...we pay $800/month for our 2 1/2 year old's school. BUT it's a private school. People live in Plano to make good use of the system. Here, it is failing them. Thanks to the crappy education system and Mr. Bush's "no child left behind" program that is most obviously not working. There, I said my peace. R. has a valid concern...pay taxes, you should be able to send your kid to public school for free. I bet Highland Park doesn't charge their residents for a public education...

You know I agree with all of what you said. it is terrible that anyone can get more help being illigal that a usa citizen. It is very irritating and believe me there would be no way we could go to any foriegn non english speaking country and get anything or any kind off assistance and espically have things made to cater to us instead of them.
I have mexi in me, my grandmother is mexi but she came and became legal and learned english and taught her kids english , which is my mom and aunts. and all my family on her side is mexi and some dont know english but dont live here. I also have irish , indian and blk so i am far from prej. I also have biracial children.
I have decided to put on their papers that they are mexi just so they can have the things they deserve or may need as far as school is concerned. They may not be 100% but its in there blood and if thats what I got to do to get them what they need in school and to not be descriminated against in their own country then thats what I did........
It is bad that we have to try to do things such as this to have hope for our kids to not be left behind or be put aside. I wish you luck. I wish the laws would change and make all have to be legal and it be the law that english be the mandatory language. Pretty soon you wont be able to find wrk unless you speak spanish and even now you cant go someplaces where they even speak english at all.

Wowwwww! There some hot heads out there about this one. I am a public school educator and I do understand what you are talking about. It is state law that public pre-k be for disabled, bilingual, and poor children only--not just Plano law. It's like that everywhere. I get a little hot under the collar about this too sometimes but I have learned to make the system work for me. I called around town looking for Head Start programs that would accept my child. I knew I made too much money to qualify, but Head Start is a good program and I wanted my child in it... FOR FREE. So, an employee of Head Start told me that they have to accept so many children a year with disabilities regardless of income. My child is severely far-sighted and has to wear glasses. Without them, she's powerless...so what's that? A DISABILITY. Whenever the system gives me lemons, I make lemonade. If you want change, you must fight for it. If you don't have the time or energy to fight, find a way to make the system work in your favor. Your concern is a genuine one and you should ask questions when it comes to your child. However, there will always be programs available to minorities, disabled, and ecomonically challenged people that others just won't qualify for and these programs are needed. If there was no need for them, they wouldn't exist. Good luck!

PS--A note to you and anyone else with speech impaired children:
If your child has a severe speech delay/problem, they are able to receive speech therapy through the public school system as earlier as 3 years of age. Please call the local school district if you have this concern, even if you homeschool or plan to homeschool.

Unfortunatly your right, but until enough people stand up and say enough, there is probably nothing you can do about it. Good luck to you.

R.,
I totally agree with you! I felt the same way when I realized my son wouldn't be able to go to Pre-K. It is not fair that people of other countries can come here and get the school for free, yet we would have to pay for it! (No, I'm not racist, I'm marrying a Pakistani) It's our tax dollars too! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only that is irked by it!

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