Munson takes on kindergarteners

April 10, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

We already know how Washington County Commissioner John Munson feels about public schools in general, so it really came as no surprise that he had a go at the kindergartners.

"All it is is a full-time baby-sitting service. You're baby-sitting so the parents can go to work."

President Bush thinks kids should go to kindergarten full time, but J-Mun thinks the current half day is too much. Kindergarten should be eliminated altogether, he said.

What an undercard this one is. Munson vs. the Toddlers. "Keep them home and enjoy them (don't kick them out when they're 4 years old").

Um. Enjoy a 4-year-old? That's an interesting theory. J-Mun is stepping on my own personal toes with this one. Everyone by now should know my idea about education. All children should be sent off to school when they're 2.


Boarding school.

Year 'round.

Preferably in Uzbekistan.

Bring them back home when they're marginally civilized, which generally doesn't happen until about age 24.

(We had an awkward experience over the weekend at a family barbecue involving a couple of unruly tots. Without going into too much detail, let's just say it is never wise to use the word "brats" unless you have the confidence that comes with knowing for certain that the baby monitor is not turned on and that the mother is not in the same room with the receiver. There was something of a coolness to the picnic after this episode).

J-Mun also saw fit to rank his priorities for the county, putting education below the sheriff's department and the highway department. But he apparently does place a higher priority on schools than he does the county dog pound. So there's that.

It's good he ranks the sheriff's office so high, since we will need a lot of extra deputies to lock up all the young people to whom Munson would happily provide a substandard education. Nothing like a little lack of schooling to land a kid in juvenile hall.

I do tend to agree with him, however, that it's a shame more parents can't stay home with their children. I assume then that Munson favors raising the minimum wage to about $25 an hour, since that's about what it would take for a single breadwinner to support a family of four without adding to the nation's poverty level.

Of course I didn't go to kindergarten, and I came out just - well, I came out, that's the point. I don't even know that we had kindergarten in Broccoli Springs back in the '60s.

I think there was some sort of program for pre-first graders that had a name like "Operation Bootstrap" and came with a pamphlet entitled "So You Think Your Child May Be Slow."

Upon entering first grade, I recall there was a sort of aura around these fellow classmates, because they already knew the rudimentary ropes of the educational institution.

They already knew how to fingerpaint and they knew not to get the bean soup on Fridays. But pretty soon it became apparent that phalangical goo and menu dodging were about the only skills they had over the rest of us and their power was quickly lost.

Kindergarten has come a long way since those days of cookies, milk and naps. I've seen a grown mother openly weeping because her 5-year-old daughter brought home a C in physics.

They actually teach the kids stuff, which is wondrous in itself. When I was 5 my attention span was set on "Hummingbird" and concentrating on anything other than space monsters for more than about 10 seconds was out of the question. Truly, it wasn't until I was a senior in high school that I had matured enough to fail algebra.

But back to the topic at hand, if we don't fund kindergarten, and we don't pay enough in salaries to allow for one working parent, what do we do with them? Perhaps J-Mun and I can facilitate the rebirth of the CCC Camps: Children's Conservation Corps. Have them put in a few dams. Builds character, you know.

Outside of that, the best suggestion may have come from Superintendent Beyyt Morgan, who said Munson "really needs to spend some time in kindergarten."

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

The Herald-Mail Articles