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Paper Blogging & the Circle of Life

My wife brought the mail into today and much to my surprise, I received a "blog comment" on a real post card (that's a paper missive for the younger set).  The comment was a follow up on a "posting" I did in our local newspaper the Des Moines Register.  I responded to an editorial board opinion piece titled, "Pave Way For Preschool For All Iowa Children. The editorial board's penchant for spending my money seems never ending but I digress.

The crux of the story is the following non exaggeration.  Iowa needs to pay for preschool for everyone and for daycare before and after because it's a proven concept that preschool educated kids do better.

This idea is flat out wrong and I wrote the newspaper with my comments.  Here they are below and (linked)

The magic money tree must have sprouted here in Des Moines with all of the warm weather. At least that's the feeling I get when reading your gushing editorial about providing preschool and "wraparound child care" to everyone.

The piece builds from a "widely understood" truth that odds of future success are improved by attending preschool. I've seen plenty of alternative opinions that show unstructured play time being equally important to early development.

Now on top of paying yet more money for this option, you're calling for pre-preschool and post-preschool daycare funding! Let me clarify this concept to your readership: You'd like to outsource the management of children from early morning to evening with our tax dollars.

All of the statistics in the world cannot defeat common sense. Send your kids to preschool if you want to and can afford to, but please don't ask the general populous to provide nanny services at our expense. What a novel concept personal responsibility has become.

- Doug Mitchell,


My commentary was received very positively by an Iowa reader near Sioux City Iowa.  I'll call her Mrs. W.  Mrs. W said the following in her post card sent to me:

Thanks for your thoughtful letter in Wednesday's Register.  I taught kindergarten a couple of years (after mothering my own 3 past that stage) and learned the "common sense" advice - that children should not be pushed at that age.  They just need time to mature & at different rates.  You are correct:  "unstructured play time is equally important to early development."  Do continue to share your wisdom:

Mrs. W.

That word:  Wisdom made me feel pretty darn good Mrs. W.

I emailed a newspaper after reading a piece of printed paper.  My comments were read on paper and a postcard comment was submitted back to me.  Now I'm blogging on a paper comment and the circle is complete.  Now I'll follow up and send this printed post back to her.  The only piece missing was telepathy.  Blogs are just an extension of the conversation and I hope you'll join in like Mrs. W. did.

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