Phillips named to First Five Commission

Mister_Phillips-uncroppedMister Phillips has been named by the County Supervisors as a member of the Contra Costa First Five Commission, representing County District I, that includes Richmond, Pinole, and Hercules. He previously had served as alternate for the District. An outcome of Proposition 10 passed in 1998, that targeted tobacco sales for tax revenues, the First 5 Contra Costa has distributed over $90 million in the last decade to help children grow up healthy, nurtured, and prepared for school.

Mister Phillips is an attorney, member of the Contra Costa County Democratic Central Committee and the Democratic State Central Committee, a deacon, and Rotary club president. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and AmeriCorps. He is a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco State University, Solano Community College, and The Washington Center for Academic Internships and Seminars. A fourth generation resident of West Contra Costa, Mister lives in Richmond, with his wife, Angela, and daughter.

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15 thoughts on “Phillips named to First Five Commission”

  1. not to nitpick, but I think you mean koolaid stand.

    Good sleuthing Tom and I have to think you are onto something here. I wonder what the actual announcement date will be on the apparent “retirement”.

    Let me pretend a minute: I am sure there will be a nice big press release. It will of course say something like: “the Commission thanks Sean Casey for all his tireless work to advance the cause of children’s development in the county (cough, cough)”. . . blah blah blah . . .

    Mr. Casey looks about old enough to take what I am sure will be about a $50K pension for perhaps only a little more than about 10 years of doing little more than handing out tax dollars (other than basically hiding the impact of lead toys for most of that time period). IMHO, there is so much we can be proud of in this country, but this guy getting a pension is not one of them.

    He’s young enough of course, to double dip with a pension and another cushy foundation job, I’d imagine, perhaps with the Longs Foundation. Oh how lucky those former 0 to 5 year olds will be to support this guy in their adulthoods. What a country!

  2. I heard they got rid of the Executive Director Sean Casey. Seems like hiding lead in toys was not all he was up to.

    1. Thanks for alerting me to check this out. I was appalled at the lead story. Since that broke, it’s been amusing to read through their minutes. It seems there has always been a party thrown with Sean Casey’s contract is renewed, certainly they call it out with gusto.

      Maybe last year’s no raise was really something else given that the guy must have been working without a contract extension here for some time. Like all public contracts, public employee contracts have to be renewed yearly. I just read all the minutes over the past 6 months, and they have been dragging their feet on “public employee evaluation”.

      The last time they had it on the agenda, the minutes said that “there is nothing new to report”. I believe that was December. Next thing you know, they are having a “potential lawsuit” conference over AB 197, which is how employee pensions are calculated when someone “retires”.

      Should this all add up to the booting of Mr. Casey, good on you Ms. Mitchoff and co. – it’s about time someone was held accountable over at that lemonade stand.

  3. As a member of the First Five Commission, it is important that you are knowledgeable and able to give parents accurate information. Your assumption that K-3rd grade students are not being challenged is inaccurate. In fact, as Patricia stated, home support is a major factor. Many parents return to work (full time) once their child is old enough to enter Kindergarten. The state of our economy commands both parents out of the home, and into full time positions. When the home support diminishes, deficiencies are bound to appear. We should encourage parents to strive to continue supporting their child’s education, even when work calls. You now have a responsibility to be knowledgeable and relay vital information to families that need it the most. Do better.

  4. New evidence from Oklahoma and Georgia – which adopted universal preschool in the 1990s – shows such programs have no lasting positive effects.

    [Some} claim “that universal preschool will help American students perform at grade level, graduate high school and hold a job. Evidence from Oklahoma and Georgia, two states that adopted universal preschool in the 1990s, suggests that Obama’s plan to expand preschool would have few meaningful effects . . . Though the programs have been implemented for more than 15 years, neither state has witnessed any major social benefits. Students from the first year of each program have now graduated from high school . . . Before adopting universal preschool, black students in Georgia and Oklahoma were above the national average in fourth grade math and reading for black student. Now Georgia and Oklahoma’s scores are at the national average . . . Georgia and Oklahoma’s performance creates considerable doubt that universal preschool on the federal level would have . . . positive effects.”

    Read more here:

  5. Mister Phillips, thank you for being willing to serve the community.

    But, we disagree on your conclusion about why students coming out of preschool programs such as Head Start do not compete as well as they progress throughout their public school careers.

    You said:

    “If these gains diminish by the end of third grade, I suspect that is because students who attended preschool are not being challenged in K-3.”

    Your conclusion is that the students who attended preschool are not being challenged.

    However, what I believe is significant by the third grade is that students have clearly learned to read or not. And, the ability to read and the ability to do well in school in later years is, I believe, highly correlated. The point of the article to which Wendy linked originally was that many disadvantaged students who come from Head Start programs are not read to in the home to the degree of other students. Students who are not read to at home do not read as well, or as early, as students who are read to at home. This is not an issue of challenging students in K-3 grades.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I did not say that students who attend preschool “do not compete as well as they progress throughout their public school careers.” Nevertheless, I agree with you that parental involvement is a very important part of school readiness and student achievement. Thank you again for your comment.

  6. An October 2012 U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services study states: “There were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices. The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children . . . Similar conclusions about the size and lack of persistence of early impacts were reported in a recent broader meta-analysis of early childhood interventions.”

    This is only the latest study that demonstrates the transitory effects of early childhood education. “We all adore science — right up until the moment it tells us something we do not wish to hear.”

    See article and link to HHS study entitled “Third Grade Follow-Up to the Head Start Impact Study” at:

    1. Quality preschool is a sound investment. Studies show that students who attended preschool are better prepared for school. If these gains diminish by the end of third grade, I suspect that is because students who attended preschool are not being challenged in K-3.

    2. Mister Phillips:

      The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services begs to differ with you about what “studies show.”

      Lacking any long-term benefit from early childhood ed, there is no basis for continuing programs such as Head Start — except for political reasons.

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