Skip to comments.Why We Donít Need Universal Preschool
Posted on 03/15/2013 5:39:04 AM PDT by IbJensen
In his State of the Union address, President Obama said he wanted to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.
So Heritage experts took a look at the Presidents plan to see if it would actually help Americas needy children get ahead in the race of life.
Another government-controlled, top-down, one-size-fits-all programwhat could go wrong?
Look at the governments record. As Heritages Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education, and research associate Rachel Sheffield point out in their new paper, Washington already has a poor track record for K12 education, with federal spending nearly tripling over the past three decades while academic achievement and attainment languishes.
Look at the government preschool we already have. There are already 45 government preschool programs run by numerous federal agencies, including the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, the Interior, and Housing and Urban Development. Burke and Sheffield note that these 45 programs are estimated to cost taxpayers more than $20 billion annually. Many are duplicative and ineffective, failing to serve the needs of children from low-income families.
Head Start, of course, has already shown us the ways government preschool can fail American children:
After nearly 50 years of operation, the federal Head Start program has failed to improve the educational outcomes and kindergarten readiness of participating children. Head Start should be eliminated, or at the very least it should be reformed, to allow states the flexibility to make their Head Start funds portable, allowing families to use their dollars to send their children to a private preschool of their choice.
The Presidents new proposal wouldnt help low-income children. Low-income families already have access to taxpayer-funded preschool through state programs and Head Start (which, if it continues to be funded, should be reformed to serve them better). President Obamas proposal would subsidize middle-income and upper-income familieswith no new benefit to low-income parents.
Three-quarters of four-year-olds are already in preschool. Many parents prefer to care for their young children at home. But for those who want preschool programs, there are a variety of programs available. There is no public demand for new, large-scale government spending in this area. Burke and Sheffield report that An estimated 74 percent of four-year-old children are enrolled in preschool, public and private, across the country.
Look at the academic evidence. Do these formal preschool programs really help kids in their academic careers? Our authors write: Evaluations of preschool programs consistently find that any gains children make as a result of preschool quickly fade away in their early elementary years. The Obama administration turns to a 50-year-old evaluation of a high-intervention preschool program with 58 at-risk children to make his case for taxpayer-funded, universal preschool. That means President Obama is making what researcher Russ Whitehurst calls a prodigious leap of faith. The outcomes of that program, known as the Perry Preschool Project, have never been replicated.
It is far more likely that the Presidents proposal will produce outcomes akin to Head Start, which, according to the scientifically rigorous evaluations conducted by Health and Human Services, are abysmal.
Everyone wants children to have the best start in life. Large-scale government preschool programs are not the way to ensure that happens.
I smell a socialist.
Yes, smartarse (much better than Yardbird). I’m not an English major, but I am a PhD.
jump back! whoa there! PhD!
Wrong, the heavenly aroma you detect is an orthodox Catholic, never a socialist. I do have compassion for the misled and uneducated like this poor Kiki kid. Do you really think any kid, upon realizing his parents are worthless dregs, is pleased with that knowledge?
Anyone who advocates for state-sponsored universal childcare is a socialist.
kids want to be with their parents in many cases. It is a horrible situation. When the kids are removed it is not pretty, they are screaming and crying and so are their parents, it is done by force. It is ugly.
Kids want to be with their abusers too. but doesnt mean they should. Parents who dont parent are abusers and neglectful.
Hilter did the same thing in Germany, even creating babies on the assembly line, and indoctrinating each to be a good Nazi ready to die for the Fatherland.
Kids in this situaion need to be placed in orphanages....
The goal is birth through age 22. Every last escape route must be closed.
This is why the Left constantly pushes for "free" college, pre-school and daycare.
They want it all. And parents have complied. Overwhelmingly.
Of course, they want to be with their parents — no matter how abusive the parents are — so, yes, they will cry and scream. But sometimes we must do things for children for their own good.
State-sponsored childcare “crowds out” private child care, such as church-based childcare. When government power goes up, the influence of religion goes down.
You’ve summed it up brilliantly, apillar. When I was a kid, kindergarten was optional. That changed to mandatory and became a half day. That changed to mandatory full day. I said then that pre-school would become mandatory... half day at first until it is a full day. After that, nursery school will come next.
I will say this and I don’t care if I get flamed or not. I am sick and tired of more social programs for “the children”. Everything is for the children. Take guns away FOR THE CHILDREN, more welfare FOR THE CHILDREN, more WIC, free housing, school supplies FOR THE CHILDREN. It is such bull. It has nothing to do “for the children” at all... it is simply a way to control. If a parent(s) of limited income really wanted to help their child.. it’s easy. It is called getting off your butt and doing it yourself. How hard is it to teach colors, numbers, how to write your name. It would take less than a half an hour a day but no... we need big government, teacher unions and another person (i.e. us) paying for it.
Do I feel sorry for little kids born to rotten parents? Of course I do. However, the government wants all kids.. not just the “poor” ones. They want them all indoctrinated.. not just the poor ones.
HA, HA, HA! I don't care who you are. That's funny.
(From a guy with a master's in English ;-) )
Then the next step is to make it compulsory....
Bingo! Yes, you are right. They want control of the children so that they can indoctrinate them.
You are right in all that you say except your reference to the time frame. I remember attending a talk in the 1970s — long before I ever had the misfortune to lay eyes upon Bill Clinton — which was part of a gathering of educators focused on preschool education.
I left long before it was over but not before I heard some ninny on the stage gushing on about the goal of getting the little ones at birth. She was quite serious. It was frightening.
I am an English major
So you are still in school and on a learner’s permit for punctuation usage?
My daughter is almost 4. I realize when I take her out in public that she’s one of the biggest kids I see around any more. It makes me sad. She learns so much from me.
I want my kids to have the best finish in life. I once looked at counties with the earliest mandatory child education. Those countries also had the highest teen suicide rates.
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