Pivot to Preschool
School Choice Weekly, Issue #16
Democrats will soon introduce legislation to expand federal preschool in response to President Barack Obama’s call in his 2013 State of the Union address. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof heralded the idea in his most recent column, hoping Republicans would compromise with Democrats to create yet another national entitlement program.
That’s a bad idea. Here’s why:
Who in his right mind would pay $180 billion so thousands of children could read slightly better for two years and have more emotional problems and worse math skills? Yet Obama and Co. continue to insist federal preschool will benefit children despite all the evidence it has been a massive waste of tax dollars our nation has never been able to afford. …The evidence simply isn’t there, and until it is, not just Republicans but every single American should look askance at demands we indebt our children further to create programs that prostitute their images.
But the real problems with government preschool programs go deeper.
Any discussion of preschool must be held in its context, which means demanding an end for government programs enabling those who bear children out of wedlock and discriminating against those who marry. Conservatives should respond with a holistic approach that reduces the need for government intervention in the future, rather than accepting and thus encouraging parent and community abdication. This means talking about why so many children get to age five having never heard the ABCs.
If there is to be government preschool, it should be targeted to children whose parents will not take advantage of the free libraries dotting this nation that provide books, play activities, and good advice for ending the literacy gap with just 20 minutes of reading a day. It should also not be run through the federal government using a Medicaid-like dollar-matching scheme, since that gives impetus for states to spend more, blindly, and the federal government has proven itself an incompetent administrator of preschool programs. It should be targeted to very young children who need extra help, not introduced as yet another politically advantageous entitlement that accelerates bankruptcy for the brokest nation in history.
SOURCE: The Federalist
IN THIS ISSUE:
- ARIZONA: Another school district floats the idea of running a local voucher program. Douglas County, Colorado was the first district to attempt its own voucher program, which is now tied up in court. After an election victory, DougCo’s market-based ideas are getting more traction.
- TENNESSEE: Voucher advocates gear up for 2014. They’re hoping to avoid a conservative split between those who want a significant voucher program and those who want a small one. That doomed the idea in 2013.
- MISSOURI: Missourians are gathering signatures to put a school-choice proposal on the November 2014 ballot. If they succeed, the public can vote to authorize education tax credits worth 50 percent of charitable donations.
- SOUTH CAROLINA: Public support for school choice is growing, a poll finds. Residents support education tax credits or vouchers by a margin of 45 to 42 percent, an 18-point increase for the pro-choice side.
- EDTECH: Why Common Core tests are not innovative: They essentially do the same things on a computer kids could do on paper.
- CALIFORNIA: Half of school districts will not be ready for Common Core tests by next year, when they roll out, a new survey finds.
- MONTANA: Schools will skip state tests next year in favor of experimental Common Core tests that won’t produce accountability data. Montana is the first state to take advantage of the Obama administration’s offer in this regard.
- ACHIEVEMENT: National test scores on the Nation’s Report Card have inched upward, but approximately one-third of the nation’s children are considered proficient in reading and math.
- NATIONAL: Student achievement growth has slowed under President Obama as a direct result of his haphazard education policies, write Eric Hanushek and Paul Peterson.
- COLORADO: An inBloom-promoting superintendent resigns as her board votes unanimously to jettison the student data collection system. A storm of parent protests nationwide has reduced the nonprofit organization to operations in just one state from nine initially.
- COLORADO: Spending on non-essential programs is crowding out spending on classroom instruction. Now teachers make up less than half of school employees in Colorado, which is also the reality nationwide.
- INDIANA: A judge dismisses a lawsuit the state superintendent attempted to bring against her own board of education. Democrat Glenda Ritz must work with a majority-Republican legislature and board of education, which has meant sniping from all sides.
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