Pivot to Preschool

Pivot to Preschool
November 13, 2013

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)

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


School Choice Roundup

  • 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.
  • 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.

Common Core Watch

Education Today

  • 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.

Thank you for reading! If you need a quicker fix of news about school choice, you can find daily updates online under the Ed News Roundup at http://news.heartland.org/education.

We’re starting to plan in earnest for our 2014 education projects. If you’d like Heartland Institute Research Fellow Joy Pullmann to “keep up the good work ” on education issues, please consider making a contribution today!

Joy writes this e-newsletter, is managing editor of School Reform News, AND is available for speaking engagements on Common Core and other education topics. For more information, contact heartland Events Manager Nikki Comerford at 312/377-4000, email ncomerford@heartland.org.

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)