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Keeping Uncle Sam Away from Toddlers (IWF article)

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For once, I agree with “Independent Women’s Forum”

 

 

Brief #22 

IWF Policy Brief 

Cutting-edge analysis of the news of the day from the Independent Women’s Forum 

 June 11, 2009 

Keep Uncle Sam Away from Toddlers: 

The Case Against Government Funding for Preschool 

By Carrie Lukas 


 

Executive Summary 


The President has suggested that greater federal 

government support for early childhood education is an 

important component of improving educational 

opportunities in the United States and would be an 

investment in our human capital.  Yet there is little 

evidence to support the case for greater federal 

involvement in preschool. 


While policymakers assume that an investment in public 

preschool will lead to improved student outcomes, the 

research on the effects of preschool is far from 

conclusive.  Some studies have linked preschool 

attendance with short-term gains in student test scores 

and other education-related outcomes, but those 

improvements fade over time.  Additionally, most studies 

that have found significant gains associated with 

preschool have focused on lower-income or at-risk 

student populations.  There is no reason to think that such gains would also occur among the general 

student population, which is the target of most “universal” preschool proposals.  Still, other studies 

have linked increased time in preschool with negative social behavior, which would suggest that

encouraging greater use of preschool could contribute to as many problems as it solves


 

 LINK:

 http://www.iwf.org/files/ccd51591aa7467a111d9f4437830ea9c.pdf

This is better viewed as PDF than on here. 

 

However, as a reminder:

 

The words School, Education, and Learning are not synonymous, if you think about them.  

 

The attempt of the present (and past) administrations to equate the U.S. Public School Educational system with either Education, or Public, is linguistically and financially ridiculous.  

 

Language is not math.  For example, anyone declaring, openly, that

 

10+10 =/= 20

 

would probably not become President, Governor, or a U.S. Senator or Assemblyperson.  It lacks a certain credibility.  It creates a certain cognitive dissonance, until the missing data shows up,  such as, perhaps:

 

10(-15+5)+10=/=20

EVEN a US public school 4th grader PROBABLY (wish I could say this for sure) would recognize that something was amiss with that equation.  If they knew the symbol “=/=,” which is unlikely, come to think of it.  It is simply my intent — in this blog — to show some of the missing math behind the Linguistic Cognitive Dissonance of Government Proclamations that are getting people killed, or raped, or keeping them artificially on welfare.  This is NOT rocket science, it simply takes — like the best most effective kind of learning will — being highly motivated to know, and being willing to remove a few blinders and sunglasses that have made the glaring facts a little less difficult to handle.

 

Unfortunately, we have had Presidents (plural), and U.S. Senators AND Representatives (I haven’t checked all the “governors” yet) pronouncing a similar epidemic and supposed problem without substantial questioning of it — from the general public.  Now, that simply lacks credibility.  I posted, after Mother’s Day, the data that “fatherhood” was NOT woefully, federally underfunded in 2009, 2008, or at any identifiable time since about 1995.

 

 

 

There’s perhaps more than one reason it’s sad that “religion” (supposedly) was deleted from the public school system.  Now, as a person who has taken some serious hits — literally — under the guise of “wives submit” as from the Bible, I have seen its underbelly.  But there are SOME upsides to some of the wisdom in some of these holy writs of the major religions.  For example, how sad that all women about to engage in a sexual — let alone marital — relationship, didn’t understand this simplicity:

 

(I’ll give a version I have no respect for — it even comes across in this one):

 

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
A gullible person believes anything, but a sensible person watches his step.

Now, when nearly an entire nation is this gullible, on one of the FIRST places I would look is at the educational system.  

OR,
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
(end of “James 3,” King James Version)
There ARE few areas more full of strife, confusion, and “evil works” that the family law system, as testified to by the family annihilations of people in it, or about to go into it.  Unless NAMBLA is your cup of tea.  Now, the US is not just the Western hemisphere’s, but the WORLD’s largest (per capita) jailor.  The jails are so full that domestic violence offenders and sexual offenders are getting released to re-offend, and sometimes kill, too.  Every now and then, we throw an honest professional protesting the corruption in jail, too, just for good measure.  (Google “Richard Fine”) or disbarr them (Google Barry Goldstein).  Women, sometimes with their children, are fleeing to other countries for their children’s safety.  Others are not so lucky.  

So, a logical question would be, “what’s the strife  ABOUT” and the envy?
As a domestic violence survivor, I will clearly tell you, it was about CONTROL, and there were three primary tools and techniques (let alone the many subsidiary, supplemental ones):  1.  MONEY   2.  PHYSICAL FORCE (good initially to establish who’s the boss) 3. TIME (wasting mine).  The FIRST arena of control was to break down my infrastructure — credit, then bank account.  Oh, and transportation.
The physical assaults began when I was already somewhat dependent because of the care of one toddler and one inside me.  Parts of my body that were attacked included neck (most frequent), leg (to pull me off the chair), and face/mouth (covering mine, but also nipple, and right after nursing.  What KIND of person would do that?  I had the bone-chilling experience of hearing/reading the child that was assaulted in the womb later, much later, declare that she remembered being in it.  There are few things, short of foolishly getting myself killed (and leaving them without the protection, or a later reference for truth, when they are older and hungry for answers, of “what happened in our family line?”) that I would not do to protect, advocate for, and remove from danger these daughters.  
Any male, or gang of males that would institutionalize a policy stating that fathers — all fathers, with basically little discrimination — are important, and all female-headed households are the source of our nation’s woes, is forgetting or deliberately covering up this type of behavior, which I already witnessed, was justified itself on THAT type of talk.  

Look:  go up in public and try to categorize an ethnic group in the same terms, and see who elects you.  
Just as my ex, intent that his side of reality prevail, took my kids (illegally) and cut off all contact, lying before, during and after the process (this is documented, and not slander, I have the signed under penalty of perjury documents) and then continued to break every court order since, with brazen impunity, it seems very “odd” that our fatherhood friendly administration is so intent on getting these little children OUT of their parent’s homes and INTO hatcheries overseen (shall we expect the same level of competence?) by this same government.
There is also a reason that the family courts are continuing the process.  I think that therefore, addressing the issues of pre-school, zero to five, head start, and child care, are NOT really tangential to the issue of family court.   Continuing with another forgotten proverb:

 
OR, simply
“…For the love of money is the root of all evil…” 
In this blog, I link to search tools, challenge public proclamations about the state of affairs, and have all but begged people to “follow the money.”  I just showed you which:  Branch/Department, Operating Division of THAT department, and programs UNDER that department, some of this money is housed in.  I have posted charts and tables, slowing down the page-load speed, in an attempt to show you the Federal Parentheses transferring money from one group of people (producing RED ink) to another group of people, producing professional, publishing careers.   ~ ~ ~10(-15+5)+10=/=20 ~ ~
 
In this field, WHO — out of HOW MANY domestic violence prevention programs, even the most prominent ones, are actually “following the money?”  I learned – the hard way — to look at who is funding THOSE programs, as well as who is on their boards and management teams, and to notice linguistic changes over time.  Pronounce after me:  

“misogyny”

As to “every evil work,” if you don’t think raping, kidnapping, or killing little boys and girls –whether in school, or in the care of a recently parentally-educated father on a weekend visitation — or shortly after his wife attempted to leave him –is an “evil” work, then, well, I guess you should check out some other blogs that, in an “adult” manner, blame the entire CLASS (gender) of women for the world’s ills, while still taking advantages of their services in bed, in child care, and in the office, and possibly as household domestics.  
Or just go back to sleep mentally, and fork over your dollars to the IRS trusting that it will be well-used, and that if you duck YOUR family won’t be affected.  Note:  the sleep thing can be done at work, sometimes, school (trust me, I did, and still came out in top 3% of my (public school) class), and in a variety of faith-based institutions, MANY of which are driving government policy.
We are approximately half the world’s population; common sense says, there is some variety in each gender.  This is not true in Congress, though.  
What I’m CONCERNED about is that there may not be much more variety given the trend, in educational options for the up and coming generations.  They will not know how to have a stable bond with EITHER parent at this rate, and I have to ask why.  The real “gap” will not be gender but haves versus have-nots.  MY experience that the ONLY way to level the playing field, was homeschooling, and figuring out a more efficient way (we’re talking simple math:  + +  – – ) to make a living.  
It has been a VERY long time since I equated the monolithic public school system with anything approaching education, as opposed to indoctrination.  

What motivated me to find out WHY Family Court AND the child support system uniformly didn’t do their assigned and proclaimed jobs was being slapped in the face (while minding my own business) when they didn’t.  It bounced me out of work and back onto dependence. The LAST thing I wanted after leaving domestic violence, and the last lesson I wanted my smart children to absorb:  Sell your soul to the highest bidder, and cast your lot with whichever parent is NOT under prolonger, personal fire.  

 

Language is NOT math, yet it does have a FEW logical rules attached, for example as a thesaurus would show, NOT all nouns are synomymous.  

When the same President (and Administration) that tells us, an epidemic of fatherlessness just rained down from heaven, and female-headed households are doomed for disaster (Say, what?  Are you or are you NOT President?) because struggle and hard times (or emotions) were involved, now says that:

Education = Public School Education only

Head Start actually helps long-term

(and this same President has virtually deleted the concept of ‘motherhood” and the word “mother” from public dialogue)

(and the concept of “educational choice” as allowing charter schools (which are also government-funded) ignoring that “homeschooling” DOES exist (and many times works better), and other such propaganda,

 

Then we have not only a linguistic, but also a financial crisis in credibility.  We have a cognitive crisis becoming a mental health crisis. NOW, I have a question:  Who stands to profit from an ongoing source of cognitive dissonance? (let alone “high-conflict” divorces).  WHO is profiting from the womb-to-tomb, paid for by the people involved in it (and even others without children) cognitively dissonant proclamation that “Big Brother Knows Best” when it comes to “education.”  The more correct word is mass-indoctrination.

Sound analysis of ANY problem comes from looking at the history of it, and linguistics are a GREAT clue.

 

And as it relates to family court matters — mine — as a single mother, I did not have time to waste, and as a mother (period), I didn’t appreciate having my daughters’ education slowed down while fighting my ex (who did not graduate from college, and at the time was not even working steadily, nor had he an exactly stellar track record as to lawful lifestyle — see prior domestic violence) and a member of my family with whom he’d had a male-bonding moment (who had not himself had children, nor taught extensively as I had, nor for that matter, bothered to report, refer, intervene, or acknowledge that when I filed that restraining order with kickout, there was a collection of weapons in the home, often used to intimidate me out of Independent Woman actions (such as participating in music events without ex present), and talk of suicidality.  Which, incidentally, didn’t go away with the piece of paper.  

 

On the pronouncement that I “couldn’t” do what I at the time both had been, and was, I was forced (by a family law judge) BACK into a lifestyle that had already been tried, and found VERY wanting, by my household — not the person driving the situation, which was not even a parent and had no legal standing to do so.  When reminded of the “no legal standing” in a firm manner, I was then harrassed by mail repeatedly, and (being busy) was on the verge of taking legal action on this (simultaneously with attempting to renew a restraining order, which that mail in fact was enabling the father to break), only to find myself suddenly in a full-blown custody suit by the person who had attempted to offer his own daughters’ visitation time to this particular couple.  

 

I thus believe that the basic problem in some of these discussions is simply that of common literacy.  

 

The picture below is ONE usage of the word SCHOOL  

 

If you want to understand the public school educational system in this country, in a paradigm, look at this picture:

  

 

5-

 

 

ot.  

 

 

 

NOW:  You are the parents of a beautiful child, or several children.  You have to work a job (not own a business, learn to handle investments, inherited wealth, were raised in a Senator’s household, are not an attorney as is at least one prominent father’s rights advocate, Mr. Leving (very cozy with President Obama, and hailing from the same state), and because your job doesn’t pay too well, you and/or the partner (spouse) living with you, are going to MISS the most formative years and hours of your beautiful children’s upbringing.  Every day, someone else is going to be their “prime-time” trainer and values assigner, and you will get the leftover of YOUR day and of THEIR day to remediate, inculcate, supplement, or HUG them — hopefully.  YOu have been taught that this is how life is, and always will be.  It isn’t for everyone, but right now, it is for you, and people you associate with you.  

 

In the above picture, would you want your child to grow up to be a little fish in a pack of fish at the bottom of the food chain (almost), or would you want to teach him to be a shark (given only those two options?), and at least swim free for a while, and have some teeth, and respect.  Heck, even have a blockbuster movie named after you ‘Jaws.”

 

Would you want to toss the dice and hope the shark doesn’t get YOUR kid (or rely on prayer), but understand that part of the deal is, darting this way or that IF a shark comes near during school hours (and certain types of personalities ARE attracted to crowds of children, it’s true), while one of their classmates is eaten up instead?  

 

Would you want your child, for reasons of simple survival, to learn by example how to act like the shark and consider other human beings as part of his food chain (whereas, when it comes to humans, they ARE the same species, if not personalities).  

 

This shark was designed to use its teeth, and swim, act, and behave in certain manners.  PEOPLE do not have to.

 

Here’s another type of  No Child Left Behind behavior, named after a different animal:  Google (images for) “Goose-step.  Even the phrase “No Child Left Behind” indicates none are excelling (which is on many levels also a lie, as it only refers to this one system).  What a narcissistic mindset.  If the government doesn’t do it, it can’t be done, or doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t count.

 

FOLKS:

It’s not about “education” it’s about “Schooling.” 

 

http://johntaylorgatto.com/

(Primary book dates back to 1990, “Dumbing Us Down.”  Still true today).

 

AH WELL, Independent Women’s Forum is MUCH more moderate in its proclamations.  Perhaps they are all still married, or have not lost children in the mix somewhere. I’ll stop. . . . No more comments from me below (I think one short interjection, that’s all).  See the original site, above.

 

 

(BELOW HERE IS QUOTATION:)

 

 

  

“There is also reason for concern that greater government involvement  in preschool could actually reduce the quality of 

education available to  and received by many children, and discourage parents from enrolling children in programs that 

reflect their values.”  


Depending on how programs are structured, government preschool programs could encourage parents 

to switch from private preschool providers to subsidized public programs.  The often dismal record of 

our public school system in providing children with a quality education in kindergarten through 12th 

grade should caution policymakers about the potential quality of public programs for three- and four- 

year-olds.  


It’s also worth noting that there is nothing in the Constitution that would suggest that providing early 

educational opportunities {{LetsGetHonest comment:  or any other education…}} is a proper use of federal power. 

The care and education of children, 

particularly children as young as three and four, should the responsibility of parents, not Uncle Sam.   


Introduction 

Among President Obama’s campaign promises was to 

increase the federal government’s commitment to early 

childhood education.  Specifically, on their campaign 

website, candidates Obama and Biden describe their 

“Zero to Five Plan,” which would emphasize not only 

expanding educational opportunities to three- and four 

year-olds, who are typically not yet eligible for public 

kindergarten, but “early care and education for infants.”  

Specifically, President Obama pledged to create “Early 

Learning Challenge Grants” that would be given to 

states to support their efforts providing educational 

opportunities for those under age five and to help move 

states toward “voluntary, universal preschool.”1 


The President and Democratic Congress have already begun to expand federal government support for early learning initiatives.  The $787 billion economic 

stimulus package (officially entitled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) included more than $1 billion over two years for the federal Head Start program, which supports educational opportunities for three- and four-year-olds from low-income families, and $1.1 billion over two years for the Early 

Head Start program, which supports initiatives for infants, toddlers, and pregnant women.  Other money included in the stimulus package for education programs (such as funding for the Individual with Disabilities Education Act and Title I) will also be used by states to bolster early learning 

programs.2   (footnotes below)


Individual states are also increasingly creating programs to subsidize or provide preschool opportunities 

for parents.  For example, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Florida already offer universal preschool, and 

numerous other states (Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, South Carolina, Virginia, and West 

Virginia) have all considered proposals that would move in that direction.3   

 

  



Supporters of these programs believe they will better prepare young children for school, improve 

student’s education, and lead to better life outcomes.  For example, during a speech to the Hispanic 

Chamber of Commerce, President Obama argued:  

Studies show that children in early childhood education programs are more likely to score 

higher in reading and math, more likely to graduate from high school and attend college, more 

likely to hold a job, and more likely to earn more in that job. For every dollar we invest in these 

programs, we get nearly $10 back in reduced welfare rolls, fewer health care costs, and less 

crime.4



Yet as this policy brief highlights, policymakers shouldn’t assume that such results will come expanded 

government support of preschool, especially as government’s support expands beyond the low-income 

or “at risk” student population.    

Does Preschool Improve Student Outcomes? 

Those supporting increased government provision of preschool typically suggest that the money 

invested in such programs pays off by creating much larger benefits for individuals and society at large.  

They claim that high quality preschool programs lead to improved student outcomes and ultimately a 

more educated, productive workforce and expanded tax base.  Yet a balanced look at the available 

research on the effects of preschool should give policymakers pause.   

Most evaluations of preschool programs which are cited as evidence of their great potential benefits  

have analyzed programs that serve low-income children and those considered at risk of failing to thrive 

in traditional public school.  And even when studies are focused on disadvantaged populations, the 

research is far from a slam dunk in proving preschools’ long-term efficacy.  As Darcy Olsen, an 

education analyst and president of the Goldwater Institute, writes:   

Taken as a whole, a review of the research shows that some early interventions have had 

meaningful short-term effects on disadvantaged students’ cognitive ability, grade-level retention, 

and special education placement.  However, most research also indicates that the effects of early 

interventions disappear after children leave the programs.5 

The program that is most frequently touted as evidence of the great potential benefits of universal 

preschool is the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project.  And indeed, this study, which began in the 

1960s and has followed an experimental and control group for 40 years, has found meaningful benefits 

enjoyed by those who participated in the program on a range of outcomes, including high-school 

graduation rates, adult crime, and earnings.  Yet researchers caution against assuming that the impact of 

this program would be replicated by a universal preschool program serving the general population.  As 

education analysts from the Lexington Institute explain: 

It’s important to note that there were only 58 preschoolers in the experimental group (and 123 

in all, including the control group), and all were not only disadvantaged but deemed at risk for 

“retarded intellectual functioning and eventual school failure.”  They received one or two years 

 

  

“Several states have 

implemented aggressive 

preschool programs and 

there is little to suggest that 

it is paying off in terms of 

improving the states’ overall 

education climate.” 

of half-day preschool and home visitations.  This was certainly not a large or representative 

group, not even of the disadvantaged populations, and it is a real stretch to generalize results 

into a rationale for pouring billions of dollars into public pre-K for all, including the children of 

affluent families.6  

Evaluations done on Head Start, the federal program 

dedicated to providing preschool opportunities for low- 

income families, are also not encouraging.  Generally, 

studies show initial modest gains in terms of student 

abilities and outcomes, but those gains quickly dissipate.  

By early elementary school, researchers could find no 

differences between the test scores of those who had 

participated in Head Start and peers who hadn’t 

participated in a preschool program.7 

Even many proponents of preschool programs for those in the low-income or at risk population have 

cautioned against assuming that the benefits enjoyed by that population would translate into similar 

benefits for the general population.  James Heckman, a Nobel prize winning economist, makes the case 

for increased investment in early education programs for disadvantaged populations because of his 

belief in its potential for significant payoffs.  However, when asked about universal preschool 

programs, he reiterated the case for targeted programs, explaining “Functioning middle-class homes are 

producing healthy, productive kids.  …It is foolish to try to substitute for what the middle-class and 

upper-middle-class parents are already doing.”8  

And indeed, if more preschool was a surefire way to improve student outcomes among the general 

population, one would expect to find ample evidence of that dynamic already occurring.  Several states 

have implemented aggressive preschool programs and there is little to suggest that it is paying off in 

terms of improving the states’ overall education climate.  As education analysts from the Reason 

Foundation wrote in the Wall Street Journal: 

[T]he results from Oklahoma and Georgia—both of which implemented universal preschool a 

decade or more ago—paint an equally dismal picture.  A 2006 analysis by Education Week 

found the Oklahoma and Georgia were among the 10 states that had made the least progress on 

NAEP.  Oklahoma, in fact, lost ground after it embraced universal preschool:  In 1992 its 

fourth and eighth graders tested one point above the national average in math.  Now they are 

several points below.  Ditto for reading.  Georgia’s universal preschool program has made 

virtually no difference to its fourth-grade reading scores.9 

Rates of preschool attendance have soared during recent decades.  The Department of Education 

estimated that, in 1965, five percent of three-year-olds and 16 percent of four-year-olds attended 

preschool.  By the beginning of this decade, 42 percent of three-year-olds and 68 percent of four-year- 

olds were enrolled in preschool.10  Yet the data on important educational outcomes—from 

 

  

“There is significant 

evidence to suggest that 

there is a link between the 

amount of time young 

children spend outside of 

their parents’ care and 

behavioral problems.”  

performance on nationalized tests to graduation rates—has shown no significant gains during this 

period, and in some cases have declined.11  

There is also cause for concern that encouraging greater enrollment in preschool may not just fail to 

produce positive results, but it could lead to some adverse outcomes.  Some researchers have found 

evidence suggesting that increased enrollment in preschool programs could lead to problem behaviors.  

For example, one study conducted by researchers at Stanford 

University and University of California, Berkeley concluded 

kindergartners who had attended more than fifteen hours of 

preschool each week were more likely to exhibit aggressive 

behavior in class.12  

Negative behavioral effects would likely be particularly 

pronounced if the government moves in the direction of 

President Obama’s “Zero to 5” proposal to encourage the 

enrollment of babies and young toddlers.  There is significant 

evidence to suggest that there is a link between the amount of 

time young children spend outside of their parents’ care and 

behavioral problems.  The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, for example, 

conducted a study of children in ten geographic sites who were followed from birth to kindergarten and 

found an association between greater amount of non-maternal care and behavioral problems: 

The more time children spend in any of a variety of non-maternal care arrangements across the 

first 4.5 years of life, the more externalizing problems and conflict with adults they manifest at 

54 months of age and in kindergarten, as reported by mothers, caregivers, and teachers…more 

time in care not only predicts problem behavior measured on a continuous scale but at-risk 

(though not clinical) levels of problem behavior, as well as assertiveness, disobedience, and 

aggression.  It should also be noted that these correctional finding also imply that lower levels 

of problems were associated with less time in child care.13 

In summary, the evidence simply does not support the claims of universal preschool proponents that 

an investment in early education will pay off in terms of improving the educational and life prospects of 

the general population.  

Crowding Out Private Preschool Providers 

Another reason for concern about the potential for greater government involvement in preschool is the 

potential that, as government expands its support for early learning opportunities, parents could end up 

having fewer options for their children’s education instead of more.  To the extent that the government 

creates specific center-based programs or focuses its support on programs provided through the public 

school system, policymakers would be putting private schools and early learning centers at a 

disadvantage.  Parents committed to enrolling their children in a preschool would face the choice of 

paying for private preschool or sending their children to a subsidized public option.  As a result, many 

 

  

“Lawmakers would be 

better off focusing on 

identifying why the 

public school system 

regularly fails so many 

of its charges instead  

of expanding its 

mandate in education.” 

parents who currently pay for private early learning opportunities may switch to enrolling their child in 

a public school. This dynamic could result in the elimination of private options, and fewer choices for 

parents.  

The potential crowding out of private preschool providers in favor of government-run options should 

be of particular concern to those who see early education opportunities as critical not just for skill 

development, but for children’s socialization and moral development.  Given the reticence of so many 

advocates of increased educational funding to allow any dollars to reach any organization that isn’t fully 

secular (for example, through a voucher or other school choice program), it is likely that many states 

would exclude preschools with a religious affiliation from participating in any government supported 

preschool program.  This means that many parent who currently choose a facility in part to support 

their values and provide additional moral education will find themselves with a difficult choice of 

forgoing the subsidized service (supported with their tax dollars) or forgoing the moral environment 

they had hoped to provide to their children.  

Problems with Existing Government Run Schools 

Before lawmakers extend the responsibilities of the public 

education system to include three- and four–year-olds, it would 

be prudent to examine how it is performing its existing duties 

in serving students eligible for kindergarten through twelfth 

grade.   

President Obama himself has been critical of the performance 

of many public schools:   

And yet, despite resources that are unmatched 

anywhere in the world, we’ve let our grades slip, our 

schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us. …The relative 

decline of American education is untenable for our economy, it’s unsustainable for our 

democracy, it’s unacceptable for our children — and we can’t afford to let it continue.14 

And indeed, a look at the statistics about our public school system’s performance is sobering.  The 

National Assessment of Educational Progress, a standardized test designed to assess the overall 

performance of American students, regularly shows that the system is failing too many of its students:  

in 2007, one third of 4th graders and one quarter of 8th graders scored “below basic” in reading, and 

nearly twenty percent of 4th graders and 30 percent of 8th graders scored “below basic” in math.  More 

than one-quarter of American children don’t graduate from high school. And, as President Obama 

noted, the United States often lags behind other developed nations on academic tests despite spending 

more on education.15  

The disheartening performance of the public school system should caution those who would believe 

that greater government involvement in the lives and education of our youngest children will necessary 

 

  

“Government programs 

that support preschool 

also fail on the measure 

of fairness:  they 

support the choices 

made by some parents 

over others.”  

improve their prospects.  Lawmakers would be better off focusing on identifying why the public school 

system regularly fails so many of its charges instead of expanding its mandate in education.   

There Are Better Ways to Support Parents with Young Children    

Government programs that support preschool also fail on the measure of fairness:  they support the 

choices made by some parents over others.  For example, many parents believe that they are their 

children’s best teacher and would prefer to keep a parent at home with their three- or four-year-old.  

And, even if preschool were generally associated with benefiting most four-year-olds, certainly there are 

some who would do better with another year at home.  Parents are 

best positioned to determine if preschool, and what kind of 

preschool, will benefit their children.  Government programs that 

subsidize specific services, instead of children, would discourage 

parents from making decisions based on their children’s unique 

needs.   

If the real goal is to support the educational development of young 

children, lawmakers would do better by providing a refundable tax 

credit to families with children of an eligible age, which could be 

used to pay for preschool, other educational services, educational 

materials, such as books and age-appropriate curriculum, or even to compensate for the reduced 

earnings enjoyed by families that opt to keep a parent at home.  Such a tax credit would give parents 

more latitude to make decisions based on their personal beliefs and situation, and would be superior to 

merely expanding government services to provide for a select group of children.  

Conclusion 

While lawmakers rarely seem concerned about the founders’ intentions, it is worth noting that there is 

nothing in the Constitution to suggest that using taxpayer money to support preschool programs in a 

proper role for the federal government.  Policymakers claim that using taxpayer money to fund more 

access to preschool enhances the greater good, but there is little evidence to suggest that this holds true 

for the general population.  There is also reason for concern that there would be unintended 

consequences to pushing greater enrollment in publicly-supported preschool programs, both for 

individual students and for the education system as a whole.   

Lawmakers would do better by focusing on improving the existing K-12 education system, instead of 

seeking to expand it, and to helping families provide for their children by reducing their tax burden. 

 

About the Author 

 

Carrie Lukas is the vice president for policy and economics at the Independent Women’s Forum and 

author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism.  

 

{{I said above, I do not swim in the same direction on ALL the issues here, particularly domestic violence and feminism.  The thing about feminism is the backlash,  My goodness. . . .  }}

 

 

  

Endnotes 

1 

 Available at: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/education/index.php#early-childhood. 

2 

 Christina A. Samuels, “Stimulus Providing Big Funding Boost for Early Childhood,” Education Week, March 27, 

2009. 

3 

 Darcy Olsen and Lisa Snell, “Assessing Proposals for Preschool and Kindergarten:  Essential Information for 

Parents, Taxpayers, and Policymakers,” Reason Foundation, Policy Study No. 344, May 2006, p. I.   

 

4 

 “President Obama’s Remarks to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,” New York Times, March 10, 2009.  

Available at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/us/politics/10text-obama.html?_r=1&pagewanted=3. 

 

5 

Darcy Olsen and Jennifer Martin, “Assessing Proposals for Preschools and Kindergarten:  Essential 

Information for Parents, Taxpayers, and Policymakers,” Goldwater Institute, Policy Report No. 201, February 8, 

2005, p. 4. 

6 

 Robert Holland and Don Soifer, “How Sound an Investment?  An Analysis of Federal Prekindergarten 

Proposals,” Lexington Institute, March 2008, p.10. 

Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell, “Universal Preschool Hasn’t Delivered Results,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 

17, 2008.  

8 

Robert Holland and Don Soifer, “How Sound an Investment?  An Analysis of Federal Prekindergarten 

Proposals,” Lexington Institute, March 2008, p.9-10. 

Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell, “Protect Our Kids from Preschool,” The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2008.   

10 

 Darcy Olsen and Lisa Snell, “Assessing Proposals for Preschool and Kindergarten:  Essential Information for 

Parents, Taxpayers, and Policymakers,” Reason Foundation, Policy Study No. 344, May 2006, p. 6. 

 

11 

 Dan Lips, Shanea Watkins, Ph.D. and John Fleming, Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic 

Achievement?,”, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #2179,  September 8, 2008. Available at:  

http://www.heritage.org/research/Education/bg2179.cfm. 

 

12 

 Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell, “Protect Our Kids from Preschool,” The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2008.   

13 

 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network, “Does 

Amount of Time Spent in Child Care Predict Socioemotional Adjustment During the Transition to 

Kindergarten,” Child Development, July/August 2003, Volume 74, Number 4, 989. 

 

14 

“President Obama’s Remarks to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,” New York Times, March 10, 2009.  

Available at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/us/politics/10text-obama.html?_r=1&pagewanted=3. 

 

15 

Dan Lips, Jennifer Marshall, and Lindsey Burke, “A Parent’s Guide to Education Reform,” The Heritage 

Foundation, September 2, 2008. 


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