I was asked why I didn’t think American tax dollars should pay for programs such as Head Start and publicly funded preschools. My first response is: because free education isn’t a right guaranteed by The Constitution….but thats kind of a moot point in our sophisticated, super-edumacated 21st Century America.
QUESTION: Since you argue that preschool should NOT be publicly funded, despite it’s clear returns, you must have an idea for a program or programs that have even better returns on the investment of taxpayer dollars. What should be getting the money instead of preschools, in your view?
The Questioner is referring to a frequently cited study called the Perry Preschool Study suggesting the data compiled proves the benefits of a preschool education and repeatedly claimed that each dollar spent results in $17 worth of future savings. A link. I did note to myself that it was conducted by several well-known and very liberal organizations.
RESPONSE: First of all, the department of education sucks up about $500 billion a year. We’re not getting much bang for our buck. School performance is dismal (lots of research out there about this decline and changing the way tests are scored, etc) , the percentage of children in public school vs. private, parochial, and homeschool is dropping (from 86% to 81% in last 10 years) and parental confidence in pubic education averages a mere 46% over the past ten years (latter are from a recent Gallup poll).
Secondly, when you put dollar amounts on a child’s educational success or failure, there is no gain. Preschool doesn’t make a difference in the long haul, so what’s the point?
Thirdly, America has a debt problem. I firmly believe, that to get ahead one must pay their debt first and then one can invest. That means money doesn’t go to public preschools.
And besides that….it really pisses me off when ‘welfare mama’ sits at home and she still gets free daycare in the name of “preschool”. Its wrong.
From the conclusion of the 2010 Health & Human Services Study on HeadStart’s Impact (the one Sebelius is barking about):
In sum, this report finds that providing access to Head Start has benefits for both 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in the cognitive, health, and parenting domains, and for 3-year-olds in the social-emotional domain. However, the benefits of access to Head Start at age four are largely absent by 1st grade for the program population as a whole.
“largely absent” – in other words, statistically insignificant
Here’s another: CATO Summary An older article, but on the money, nonetheless.
Instead of throwing more dollars at this proven failure, President Obama might consider throwing his weight behind proven successes. A federal program that pays private-school tuition for poor DC families, for instance, has been shown to raise students’ reading performance by more than two grade levels after just three years, compared to a control group of students who stayed in public schools. And it does so at about a quarter the cost to taxpayers of DC’s public schools. A Tragic Waste of Money
Its my understanding that O and friends want to throw nearly $10Billion into Head Start/Public Preschool. In the spirit of redistributing wealth….it probably wouldn’t be difficult to find about 2 million preschool kids and give their parents $5000 to pay for a private preschool education. Just think of the savings on overhead and administrative cost…the full $10 Billion would actually make it into the pockets of those it was intended.
My humble thoughts on some changes: Axe the Department of Education, squash the NEA, get back to reading, writing, and arithmetic, school vouchers, and tax credits and use this $10 Billion to help clean up from the Obama mess in 2012.