So Big and Still Failing

As part of the President’s SOTU speech, he made the following statement:

Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.  But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.  Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool.  And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives.

Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.  Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.  In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own.  So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.  Let’s give our kids that chance.

I was unaware that a child required preschool to begin learning. I realize my children are probably atypical (though they are not from Lake Woebegone) but they didn’t wait until 3 or even 2 to begin learning. Mr. Obama sets up a false equivalence here that learning begins in preschool at 4 years of age. Pure foolishness.

A few hundred bucks a week for private preschool? That’s the high end of the scale, unless one is in NY, Boston, SF or some other area with crazy costs of living. And, as far as poor kids, hasn’t the President heard of Head Start? That’s a big federal program which has spent billions of dollars (aka taxpayer’s monies) to provide preschool to the disadvantaged at an annual price of about $7000 per pupil. Oh, and even liberals understand that Head Start has not and does not work though they think it is because Head Start is not run by the Department of Education. I’m sorry, but one large government bureaucracy is as innefficieny-ridden as the next one.

If this large program, established and overseen by the federal government does not work, then why would doubling down on the same make any difference at all in outcomes?

Let’s step outside the box for a minute and examine something. Who is best able to socialize a child at a young age: a parent or a non-parent?  Parents are, by design, set up to better understand and educate their children from infancy than are others. Sure, you and I could find examples of parents who either have not done so or have done a very poor job of it. That’s not the point. The point is that parents are better equipped to give their children a head start than even a finely trained and dedicated teacher of preschoolers. And yes, when the parents believe there is value in doing so, they delegate some of their educational responsibilities to others. But, despite the delegation, they are still the ones responsible for raising the children.

Do you know what leads to “boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime”? Families. Sure, it is a bit of an anachronism in this brave new world in which we live, but it is true nonetheless.

Mr. President, if you truly wish America’s pre-schoolers to have every advantage, stop telling us that we are incapable of caring for and educating them ourselves,  stop implementing policies which make it financially advantageous for people to break up families instead of keep them together, and stop assuming that we are such fools as to believe that government is going to start doing a better job of educating the very young today than it has for the last generation.

After all, we’re not children.