One of Obama’s big ideas in his State of the Union speech was to expand free pre-school programs.
And that has to start at the earliest possible age. 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 a 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. So tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. (Applause.) That’s something we should be able to do.
I have a little experience with early childhood education… having five kids will give you some experience, and I am sure that the federal government or state government knows less about what my kids need then I do. This is yet another step in the “cradle-to-grave” mentality of the Left to inject their “progressive” thinking into children at as young an age as possible.
Have doubts? Do you think for one second Obama would allow choice in pre-school by providing payments to parents who decide to do “home pre-school?” No, if it isn’t government sanctioned, it isn’t good enough “for the children.”
But what undercuts Obama’s kid-grab is a study by his own Department of Health and Human Resources that points out that there is no lasting benefit of Head Start for children after they enter elementary school.
As the Editors of National Review wrote:
The results of the HHS study will be of no surprise to anybody who has followed the research on Head Start and similar programs. The “impacts” documented in the study were transitory, vanishing entirely by the early stages of elementary-school education. And some of the impacts were negative; for instance, members of the three-year-old cohort who participated in Head Start were less likely than those in the control group to achieve regular grade promotion. That probably is not evidence that Head Start hurt the three-year-olds; it is more probable that, by random chance, students more likely to be held back were assigned to the Head Start group, and the benefits of Head Start were not consistent enough or large enough to overcome the difference. (The result was considered “statistically significant,” but that merely means it is unlikely — not impossible — for it to be the result of chance.) But the inability of Head Start to overcome the effects of randomness is damning enough in itself.
There is nothing more dangerous than government getting their hands on our kids at an early age. I actually think that kids should wait longer to enter formal education.
A few years ago, I wrote about all-day Kindergarten and how it actually caused the regression of my son’s reading skills. I have experienced first-hand the damage that government-run early education can do to a child.
A few months later it is Christmas break and I ask Adam to sit down and read to me. To my utter horror, I realized that his reading had regressed. A lot.
At that point, I’d had it. This wonderful all-day K was actually hurting my child.
So Obama should keep his hands of my kids.