Doubling Down on Failed Education Initiatives

President Obama wants to more than double the number of students enrolled in the Head Start government preschool program. Currently the program includes 900,000 students, and costs taxpayers $8 billion each year. It would be one thing if we were spending this money and getting results, but as you probably know by now, America is not doing so hot in terms of educating children in public schools. The preschool program is no different; the government’s Department of Health and Human Services released a long overdue report just before Christmas which says the program has shown no evidence of improving cognitive abilities of children in the program, and has even “reduced three-year-olds’ math abilities. It also failed to improve kids’ social-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes”. The report essentially said, the program has failed, and it was a waste of money. Obama has announced he would like the number of students enrolled in the program to swell to 1.85 million.

Whenever politicians ignore results, and scientific studies, it makes me wonder, what is their real goal? If they wanted smarter kids, they would reign in teachers unions, invest in charter schools, and implement school choice–but many on the left are vehemently opposed to any of these steps. What this is about is control over children. The government wants to decide what you children think, believe, and how they act, instead of the parent. Parents are the only ones who can truly shape their children into successful adults, and by shirking this responsibility parents seek to take the “easy way out” so that they can blame schools, teachers, and government for their failure as parents. The current track that American education is on cannot be considered positive, unless every piece of evidence is ignored, and every study about child development suppressed.

Let’s look at Sweden, where most children are placed in full day state care starting at about the age of 1 year old, or 18 months. According to the Daily Caller:

In 2010, Swedish researchers published an alarming study linking the country’s early childhood policies to a litany of evils: anxiety disorders, health problems, social neuroses, drops in learning, discipline problems, segregated labor markets, and more. Sweden is becoming a social wreck, and analyst Jonas Himmelstrand attributes this to its early childcare policies…

And according to Swedish researcher Britta Johansson:

“The public offer of full-day child care seems to make many parents lose the grip on their own responsibility. They trust that their children are better fostered by the pre-school and school … [but] pre-school and school cannot fill the gaps caused by lack of parental time with their children and trust in parents’ role.”

I have posted in the past similar sentiments about the role of parents in childcare [click here to read “Parental Rights: Who’s in Charge Here?]. Sorry parents, but there is no easy way out. If you want your kids to grow into well adjusted adults, you have to do the work. To think that the state could fill a role that the parent should be filling–all during school hours–is frankly absurd. The only thing state care does is give the illusion that your children are being properly educated and raised. Parents will later turn around and blame the schools for their children’s incompetence, failure at college, lack of job skills, or arrest record, but the responsibility to educate and raise children rests with the parents. The best thing the state can do is not stand in the way of proper parents who accept responsibility for their children’s future.

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