March 3, 2013

"Do we really think it is fair to predetermine children’s chances for success in life based on what ZIP code they live in?"

"Doesn’t every child deserve as close to the same chance to develop her or his abilities as any other child?"
Universally available prekindergarten is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. Raising lifetime wages (and thereby tax revenues) and reducing the likelihood that children will drop out of school, get involved in crime, and become a burden on the justice system more than make up for the costs of early childhood education."

Other countries have realized this. China reportedly has set a goal of giving 70 percent of all children three years of prekindergarten education — far ahead of the modest one year proposed by President Obama — by the year 2020.
China is so far ahead of us... in setting goals. Come on, everybody, let's gets some more aggressive and expansive goals. Surprisingly, it's absolutely free, having goals. And in these goals, children stay in school, crime plummets, and taxes soar!

Some people criticize Obama for "moving the goal posts" about this or that, but look over there. It's the Chinese. They've got amazing goals. Okay, now you can look at Obama's goals. So modest!

ADDED: The quote in the post title is the most specious rhetoric I've seen in a long time. Who is doing the "predetermining"? We're supposed to feel that doing nothing is doing something, that our inaction is deliberate and wrongful.

90 comments:

rhhardin said...

get involved in crime

Moving the gaol posts.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Well, the connies think China's far ahead of us in terms of labor practices so I don't see what's wrong with pointing out that they've surpassed us in other areas.

Unless you're one of those types who think that being Chinese makes them not worth comparing to us.

rhhardin said...

While they're in preschool, they could learn to assemble iphones.

Michael K said...

Parents who can afford high quality preschool. That's the sentence that matters. This whole ploy is another valentine to teachers' unions.

rhhardin said...

The problem would also be solved if you could take your zip code with you when you move, like mobile phone numbers.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

One suspects a high correlation between parents focused on education and parents who send their kids to preschool. Would the stats really hold up if every kid was required to go?

But if preschool is essentially high quality day care, maybe that's the real point of this goal.

wyo sis said...

We don't predetermine a child's success in life.
A child's success in life is affected by many things. There is very little "we" can do to change those things.

Bruce Hayden said...

Yes, let's commit to another many billion dollar entitlement program at the same time that we are sufferng through whatever damages that will be caused by the sequester, in order to give Juiias their free baby sitting in trade for their votes in the last election, and to even more unionized teachers, and their mandatory dues to Democrats. I am sure that I missed something there. Oh, and Head Start turns out to have been a failure, so lets double down there.

betamax3000 said...

"Doesn’t every child deserve as close to the same chance to develop her or his abilities as any other child?"

Not the homely ones.

Mary Beth said...

Michael K said...

Parents who can afford high quality preschool. That's the sentence that matters. This whole ploy is another valentine to teachers' unions.

3/3/13, 10:25 AM


I was wondering if the intended benefit was really the children or the teachers' union.

edutcher said...

As Bruce notes, Head Start cost us billions, plus 50 years before the Lefties would admit it was a screw-up.

Besides, we're going to start emulating the Red Chinese? They're building Potemkin villages not only in their own country but across Africa to maintain an unsustainable growth rate.

PS Somebody tell Ritmo connies is even more lame than Pubbies.

These morons need to stop reading Mao and start coming up with better arguments.

steve said...

Take a look at all our great cities with their great buildings, all the great inventions that came out of this country, all the great health advances that originated in this country. All of them created by people who probably didn't start kindergarten until they were 5 years old.
How about manufacturing? We became the manufacturing colossus of the world and all started by people who probably didn't start kindergarten until they were 5. We also did this without manufacturing institutes which Obama now wants to create.
We did just fine without all these government programs for 200+ years. We don't need any more government programs. Get the government out of the way and just watch things grow. Until Obama realizes that (which I think he does, he just doesn't care), we are never going to get out of this mess

lemondog said...

Ah yes, earlier the better to instill a lockstep and group-think mentality.

edutcher said...

PPS I thought we'd just determined kiddiegarter doesn't do any good anyway.

Mitchell the Bat said...

It's a sop to the manufacturers of yogurt in a tube.

Ambrose said...

Michael K and Mary Beth have it. To understand ANY Democratic proposal, ignore the intended beneficiaries and focus on the providers.

elkh1 said...

The Chinese always educate and re-educate.

They used to have Re-education Camps to re-boot those who were too stupid to learn to think the correct thoughts the first time around. Their brains were contaminated and needed to be thoroughly washed again. It's painful draining govt. resources to do the washing.

But Big Govt got to do what Big Govt got to do. Terminating the stupid ones is no longer an option, and Big Govt can't afford to let them not work and produce no tax revenues, nor can Big Govt let them work and contaminate other workers. What Big Govt Chinese need to do is to re-brand those camps re-training, re-engineering liberal arts colleges. They can defray the cost accepting Americans who are never very good turning out correct thinking citizens.

pm317 said...

Is this the opposite of saying "eat your peas, there are starving kids in China"?

virgil xenophon said...

steve has dangerous ideas...he's studied history..

Quayle said...

Soon these same rhetoricians will realize that preschools in certain zip codes are nothing but crap schools that only prepare the children for moving on to crap primary school which prepare them for crap secondary schools.

Then these same rhetoricians will be back telling us that our children should be rounded up and educated in camps, far away from the hell-holes in which they were born.

So we all have an equal chance, don't you know.

Their "solutions" for the inner cities long being proven inept and even disastrous.

So because they couldn't or wouldn't recognize that strong families built on strong mores was the root problem solution, they'll end up making the government be the father and mother.

And just think of the pathologies that will engender.

Hagar said...

Wealthy zip codes have more pre-schools because the parents can afford it - or have to, since mommy wants a "career" and buys childcare facilities to take her place - and their children are more "successful" because they grow up in that environment, go to college, and get introduced to the "right" people, not because they were straitjacketed into an unnatural "learning environment" before they were ready to go to school.

Bob Boyd said...

Why wait? We have the technology to pipe valuable lessons right into the womb.... every mother should have a kind of little PA system blaring and squealing in there.... so the developing fetus doesn't miss important announcements from smart people concerning what's the right thing....and they could listen to NPR.

Shouting Thomas said...

Better known as: "Take the kids away from their black and hispanic dysfunctional single parent families and give them to nice white ladies to raise."

This process will backfire over time.

The Australians tried this decades ago with the aborigines. Leftists later decided that this, too, was racism, and created the great myth of the Stolen Generations.

Can't win with leftists.

CEO-MMP said...

However did we (we the Earth, or even we America) manage to produce men like Washington, Lincoln, Ford (the car man not the potus man, man...although he was a nice man who shook my hand once and told me he shared my admiration for Lincoln), or any number of other people without fucking kindergarten and pre-k and all the other bullshit?

And even (ahem) without a vastly overpriced university system and hugely overpriced law schools?

AprilApple said...

The left universally and collectively love collectivism and the word universal - and they love the idea that the Chinese are so obedient. The left love the power structure in China. (Yes, the left ignore much about China that is undesirable. Made in China is a symbol: Crap and gadgets for Americans – byproducts and chemicals pumped downstream. Please ignore the cancer villages and the damaged ecosystem.) Why can't Americans be obedient? Why can't Americans universally agree with each and every goal post moving idea that springs from the glorious Obama campaign and the state run media? We need to stick kids in school really early and HIKE TAXES! The goal! (Hike taxes!) (That’s the goal) Don't kids already go to pre-school? Now we need 3 years of pre-school?

Here’s an idea that bust democrat spleen: Let's have a 3 year pre-school tester in the gang areas of Chicago.
Well?
Nah. The democrats insist we pay now, worship their grand idea now, ignore the negative consequences and wasted tax dollars at some future date after it fails. Solyndra.

betamax3000 said...

Step One: we ship boot straps to all kindergartners in the USA.

Step Two: we also ship them a Lesson Book.

Step Three: The children do Lesson One: "Pull yourself up."

Step Four: Recess. Smoking is allowed.

Step Five: mail Tax Rebate checks.

Sorun said...

Wouldn't it be easier to identity the bad zip codes and simply change them to something else? We can go to 6 digits if we run out.

virgil xenophon said...

And Bruce Haydon is delusional--too much contact with reality..

iowantwo said...

This is a great idea. Just not something the federal govt, morally, ethically, and constitutionally. If a town of 20000 people want to improve their society, they are in control of what and how that program looks, operates,and succeeds or fails. Any thing larger than that is nothing but govt graft, corruption and ineptitude.

In short, early education only works if the parents are truly the ones that see the value and measure results.

jimbino said...

I don't can't speak for all the other singles and childfree, but as long the breeders and the gummint conspire to steal my wealth and income to pay for rampant miseducation, I will do my best to keep public education as misrerable as possible.

virgil xenophon said...

@ST//

LOL! SO true about Australia, SO true..

Hagar said...

I believe there is also some correlation between pre-schoolers and a higher incidence of lazy eyes, scoliosis, allergies, and other stress induced problems?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Making pre school available is not the same as making it mandatory. Although, like anything the government gets its hands into...it will become mandatory. Why don't we just give up our kids before we leave the hospital? Let the government raise them and indoctrinate them in little pods and when they are sufficiently integrated as tiny cogs in the machine, you might get to see them.

A child's success in life has many components. The biggest one is being raised by loving, engaged parents. The culture of your home and the society that you live in is that which helps you to success. Many successful people have come from "deprived" zip codes.

AprilApple said...

If there is a way to help poorer and lower income kids -- the democrats won't do it unless they can:
1. Hike your taxes
2. Make sure the Teacher's Union gains money and power (which help$ at election time.)

Big Mike said...

Today's public schools do a terrible job of educating our children for the thirteen years that they have them, so the way to fix this is to turn over our kids for fourteen years instead.

Chip S. said...

Typical "moderate-liberal" half-measures

The only way to assure equality of opportunity is to harvest eggs from a stratified sample of US women--wait, make that women from around the world (except China, which is already home to a super-race)--and fertilize them with sperm similarly acquired. The fertilized eggs will then be implanted in a cadre of women who will live in a state-operated facility where identical behavioral and nutritional patterns will be enforced.

Fetuses conceived in any other way will be aborted.

Needless to say, the resulting children will be raised in state-operated residential nurseries, pre-schools, and schools until age 26, when they will be randomly assigned to jobs.

Quayle said...

Raising lifetime wages (and thereby tax revenues)

Follow this logic and you'll see your way to overturning Roe v. Wade.

"Abortion kills a future taxpayer."

Larry J said...

Let's see, government ran health care programs such as the VA, on reservations, Medicare and Medicaid have proven to provide poor quality at high prices. So the proposed solution is for government to take over health care for everyone. They'll go for ObamaCare at first and when that fails, go for single payer. After all, failure at one level seems to be a qualifier to expand the scope.

Likewise, Head Start has proven an expensive failure. So the proposed solution is to expand it to all children.

I'm sensing a pattern...

virgil xenophon said...

The horrible, terrifying truth/fact is that Chip S's vision is actually shared by more of our social and intellectual "bettors" than ANYONE would like to admit..

Deb said...

"However did we (we the Earth, or even we America) manage to produce men like Washington, Lincoln, Ford ...or any number of other people without fucking kindergarten and pre-k and all the other bullshit? "

This.

edutcher said...

jimbino said...

I don't can't speak for all the other singles and childfree, but as long the breeders and the gummint conspire to steal my wealth and income to pay for rampant miseducation, I will do my best to keep public education as misrerable as possible.

these are the people who will be providing jimbino's health care in his dotage.

He really is an idiot, isn't he?

KLDAVIS said...

Just posted this in the 'dream' thread, but it seems even more applicable over here.

The pervasive idea that a child 'can do anything they put their mind to' (i.e. dream of) may be as pernicious a thought as we've ever encountered...it's fueled the housing bubble, the higher education bubble, the runaway spending...

It was a short step from telling children they had the right to expect greatness to happen to them to expecting the government to provide it.

The world needs both janitors and astronauts.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Dare I say that... I agree with DBQ?

Distinguishing between mandatory and available would do us well.

virgil xenophon said...

Deb is right, CEO-MMP@ 10:43 has the proper perspective..

Kirk Parker said...

I see that damn son-of-a-breeder jimbino is back. Bleah.

Sir, until you rectify your mother's misdeed, I'm not paying any attention to you.

Gahrie said...

There are three dirty secrets behind this push for universal preschool.

One, it is a backdoor way to provide free childcare paid for by the taxpayer.

Two, it is a way of creating public service sector union jobs, the most loyal Democratic interest group.

Three, it is an attempt to deal with the fact that the American underclass is criminally neglegent when it comes to parenting.

Shouting Thomas said...

Zip codes didn't even exist when I was born, and look how well I've done!

rcocean said...

Does Pre-K really help? What is the support for that?

My view is the opposite. I think we're forcing kids to go to school at too early an age because its -in effect - free daycare.

I'd love to see both sides of the debate on this.

Seeing Red said...

Asians value education.

Of course, for awhile, there was that whole thing about being shot.....

Seeing Red said...

--The world needs both janitors and astronauts.--

Depending on union & seniority, the janitors may be paid more.

Who's the sucker?

SteveBrooklineMA said...

"... early educational interventions really matter," says the NYTimes opinion piece. I think it is interesting how people pushing universal pre-k commonly refer to education as an "intervention." Is the implication that something has gone terribly wrong and the government needs to intervene between the kid and some negative influence? What influence? Parents?

AprilApple said...

Change all the zip codes to 90210.

Maguro said...

Yes, because children are perfectly identical blank slates and Nice White Ladies can achieve perfect social justice if they get their hands on them early enough. Sure.

AprilApple said...

Universal
The left's creepy buzzword.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Abortion kills a future taxpayer."

Won't work: They're not so much interested in having your money as they are in making sure you don't have it. They can do that just as effectively by aborting you.

kentuckyliz said...

ZIP codes and plus 4's are a measure of SES...which is usually stable through life. You can make it in Murka, but most people stick with the same social class they were born into.

I am firmly middle class. My mum was a bit of a social climber and did well for herself through intelligence, civil service exams, and hard work, and then marrying a man in a higher social background from her own working class family.

Honestly, mom's side of the family is more kind and loving and fun. Dad's side is well educated, high achieving, cold, distant, and make sure that you know they are better than you. They think their digs are too subtle for detection but it's not true. I just have better manners than to signal that I have heard the dig.

So who has more class, I ask you?

Old Dad said...

Hi priced baby sitting paid for with magic Chinese money.

Did the President attend mandatory Pre K? He's a minority from a broken home and look how marvy he turned out.

Tibore said...

Ok, let me get this straight: Education policy wonks are okay to set goals (as long as it's expanding services), but they act like it's a tragedy to set masurements for existent goals (testing mandated in NCLB)?

Unknown said...

Just what our kids need, a few more years of early childhood under the control of unionized bureaucratically controlled government employees.

kentuckyliz said...

Take the children of the dysfunctional creatures of the state and make them creatures of the state. It's early vocational training for dependence and the Democrat Party.

Head Start is mostly staffed with welfare moms on workfare for their check, and do you want THAT raising your kids?

It's not nice middle class white ladies raising the lower kids in Head Start. It's the welfare moms. So how do you break the cycle when the teachers are primarily dependents on that cycle?

Well to do parents would never abuse their children this way. They know their kids' success depends on ensuring that their children do not become property of the state.

Witness the growing popularity of home schooling and unschooling. Even by atheists--it's not just for religious separatist motivations.

kentuckyliz said...

Instead of Head Start, let's take those low income families, wave a magic wand, make them all upper middle class families, and relocate them to upper middle class neighborhoods.

Enjoy your new neighbors.

Quayle, the reeducation camps at another location are called Job Corps. There's one in the next county over.

It's open to the local yoots but they won't go there, because it's full of east coast gangsta rap black yoots who would beat them up.

Coketown said...

I don't think 'preschool' means the same thing in China as it does here. Comrades.

My understanding of preschool is that all net benefits disappear by around third grade. There is no guarantee that the higher reading and math proficiency seen in first grade carries into later years. There is no evidence these programs translate into lower crime rates and higher earnings.

Instead, preschool is a benefit to the parents of the child. Giving them more free time to work. Just look at DC: they have broad pre-kindergarten programs and their public schools provide kids with all three meals a day. Why even bother with parents?! Just let the school system raise the children. It'll be like Hogwarts.

And look how well the DC school system is doing. Their students' brains are three times larger than the national average.

I believe this is just another Obama proposal to appeal to single women. Life of Julia and all. "We'll raise your child, Julia; you go out and work! Reach your full potential." *swoon*

Freeman Hunt said...

Shouldn't they do a good job with the schools they already run before we give them more?

Also, since when does America look up to China?

William said...

So far as I know, no one on the left has ever contemplated why they got so many things wrong about the Chinese revolution and Mao's lunatic schemes. Consider barefoot doctors: Internists were sent to spread manure on rice paddies and sketchily trained technicians, the so called barefoot doctors, in their ignorance allowed patients with tractable diseases to die painful deaths. And the western press reported this as some kind of great, leap forward in the equitable distribution of medicine. Mao had a far higher body count than Hitler, and his portrait still hangs over the public square. His crimes have never been dramatized, and his willing executioners have never been identified. ....If your parents are very screwed up, there is very little that government can do to rectify the damage. I suppose in middle class neighborhoods, abused and neglected kids don't turn to crime, but their lives rarely turn out well.

Jana said...

It's an extension of the K-12 system, much of which exists as a free babysitting service to the taxpayer, rather than an effective tool for educating children. Of course, we all know the model was devised to turn out dutiful factory workers. Instead of innovating to meet the needs of THIS century, Democrats want to extend and expand the model, mostly to benefit their favorite client group, the unions.

Riehan Salam asked where all these high-quality pre-K teachers are going to come from, as though there is a surplus of high-quality K-12 educators from which to draw. The problem in this country is not a surplus of quality educators, that's for damn sure.

LilyBart said...


What is it with Obama and his administration always holding up China as an example for us to follow?

LilyBart said...


Of course this will be great, becauase Head Start is so effective and worth every penny of the $8 billion we spend per year on it.

And because our current K-12 system is churning out kids with an education equal to that of any developed nation.

Ah, yes, our government has a great record with its 'education' efforts.

Revenant said...

The Chinese government includes quite a lot of government propaganda in its education program. There were mass protests in Hong Kong last year because plans were announced to extend the propaganda programs to cover schools there.

That is the main reason the Chinese government wants to begin schooling early. It has nothing to do with what is in the best interests of the children.

the wolf said...

It was a short step from telling children they had the right to expect greatness to happen to them to expecting the government to provide it.

This is where Reynolds' Law applies. The rationale is based on the idea that, if you confer upon people the charactertics that mark other, successful people, you will produce successful people. But it ignores that successful people achieve those things instead of having foisted on them via the government or 'good luck.'

Balfegor said...

When I read the post title, I was thinking it was going to be an argument for even more aggressive vouchers, to enable students to escape the bad influences of their communities.

Evidently not, though.

caplight45 said...

Freeman the Wise asked, "Also, since when does America look up to China?"

At least since the advent of Thomas Friedman and James Fallows.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

"Doesn’t every child deserve as close to the same chance to develop her or his abilities as any other child?"

First thought: "Probably not. Why would they?"

What does *every* child "deserve"? And who is responsible for providing it?

I think probably every child "deserves" nothing. It's nice when folks, parents or otherwise, take it upon themselves to help a kid out - and some of that is pretty much expected in our society.

But to propose some individual (read bureaucrat) should be empowered to forcefully re-allocate resources from one person to another ... seems kinda shaky.


Synova said...

"The Australians tried this decades ago with the aborigines. Leftists later decided that this, too, was racism, and created the great myth of the Stolen Generations."

You don't have to go all the way to Australia for that. We had Indian Schools in the US. For the good of the children, never doubt it. Not a single one of these programs to educate children was enacted with bad intentions in mind.

whoresoftheinternet said...

There is no valid statistical proof that education affects IQ or future outcomes in anyway.

Fact.

TMink said...

Pre-K is not effective. Parental malfeasance trumps educational opportunities.

Trey

TMink said...

Pre-K is not effective. Parental malfeasance trumps educational opportunities.

Trey

rcommal said...

Push the universal "pre-" thing far (as in earlier) enough, and eventually you'd have to go with licensing parents. Well, wouldn't you? And what could go wrong with that?

rcommal said...

K
Pre-K
Pre-school III
Pre-school II
Pre-school I
Pre-school Infancy
Pre-birth Enrichment
Pre-qualify parents

Quite the progression, that would be.

Jerome said...

Is it fair that Obama gets to be President twice, when Romney hasn't even been President once? At some point, haven't you been President enough?

Jane said...

The idea that we should model ourselves on the Chinese is laughable. In a country where all parents are essentially required to work, of course you have to have state-provided daycare!

One thing that's not being mentioned in this incessant push for pre-kindergarten, is that it's wasteful. Churches, park districts, and other community organizations have built up a whole infrastructure for preschool programs -- not to mention daycares -- which would sit vacant so that every school district could build additions onto their elementary schools, to offer replacement programs at significantly higher union payscales.

Douglas said...

My understanding (which could be wrong) is that numerous studies have shown that the effects of Head Start dissipate pretty thoroughly in a few years. One way to interpret these studies is that they show that the effects of home life - you know, parents - outweighs the effects of pre-school.

So I guess the question is how do we redistribute good parents so that every child has a fair chance at life. I wonder what the Zip Code-determinists have to say to that?

Douglas said...

It's also worth noting that China does not have an "underclass." It has lots of very, very poor people - but they get married, raise children together, and even the very poorest understand what a wonderful opportunity education offers their children and are determined to push their kids and get them the best education within their means. Thus, one would expect pre-school education in China to have the same effects that it does in upper middle class neighborhoods in the US.

The problem with substituting money for culture is that you just are throwing money away.

caplight45 said...

@ Jane: The infrastructure of preschool services provided by churches, synagogues and mosques do not count because they do not make people dependent on the government. The Feds do not trust private and personal initiative so they and their friends in the MSM never see a "problem" solved or even addressed if the gummint didn't do it.

Henry said...

For all of Penelope Trunk's flaws, she could kick these two guys asses all over the octagon and not break a sweat. Someone set up the match.

Henry said...

Three years of prekindergarten education? Why stop there? In my utopia, every child will have 17 years of prekindergarten education. Seventeen!

rcommal said...

I hope that when people refer to the Chinese raising "children," they are indeed meaning "in the aggregate." Or, did I miss the mass-lifting of the one-child policy for the masses? Well, wait--it's not actually applied en masse. There are various and complicated exceptions (granted via policy by the governing authority, and so the statistics are hard to parse, and so maybe that policy isn't so bad or maybe it is).

Oh, whatever. Why is the Chinese situation being brought into the discussion, again?

rcommal said...

God. I've seen "squirrel" called for so, so much less--not to mention "lesser." What a disgrace.

Robin said...

Evidently the fact that Headstart programs fail to make any difference at all - established in study after study - just goes in one ear and out the other.

Strelnikov said...

It never ceases to amaze me how reverential, nay, envious, the NYT is of China. (e.g., any Tom Friedman column - if you can stomach that sort of thing.)

Gene said...

"China reportedly has set a goal of giving 70 percent of all children three years of prekindergarten education — far ahead of the modest one year proposed by President Obama — by the year 2020."

Okay, fine. If still more school before first grade is good, let's beat China all to heck with nine months of pre-natal prekindergarten. How they going to beat that? Have pre-conception classes for the fetus to be?