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Billions Of Federal Dollars Down The Universal Preschool Drain

Published Wed, Sep 25th, 2013   Senior Correspondent Capitol Hill Daily

We’ve been down this road of big government before. This time, Obama is trying to implement federal entitlement programs for preschool. And so far, it hasn’t worked. In fact, it still isn’t working, and although it’s like a leech sucking billions of dollars out of our federal budget every year, the government refuses to give up on it. We’ve also tried mixing business and education. Look at where that’s gotten us. And now, what’s on deck is another multi-billion dollar universal preschool program that is doomed to failure…

Big Business is Always Backstage

Not long ago, I told you that big business was driving the Common Core State Standards, so it should come as no surprise that it’s also supporting President Obama’s plan for universal preschool. Earlier this week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the business community, and many policymakers attended the National Business Leader Summit on Early Childhood Education. ReadyNation, a division of America’s Promise Alliance, co-hosted the event, which was sponsored in part byAflac (AFL), and JPMorgan & Chase Co. (JPM). The summit featured speakers from Aflac, Michelin North America, The Home Depot (HD) and Fast Companymagazine.

According to its website, “ReadyNation amplifies the voice of business leaders in support of early childhood policies that strengthen our economy and workforce.” And ReadyNation isn’t running short on business connections; the organization’s advisory board includes individuals from businesses like Hanover Investment Group (THG), Aon (AON), Kaplan Early Learning Company, Third Sector Capital and Proctor & Gamble (PG).

ReadyNation claims that “American students are less prepared than their parents, or their international peers, to be the productive citizens, neighbors and taxpayers” and “[i]nvesting in smart early childhood policies reaps returns today, tomorrow and for generations to come.” But that simply isn’t true.

Historical Failure

The president and those who support preschool entitlement programs would know this if they took a closer look at the federally funded Head Start program. The program costs nearly $8 billion a year in federal funds and serves close to a million kids, but studies find that it isn’t effective… The federal government completed a large study, following 5,000 students and comparing them to students who didn’t have access to Head Start. Any advantage that kids who attended a Head Start program had disappeared before they even completed elementary school. The study found that intellectual, social, health, or parenting benefits faded by the time the students reached first grade. By third grade, the academic advantages of Head Start kids dissolved and were replaced by behavior problems.

People who support Head Start should realize that it’s a waste of money when it comes to giving kids any sort of advantage. Others who support a universal preschool program should think of Head Start as a failed pilot program. President Obama’s plan has a proposed budget of $75 billion, but even with the support of Corporate America and special interest groups, you and I both know that America really isn’t in a position to throw that kind of money into a program that we know isn’t going to work. And with almost 40 states and Washington, D.C. providing families with state-funded preschool vouchers, why do we need a federal program?

If there’s any hope of stopping President Obama and his gang of cronies in big business from pushing universal preschool, we’ve got to act before it’s too late. The bottom line: we can’t afford to go down this road again.

In pursuit of the truth,

Johnnie-Ann Campbell

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