Government education in North Carolina has been a major political football kicked down a green field of taxpayers’ money for decades, resulting in no educational touchdowns but an expanding field of play. A current example of this losing sport comes from news about the NC Pre-Ks program.
The gist of this pathetic political game was summed up by the John Locke Foundation Director of Education Studies, Terry Stoops: “All too often, proponents of highly centralized early childhood programs and services spend more time tugging at heartstrings than recommending sound public policy.”
Mr. Stoops recommends eliminating government subsidized childcare programs and preschool expenses. Stoops suggests substituting refundable tax credits for parents with preschool children. Good policy, but bad politics. (link)
A recent Associated Press story illustrates big political problems with pre-K programs; they relate unsurprisingly to…yes: “Plenty of money,” writes the AP reporter. (link)
According to a JLF Agenda 2010 report by Stoops, N. C. state government spent more than $1 billion on early childhood and childcare programs in the 2009-2010 school year. But activist judges, lawyers and the governor want more (appropriately the NC Pre-K program was once referred to as: “More at Four”). With government projects more is always better. (link)
A state Court of Appeals case now being argued could cost state taxpayers another $300 million to expand the NC Pre-K program. Proponents say early childhood programs are constitutionally guaranteed rights (and provide free childcare for thousands of parents). Opponents say enough, already.
Continuing to siphon more money from our weakened economy to promote social justice projects cannot be justified by measuring success. As far as I know, there is no evidence that pre-K programs (“…supposed to narrow the education gap between children from better-off families and the poor”) have any educational, or even social, benefits. Stoops suggests that yearly evaluations based on independent research be conducted to find out.
Regardless, children end up being used as footballs to play this childish education game.Read full article » No Comments »