Does it Take a State to Raise a Child?

Apparently the legislative monopoly in Santa Fe thinks so. Now they want to foist pre-kindergarten on the beleaguered NM taxpayer. Here is what I think:
1)It won’t work.
a) This is interest group politics. Self-interested government bureaucrats and “advocacy groups” gain – it is in their financial interest to implement pre-K. As a result their studies are suspect. Parents are different in their abilities and motivation to educate their children. Children have different abilities when it comes to learning. What did these studies do to control for differences in parents and differences in children? Did they evaluate the trade offs between nurturing by loving parents and “teaching” by “licensed providers.”
b) Government K-12 doesn’t work. And it will not work under so called “reform.” What makes us think the Pre-k will work? How naïve can we be?
c) Touchy feely one-size-fits-all standards don’t allow for differences in parents and differences in children. Example of what they are trying to foist on us: “The curriculum for each program shall address the total developmental needs of the child, including physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs, and shall include aspects of health care, nutrition, safety, the needs of the family and multicultural and linguistic sensitivity, in coordination with other resources for families.” Give me a break! Parents know what is best for their children, not so called experts in Santa Fe or licensed providers.
d) Expands failed government school education monopoly. This will make it even more difficult to turn things around.
2)We can’t afford it.
a) Budget pie can only get so big. There is little room to increase budget, because other states (e.g. Texas, Colorado) are so much better than us. Other priorities such as teachers’ pay raises are likely to suffer.
b) We cannot raise taxes and be prosperous. NM taxes are already too high and going up (compare us to Texas and Colorado). This is not just an assertion. For detailed analysis of the history of taxes and spending in NM go to: http://www.riograndefoundation.org/tops/index.htm.
c) Pre-K will ratchet up uncontrollably after the “mere” $9 million to start.
d) Why do we want to provide more wealth transfers at others expense? This is nothing more than taxpayer funded childcare.
e) How much failed government education is enough? Will this lead to pre-pre-K and so on ad infinitum?
f) This looks like political opportunism pure and simple — politicians taking advantage of gullible public (pictures with the kids) for their own gain.
3)Other help already available (although it, too, is more than somewhat ineffective)
a) Means tested transfers (effect on family of four detailed in RGF publication “Reform This!” )
b) Head Start is a program that does not work. Any gains from the program are totally eroded in short amount of time. Some children are actually harmed because of associations with other children they would be better off never having met. Thinking Pre-K will produce better results than Head Start is wishful thinking.
Unfortunately Arizona is confronting the same nonsense.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One Reply to “Does it Take a State to Raise a Child?”

  1. From a friend:
    “John: I don’t think this is the best battle to get into. While your and Harry’s points are valid, there is also ample evidence that the sooner kids begin their education, the better off they will be downstream. There is plenty of room to criticize the WAY this is done but that becomes the old “devil in the details”, and I think that will be a tough battle. And this easily becomes an emotional issue where you are fighting motherhood and apple pie. Just a thought.”
    My response:
    “You make a good point here, (name). The operative word in the second sentence is “education,” which the State Education Secretary has already stated is not the purpose sought. It’s clearly a Head Start approach, of which I understand evidence of success is far from ample.
    “Our socialist opposition is generally very clever at casting its proposals as motherhood and apple pie, so I have long since gotten accustomed to being accused as contra those wonderful things. If government-paid daycare is among the things masquerading as apple pie that citizens want, they should at least have someone out there putting on the package a list of ingredients and fat content! ”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.