Preschool: Do Facts Ever Matter?


On Sunday, the chief of New Mexico’s Children, Youth And Families Department bragged that since 2010, spending on the state’s “early childhood service programs — child care assistance, home visiting, pre-K and early pre-K — has grown by $47 million.” Monique Jacobson further beamed that “a new report from the State Preschool Yearbook showed that New Mexico increased pre-K enrollment and improved its rank 10 spots to 18th in the nation.”

Taxpayers are supposed to be happy about that?

As the American Enterprise Institute’s Katharine B. Stevens noted, “there’s no evidence that universal pre-K comes even close to its touted capacity to move the needle for disadvantaged children.” Since 1970, “the percent of 3- to 5-year-olds attending pre-primary education has increased dramatically,” yet the development has “had literally no effect on students’ [National Assessment of Educational Progress] reading and math scores by the time they reach 12th grade.”

Closer to home, and more recently, in New Mexico, between 2011 and 2015, NAEP scores for fourth-grade reading fell from 233 to 231. Fourth-grade math scores fell from 208 to 207. There’s zero evidence that the past decade of mounting preschool expenditures has produced results. Stagnant achievement remains the norm.

Reflexive support for preschool in the Land of Enchantment is a bipartisan scandal. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are willing to face the truth that “early childhood education” is not living up to its hype. Instead, the subsidies keep flowing, liberals preen themselves on their “compassion,” educrats collect their paychecks, and taxpayers receive zero return on their “investment.”