April 16, 2013

Obama proposes universal preschool for 4-year-olds

Michael Farris, HSLDA Founder and Chairman and homeschooling father of 10

In an apparent effort to continually expand federal involvement in public education, President Obama announced last Wednesday in his budget plan a proposal to create universal preschool for low-income families. The plan, which is called Preschool for All, is aimed at 4-year-olds to help them be “better prepared for the demands of the global economy.” The plan will be funded by raising taxes on cigarette sales.

HSLDA founder Michael Farris voiced his opposition to this plan. “[There are] several observations,” he wrote in a recent Facebook post.“There is no evidence that such programs provide ANY lasting educational benefit. There is no evidence that such programs actually prepare workers for the global economy.”

In the past, HSLDA has opposed federal attempts to regulate early education, such as the Head Start and Race to the Top programs. In 2010, HSLDA Federal Relations Director William Estrada echoed the concerns that such programs have shown little to no improvement for children that take part in universal preschools.

Citing several studies that show universal preschool programs in Georgia, Oklahoma, and New Jersey produce negative results, Estrada concluded, “Research shows again and again that there are no long-lasting positive impacts to public preschool. Even in 1969, the Westinghouse Learning Corporation evaluated Head Start and found that ‘Full year programs resulted in cognitive and language gains at the first grade but appeared to “fade out” by second or third grade.’”

Not only does HSLDA view such programs as wasteful and unconstitutional, but we also see these programs as a threat to parental rights over what their children learn. When speaking about the Race to the Top initiative in 2011, Estrada noted, “For one thing, will this mean early learning programs eventually will have to teach what the federal government thinks that young children should learn? Will religious early learning programs eventually have to limit what they teach? There are many unanswered questions about where this state licensing, approval, and supervision could lead.”

Farris also noted the threat of federal involvement in preschool. “Now we know what this MSNBC promo was all about. The village wants our kids. We need more ‘investments’ for the village’s kids. Balderdash. They want our kids lest any of us raise our children to think differently than their worldview.

“I don’t want my children being prepared as workers in the global economy; I want them to be prepared to lead America.”

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