Education

Recently at Reason.tv: Universal Preschool: A silver bullet for education reform or a waste of money?

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With support from major foundations and political heavy hitters like Barack Obama, universal preschool is the next big thing in education reform. Indeed, it's second only to universal health care on the liberal wish list. The goal is to offer publicly funded preschool-complete with credentialed teachers and and a standardized curriculum-to all four-year olds during the school year.

Advocates argue that public investments in early education will pay dividends over the long term. Critics point out that the evidence from states that have universal preschool programs shows that whatever benefits kids receive from those programs fade out by the fourth grade.

Since preschool attendance rates in states that have universal preschool are no higher than the national average, universal preschool wouldn't even increase preschool attendance. It would, however, cost a lot of money, put lots of privately owned preschools out of business, and dramatically decrease early education options for parents.

So what do you think? Is expanding our failing K-12 system the best way to fix it?

This 10-minute documentary is hosted by reason's Nick Gillespie. It is produced by Paul Feine and Roger M. Richards.

Go here for related links, HD and iPod-friendly versions, and embed code so you could post this video at your own site.

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  1. I want universal public school from cradle to grave managed by state accredited employees!

  2. My selfish ass wants it to be possible to be a stay at home mom and provide my kids with loving care, stimulation, play, security, and quality food, rather than having to rely on strangers to provide ECE for them. I truly believe I can do a better job at childcare than a state-run daycare can.

  3. once universal preschool is in place, compulsory preschool attendance will be next.

  4. Hey, we have to get TEH CHILDRUN under the control of the state as early as possible, people. How else will they be good little citizens? Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for the state.

  5. A silver bullet for education reform or a waste of money?

    You forgot “elementary education major full employment act” and “NEA boondoggle.”

  6. Pre-K has been a standard part of elementary school in my part of Maryland for almost 20 years. Or at least it seems that way. My younger siblings went. I admit I don’t really keep up with it. My son went to a church ( I am atheist) pre-school that ran about $120 a month.

  7. A huge payoff to

    #1. Teachers Unions
    #2. Feminists

    Ideologically driven encroachment into the family. Designed to undermine family formation, encourage women working, stifle single earner households & feed a hungry bureaucracy. All disguised as “education reform.”

    The fact that it is raised as an serious issue by Nick is proof that Reason magazine is (and never has been libertarian) but rather?is a shill for the leftist establishment.

  8. “The fact that it is raised as an serious issue by Nick is proof that Reason magazine is (and never has been libertarian) but rather?is a shill for the leftist establishment.”

    Derr, that’s because Reason magazine is run by Utilitarians, as opposed to deontological libertarianism. Utilitarianism applied to any ideology results in a gradual shift to the left to the point where it becomes nearly totalitarianism–the ends justify the means you know! This is how Classical Liberalism degenerated to the statist “liberals” we have today.

  9. I think this calls for a double!
    Barkeep!!!!

  10. I haven’t watched the video, but somehow I doubt Nick will be cheerleading for universal daycare.

  11. Abdul,
    You obviously have not been attending the same meetings as Fitz.

  12. I think Nick should have
    “Shill for the Leftist Establishment”
    printed on his business cards, just to hand out to Paulians.

  13. CN,

    He doesn’t go to meetings, moran! They might follow him back to his aluminum foil-lined apartment if he ever left.

  14. SF,
    I think that “encourage women working” line gave away the whole show.

  15. Women working is a sign of the Apocalypse, you know.

  16. CN,

    It was over the top. Does he think he’s blogging in 1963?

  17. It’s not the answer to the question it’s “who writes the question” that is important.

    And it reason magazine as a whole not Nick in particular. It’s simply not a principled libertarianism being practiced.

    Also: Interesting related material on Sweden that has had universal day care for the longest time of any country. Women who stay at home are demanding a government subsidy check because taxes are so high & they have to take a double hit both staying out of the workforce & paying for others childcare.

  18. Sounds like a bunch of political mumbo jumbo and lip service to me it does!

    jess
    http://www.privacy-tools.at.tc

  19. Is the privacy troll a stupid person or a bot? I really can’t tell.

  20. Why can’t you love me for what I am, Warty? Human or machine, I’m all yours.

    jess
    http://www.privacy-tools.at.tc

  21. Whatever it is, it’s a crafty devil.

  22. And at least it seems to be on our side. Come the revolution, we’ll need all the privacy trolls we can get.

  23. Excellent, an answer at last! Many thanks.

  24. Warty, I think you’ve been conned.

  25. hey if you want to be successful in your indoctrination of children, you have to start early. and that is all this is, an effort to indoctrinate our children as young as possible. the federal government has no business funding or mandating universal pre-k or any other form of education in this country. but for some reason, politicians seem to forget that pesky 10th amendment which says any powers not granted to the feds by the constitution are reserved to the states and the people. no where in the constitution does it say that the federal government has the power to do these things with regard to education. it is clearly a state issue. states and the citizens of those states should be deciding how to educate their young. but what do you really expect. to a liberal, the constitution is just a piece of paper.

  26. Let’s put it this way.

    I want the freedom to raise my children as I see fit, be it through paying for daycare, myself staying at home, or my wife staying at home, or the grandparents watching them while we both work, or some hippy coop daycare, or just let let them run wild and frolic through the fields. It doesn’t matter, the options available to me are endless.

    The government decides in its infinite wisdom that universal preschool is a Good Thing based on some “peer reviewed study”. This service will be “free” in the sense that the actual costs are hidden in tax increases, or inflation if taxes are not increased.

    This means that if I do not like the quality of this “free” service, not only do I have to still pay in terms of a private daycare, or suffer reduced wages if my or my wife watches the kids, but I will ALSO face reduced income through taxes and/or inflation.

    How any libertarian could even consider the possibility of universal preschool and not just reject it a priori boggles the mind.

  27. So what do you think? Is expanding our failing K-12 system the best way to fix it?

    Of course. GM should create a couple more divisions to ensure profitability too.

  28. You know, I really should have hesitated posting, since I can’t even watch the video at work.

    I sincerely hope it opposed universal preschool, though I’m sure it was injected with lots of STUDY X PROVES ACTION Y HAS NO EFFECT.

  29. The fact that it is raised as an serious issue by Nick is proof that Reason magazine is (and never has been libertarian) but rather?is a shill for the leftist establishment.

    1. Drink!

    2. Did you watch the video?

  30. How any libertarian could even consider the possibility of universal preschool and not just reject it a priori boggles the mind.

    Drink! I think.

    The video wasn’t made for preaching to the choir.

    And, although many don’t know it, Reason, through the efforts of it’s Director of Education (seen in the video) is directly responsible for the defeat of Rob Reiner’s UPK ballot intiative in California a couple of years ago.

  31. There is no silver bullet in education, but that doesn’t make this a waste of money.

    False dichotomy alert.

  32. “waste of money” perhaps not… You can’t say that the government gets *nothing* done. A lot of people would be “getting something” out of the deal.

    My point is that it’s a violation of individual rights. The fact that it’s less efficient than market-based preschool is just icing on the cake.

  33. Thanks, Neu, for constructing that big heap of understanding!

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