Hat tip to for the link to Diane Flynn Keith of UniversalPreschool.com
Protect Our Kids from Preschool, 22 August 2008, The Wall Street Journal
Our understanding of the effects of preschool is still very much in its infancy. But one inescapable conclusion from the existing research is that it is not for everyone. Kids with loving and attentive parents — the vast majority — might well be better off spending more time at home than away in their formative years. The last thing that public policy should do is spend vast new sums of taxpayer dollars to incentivize a premature separation between toddlers and parents.
On email lists, I’ve seen my share of messages from parents with younger children who want a ‘preschool program’ for the little ones. The schooling model is so well established in our way of viewing ‘how to raise children’ that parents feel that if they aren’t using a ‘program’ then they are frittering away precious learning time. This viewpoint is underlined by supporters of mandatory preschool. It’s as if some people won’t rest until each person’s life, from cradle to grave, supports some service industry that all the other persons are employed in: never do anything for yourself that other people can be paid for.
As it is, I think that the money proposed for mandatory preschool would be better spent on existing K – 12 schooling. Preschool as a part of the public education system …
- will divert funds from private preschools that already have a structure in place, but who then lose their customers to the ‘free’ programs
- will also divert funds from the rest of the public school system
- or will collect funding from taxpayers after taxes are raised to cover the additional cost of lowering the age of compulsory school attendance
There is no free lunch, and the mandatory preschool system will be paid for one way or the other unless, of course, all the teachers work for free, the construction firms and materials manufacturers donate all the buildings and materials, and cities absorb the costs of water, electricity, purchasing the land.
In the meantime, to ensure society doesn’t go to hell in a handbasket because the 3-year-olds missed out on mud pies (Ctrl+F to look for “mud pies”), parents can find ideas for a ‘preschool curriculum’ (otherwise known as ‘raising little kids’) in June Oberlander’s book, Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready.