Preschool Bad for Children

One of the main issues for the Democrats is their passion for getting children into preschools.  Democratic Presidential candidate Obama says he believes in universal preschool, and that he’d pump billions of dollars into early childhood education, promising improved academic performance.

Sadly, the past 50 years have seen a huge increase in families who put kids in pre-school:  from 16% to 70%!  In addition to being separated from parents way too early, the problem is that fourth-grade reading, science, and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) haven’t gone up since the early 1970′s.  Hmmm.

For decades, I’ve read the studies about Head Start.  Those studies indicate an immediate gain on IQ tests and other cognitive measures, but show that in later years, those scores become indistinguishable from non-Head Start kids.

Why the heck is there such determination to take small children away from their homes and mothers, and put them in an institutionalized setting, which does not add to their lives, but actually subtracts from them?  A 2005 study from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley (neither of which is known as a conservative institution) found that kindergartners with 15 or more hours of preschool every week were less motivated and more aggressive in class than other kids.

In Canada, the C.D. Howe Institute found a higher incidence of anxiety, hyperactivity, and poor social skills among kids in Quebec after the introduction of universal preschool. 

As you might imagine, the only preschool programs that seem to do more good than harm are targeted at children who come from extremely poor families (often those with neglectful and/or addicted parents).  Even so, the return (adult crime, earnings, wealth and welfare dependence) were much smaller (16 cents for every dollar spent) than Obama’s notion of a $10 return.  Universal preschool programs in Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee (2006, Education Week  analysis) find no statistical difference in the performance of preschool and non-preschool students on any subject after the first grade.

Enough with the government intruding on parents’ abilities to make educational choices for their children by guilt or mandate, without any substantiation that there is a positive benefit.  Common sense should tell you that small children are best served by a loving mommy.

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of children come from loving homes with attentive parents.  Tearing children away from their homes and families for government-run, institutionalized learning programs that demonstrate absolutely no concrete benefit to the children is somewhere between sinister and cruel.

By the way, Obama’s daughters go to a private school whose annual fee in middle school runs around $20,000.