Being Right: “Get ’em While They’re Young”

Today’s left hates debate. Of course any leftist worth their salt would deny this, but the

actions of the Obama-era Democratic party suggest otherwise. What the left loves, though, is demonizing their opponents by reducing an issue – any issue – into a game of name-calling. Are you pro-life? You must hate women. Want to secure the border? You must hate brown people. Donated $1,000 to a traditional marriage organization six years ago? Congratulations! You are now officially a homophobe and don’t deserve to run the company that you founded. Last week, President Obama once again dipped his toes into the arena of public shaming by proposing to spend $75 billion over the next 10 years to create a new federally-funded preschool initiative. In the coming weeks, expect what could be a logical, facts-based debate to turn into a shame slinging slander-fest nationwide as opponents of this massive federal government program are actively portrayed as the worst thing to happen to toddlers since Steve left “Blue’s Clues.”

The Federal Government already operates 45 early learning and childcare programs. One of its most well known programs, Head Start, has been an expensive failure – in 2009, for example, the program received a federal subsidy of $9.5 billion to help 900,000 children. According to David B. Muhlhausen and Dan Lips of the Heritage Foundation, at the staggering price of $10,000 for each child, the Department of Health and Human Services “found zero lasting benefits” for the enrollees. Throwing billions at the problem in the form of federally-funded preschool will not help the low income families that Head Start targets; on the contrary, it will divert funds and attention from those that need it most to middle class families that neither need it nor want it: over three quarters of children are already enrolled in preschool programs, according to Chester E. Finn Jr., and close to 80% of these are enrolled in privately owned institutions. Why, then, is a new program necessary? The answer is that the program is not necessary for anything other than Democratic political goals. The obvious political advantages of backing such a program (“Rand Paul hates kids!”) are noteworthy, but the long term strategy, as we saw with the Affordable Care Act, is to force more money out of one constituency and into another.

As any good leftist would tell you, though, money is not as important as social engineering. The administration is interested not in giving kids a bright future. It is only interested in assuring that children are raised in a manner acceptable to the regime. MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry summed up the left’s stand on children very succinctly last year when she spoke about the need to “break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” Of the many things the left wants to abolish, families are at the top of the list, and the collective has decided that schools are the to be the first targets. Federally funded and mandated preschool not only gets kids on the government teat at an early age, it assures that the administration will have access to these malleable minds sooner than ever before. This forced collectivism is inherently wrong. Only parents should decide how their child is raised – not the monolith in D.C.

As we’ve seen with the Common Core implementation, a national curriculum cannot be the one-size-fits-all solution. Federalism exists partly to give the many peoples of this land a say in how their local government works. A student in Boise will not learn in the same way as a student from Miami, and trying to squeeze them both into one program will help no one. Parents in Texas don’t want President Obama to design their third grader’s math homework just as much as parents in Massachusetts didn’t want President Bush writing their child’s English exams. If the government wants to help our education system, it should focus on state governments, where programs can be tailored to smaller cohorts. Doing so on a federal level is both unfair to taxpayers and to the students that have suddenly found themselves turned into political pawns. Letting families choose how their children are educated may not be perfect, but it is the right thing to do, both fiscally and morally. Disagree? Feel free – only Republicans hate children, after all.

Contact Anthony Tamburro at [email protected].