When politicians call for "universal pre-kindergarten schooling" (UPreK) , every voter should beware. Does those politicians calling for UPreK really care for either children or education? Or, do those politicians really care for the votes that being pro-UPreK can register in the ballot box?
Consider the candidate for (and likely, next) Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.
New York's public school systems is the nation's largest and candidate de Blasio advocates UPreK. Taking his cue from President Obama who advocated UPreK in his 2013 State of the Union Address, de Blasio argues that the long-term educational benefits of UPreK far outweigh the long-term social and economic costs to taxpayers today.
In a Wall Street Journal article, the President of the Townsend Group, Red Jahncke, writes that de Blasio's assessment is, well, balderdash.
Jahncke states that de Blasio's plan to implement UPreK in New York City includes:
- raising taxes on the city's rich to collect $530M annually mostly to fund full-day UPreK; and,
- directing that money to 68k lower-income New York City children, most of whom already attend publicly-funded PreK either full- (2k) or part-time (38k) at a current annual cost of about $190M.
In short, de Blasio would nearly triple the annual cost of PreK for the same children. Yet, empirical research doesn't indicate that investing in "high-quality" UPreK, as both de Blasio and President Obama envision it, will yield the benefits both envision for tomorrow.
What both men are really advocating is putting college-educated, certified public school teachers who are paid comparably to K-12 staff to provide instruction in small class sizes where a rigorous curriculum is implemented.
Considering that fact, The Motley Monk wonders whether all of those calls for UPreK are really promoting what's nothing more than a thinly-disguised "jobs program." Looking at what all of those college-educated, certified public school teachers have not been able to accomplish in New York City's troubled schools, those agitating for UPreK should advertise it as "cash for clunkers."
Let the discussion begin...
To read Red Jahncke's article in the Wall Street Journal, click on the following link:
"The 'Universal Pre-K' Fallacy."