We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Her argument comes down to something like "It might maybe help kids from low-functioning families a tiny bit for a year or two." Weak argument. Don't have kids if you can not raise them well, teach them well. We already have free government birth control...
Wrong, because the true Progressive argument is more unionized "teaching" jobs. We all know that "Pre-K" is a euphemism for babysitting. Prosperous moms use nursery school so they have time to volunteer, get to the gym, and play tennis. And, of course, to get a break from the brats.
"Education"? Well, if your parents can't teach you to speak, count, add, or recite the alphabet, you are in trouble anyway. Blame your parent(s) for a crappy start in life, and get yourself going.
It was not me but "The Barrister" who widened the scope of the discussion with his sweeping statement: "if your parents can't teach you to speak, count, add, or the alphabet, you are in trouble anyway. Blame your parents."
For the record, I too think "Pre-K" is simply "glorified babysitting". We have it here in Ontario and at parties and gatherings, I generally annoy teachers by asking, "If twelve long years of elementary- and secondary-school education isn't enough to produce a useful graduate, how will Pre-K help?"
And I have nothing against private schools at all. But most people simply can't afford them and so, in terms of providing the general population with a comprehensive education, they're largely moot.
"Not every parent has the time or the ability...". What nonsense. It's more a question of whether or not you use the time you have with your children to help them. Talk to them - a lot. When you're dressing them, tell them what they are wearing (leggings, overalls, etc.) and the colours. When you're out with them, talk about what you're seeing - buses, cars, trucks. Counting - use stairs. That doesn't take ability; it takes a commitment to help your child.
I sometimes felt like an idiot babbling on to our offsprings, especially in public, but it worked. They acquired the words to explain what they saw and did. Now we're watching the next generation grow up, all of whom wince at Grandad's rendition of the alphabet song. But they all are learning the alphabet.
You have to intervene nine months before birth to get any results.
American schools do remarkabley well. Just about the best in the world. Yet even they do not have much effect. Liberals and conservatives both keep thinking that "well, it just must help," each with a different vision of how they would do it even better. But it doesn't help. No environmental interventions have been shown to elevate abilities more than a few points. It's 50% definitely genetic, 5% demonstrably environmental, and thus 45% chance.
I still don't get why this is so hard for people to believe, when the evidence for it is so longstanding and overwhelming. Everyone wants environment to be true and has been trying to find any scraps of evidence that it is for at least fifty years. Yet all of these bright people can't come up with actual evidence that can't be easily shot down. Why is the evidence so elusive, when everyone is trying so hard to manufacture it, do you think?
Assistant Village Idiot
Better pre-K now at public expense than prisons later. Some kids need less exposure to their parents.
Pre-school used to be short (a few hours a day) and a place to socialize with other gives/give moms a break. Nowadays, they want preschool to do what kindergarten used to be for. It's craziness. Let kids be kids.
I didn't go to preschool, yet knew how to read at 4. My mother did not obsessively show me flashcards or anything, I just figured it out with my big sister helping me.
My son was stubborn. He did not want to learn anything from me. He reluctantly learned a handful of letters and would write only the first letter of his name. I did not have him in pre-school. He played for most of his 4-year-old existence. Got into the 'low level' kindergarten and in 6 weeks had taught himself how to read.
It is all about the parents. Be a good parent. Read to your kids. Provide them with a loving home. Talk to them. Interact with them on a daily basis. Explore the world with them. They will learn without you doing more than that.
Preschool nowadays seems to be a place where they try to catch up for parent failings. Some people are just not that smart and don't really do a whole lot with their kids. But guess what? We need low-level workers as much as college-level workers.
Being brilliant at 4 means nothing in the big picture. Have a decent kindergarten program and the kid will be okay.
Where I'm from I notice that pre-K and even K is mostly a excuse for the mom to get back to a double income household. It's an unnecessary double income except that the parents are in debt up to their eye balls from a life style that's above their pay grade. These aren't widows and abandoned mothers. These are middle class people living in upper class fantasies.
Going to work everyday is much easier than raising kids at home, so when they get the chance they drop off those kids to strangers and run for the hills. They would do it with a six month old baby if it was "free".