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Monday, April 23, 2018

Industry official urges government to buy more of its product

"Let’s protect children against disadvantage with early education," read the headline in the Hill.

Was this an objective conclusion by an independent observer based on unbiased research?

Oh heck no.

The column was by Anne Douglass. She is an associate professor of Early Care and Education at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

She also is the founding executive director of the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation. The Hill included a pitch for her latest book, "Leading For Change In Early Care And Education: Cultivating Leadership from Within."

Early education is her product. Her pitch is that it early education will cure all the ills of society.

"Early childhood educators can have an exponential impact on the lives of very young children and their families. We must recognize them as the experts they are, and invest in their life-transforming impact. Many of tomorrow’s challenges — rates of employment, overall health, and community connectedness — could be significantly mitigated by investing in ways to ensure that every child has access to high quality early care and education," she wrote.

That's nice.

We have had early childhood education for children living in poverty for 53 years.

It is called Head Start.

She did not mention Head Start. She should have.

But there was a reason she did not mention Head Start.

She began her column with the award of $250,000 in foundation money to the city of Danbury, Connecticut, to determine why the dropout rates in that town are so high. She also mentioned a $30 million award to Harvard and MIT "to develop a digital screening tool to identify kindergartners who will have difficulty learning to read."

Douglass was dismissive.

"Both are worthy and interesting endeavors. But both are asking questions for which we already have the answers. In Danbury, more than half of students live in poverty and qualify for either reduced-price lunches at school (an annual income of $45,510 for a family of four) or free lunch ($31,980 for a family of four). In truth, it’s no mystery why Danbury’s students lag behind their wealthier suburban peers, and Danbury Schools Superintendent Sal Pascarella said as much in a News Times story about the grant," Douglass wrote.

The early education professor said the solution was early education.

But Danbury already has a Head Start program.

If early childhood education were the magic cure, then children raised in poverty would be just as likely to succeed as children raised in privilege.

I am not saying scrap Head Start because it isn't perfect. Far from it. Keep it.

But instead of promoting more of a limited solution, let us explore other things.

Why not teach parents to be better parents?

Why not require Sunday school (or temple or mosque) for children?

Why not promote (ugh) soccer?

Why not unplug the television sets?

Why not look at the habits of the suburbanites and pass them along to the ghetto kids?

I am not opposed to early education.

I am opposed to overselling it for private financial gain. And yes, Douglas makes money off this industry. There is nothing wrong with making money or promoting your trade.

Just be honest about its limitations, OK?


  1. Head Start is no more than government funded daycare. It does not work. Is a waste of money and should be abolished. Head Start produces no long term benefits.

  2. This dude is right. Every long term study I recall has shown no benefit.

    The main reason people support early ed is to create "teaching" jobs--remember, they end up learning nothing-- and providing government daycare for women who would be better off caring for their children.

    How about one government program designed to strengthen families? A Father In The Home Act?

    That would give us some benefits.

  3. I worked on the first head start project in LA in 1966. A few weeks after it began the Watts riots inundated the places we were working in flames.
    A culture of optimiatic will to achieve far away goals must always preceed, then accompany, education, which is itself hard and must be life long to produce any memorable result. There was very little such will in Watts in 1966 except to destroy the place and loot it of it's meager possessions.
    But in truth,There is no optimistic side to liberalism,except to become a successful looter of your neighbor's stuff. These virtue signalling programs are always heavy with bureaucracy and are really designed to improve the financial position of their creators as they move on up to more ornate job titles, usually beginning in the word "Dean". The cultural substrate necessary for their success is always ignored or belittled because it is an inconvenient truth as someone once said.

  4. Head Start is free day care for inner city kids. My mom was a social worker when that program was first launched. It didn't do anything close to teaching. Who are these people kidding.

  5. It's all about money and power through indoctrination. The destruction of the nuclear family through absent fathers and working mothers combined with the Marxist march through our institutions have destroyed a generation or more of our children.

    Early childhood education should be the responsibility of parents - two parents. Once a child is prepared for school they should be taught reading and math skills and history from a patriotic viewpoint. Our current crop of educators should be dismissed as they are a complete failure, and throwing more money down the education rathole simply produces more rats. - Elric

  6. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will determine success or lack of it, in life more than IQ. You can throw all the money in the world at whatever for children and it won't raise their IQ. It is genetic.

  7. I remember vividly hearing my parents speak badly of my mother's uncle because he and his wife had somehow got their daughter enrolled in Head Start in 1962. He was a regional VP of Sales for a major heavy equipment company, and made a boatload of money.

  8. How's 'bout getting the Lefties out of education, teacher unions included, and returning it to local districts?

    1. Give the man a cigar! Teachers' unions are THE worst thing to ever happen to education. By the very nature of the job - and the benefits of keeping education at the local level - teachers must be "at will" employees, directly answerable to local school boards and parents. - Elric