1.  Statement of my beliefs about pre-school education


2.  Article by Mark Horne:  Daycare or Early Childhood Education


3.  Article from the Wall Street Journal The Dispiriting Evidence on Preschool


4.  Article from the Cato Institute  Race to the Cradle


5.  Article from the American Thinker Preschools Using Marxist Theories


6.  Wendy Davis' Attempt to Sneak Universal Pre-K into Texas


7.  Houston Do Gooders Want the State (YOU) to Pay for Pre-K


8.  Chronicle Article About Greg Abbott's Hopes for Pre-K


9.  Report from The Daily Signal


10. John Rosemond's Column on PreK








Here is a quote from a recent article (February 2013) by David Brooks in the New York Times:   "The big federal early childhood program, Head Start, has been chugging along since 1965, and the outcomes are dismal. Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution summarizes the findings of the most rigorous research: "There is no measurable advantage to children in elementary school of having participated in Head Start. Further, children attending Head Start remain far behind academically once they are in elementary school. Head Start does not improve the school readiness of children from low-income families."


And yet, liberals everywhere are pushing Pre-K programs for not only disadvantaged children (read their parents don't take the time to read to them), but for everyone else's children as well.  The certainty here is that the GOVERNMENT realizes that the sooner they get their hands and philosophies on our children, the sooner their will may be imposed on the populace.



The following articles point out many of the problems inherent in these programs.


Here is yet another bogus "report" prepared by those who have a vested interest in having pre-school programs.  This time it's the elementary principals' association.  How dumb do they think we are?


Read this one instead.  It's based on empirical research!

The Case Against Government Preschool – Myths vs. Facts

Karen R. Effrem MD

EdWatch Director of Government Relations


INTRODUCTION:  The pork-laden federal stimulus law contains $53.6 billion for education including early childhood education and  $2.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start.  Another $2 billion was added to the Child Care and Development Block Grant, including $93.7 million for childcare quality activities.  Despite massive budget deficits, many states like Minnesota are still trying to spend more on these wasteful, ineffective, and invasive programs.

Although lacking evidence of effectiveness and political popularity, early childhood education has become the new silver bullet answer of the education cartel to solve America’s education woes.  Unfortunately, liberals and teachers unions with their desires for more funding and more control over families have been joined by big business, with its insatiable appetite for more workers, including mothers, and for government subsidies, in this case to cover employees’ childcare costs.  These businesses, along with allegedly conservative politicians and big government economists have gotten on the bandwagon of having childcare turned into another government education program funded by the taxpayers.   

The following is part one of excerpts from a presentation given by this author at a “citizen jury” conducted at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs in the spring of 2008.  Citizens were asked to decide about the benefits and necessity of expanding these programs in the state of Minnesota.  Proponents of expanded government control over the minds and hearts of our youngest citizens had nearly three full days to present their case.  This author, as the only opponent of this idea had 30 minutes.  Despite the very lopsided ratio of presentation time, the assembled citizens were deadlocked in their decision – 1/3 supporting preschool, 1/3 opposing it, and 1/3 undecided.

This lack of enthusiasm for preschool is a microcosm of what is true for much larger populations.  In 2006, for example, there was a statewide ballot initiative in California to tax the rich, those making more than $400,000 per year individually or $800,000 per couple, to fund universal preschool in that state.  Despite it being in liberal California, in what was essentially a Democratic primary and an off-year election, after millions of dollars of campaigning by proponents, the measure failed by twenty percentage points.

This will be the first of several parts laying out the scientific, academic, economic, and developmental problems with government expansion of early childhood education and related programs. The entire presentation is available here. We will first show the massive distortions of data used by economists, researchers, and governments to mislead people into thinking there is a crisis in preschool education:

MYTH:  Brain Research Shows that Children Won’t Develop Normally Without Education from Birth

“The brain development researchers will tell you that in the most stressful environments the damage to the brain is the most severe; waiting until the child turns three is too late.” – Art Rolnick

FACT:  There is NO Neuroscience Evidence Showing the Necessity of Early Childhood Education (ECE)

“Assertions that the die has been cast by the time the child enters school are not supported by neuroscience evidence and can create unwarranted pessimism about the potential efficacy of interventions that are initiated after the preschool years.” - Jack Schonkoff and Deborah Phillips, ed., From Neurons to Neighborhoods:  The Science of Early Childhood Development, National Academy Press, 2000, p. 216  (Note: This study is frequently quoted by proponents of ECE, but it is very interesting that this quote never seems to make it into the discussion)


“But there is already plenty of evidence that the biggest obstacle to learning is the belief that one cannot learn. By encouraging parents and teachers to accept this self-fulfilling prophecy, your story with its imagery of windows of opportunity slamming shut, may well do more to stunt children's futures than any deficiencies in their early upbringing. So far as we know, it is never too late for a child to get on the path to learning.” - Dr. Seymour Pappert, Lego Professor of Learning Research at MIT, and Dr. Daniel Dennett, Director of the Tufts University Center for Cognitive Studies (Newsweek, 3/11/96, p.15)


MYTH: Large number of children in Minnesota and the US are inadequately prepared for kindergarten.

“Minnesota has a readiness test right now and fifty percent of our kids do not pass that test. Most of those kids fall behind and never catch up. We've got pretty good data on that.” – Art Rolnick

 FACT:  The studies are suspect and there is no “readiness” crisis in Minnesota or nationally.

“We know that three, four, and five years olds are very poor test takers… you know they have their own agendas, their own personalities, their own timelines, and they don’t have the personal skills to sit for testing sometimes.  And sometimes they lack language skills to truly explain what they know.  They also haven’t learned the social skills or the social rules for test taking.  So, with any assessment of young children, we have to recognize the limitations of the data we have... So, with work sampling or with other kinds of observational assessments, you might wonder about the quality of the observation that the teacher did.  And we might wonder about the conclusions that the teacher inferred from the observations.  Are they accurate?  Is that child really demonstrating a proficient or is it really in process?  We wonder about those kinds of things with performance based assessments.  With other testing, we might wonder if the testing day was a good day or a bad day for the child.  We might wonder, ‘Did he sleep well last night?’  Did he have breakfast this morning?  All those things might have an impact on how the child might behave if it is a good day.” - Tracey Wallace, Kindergarten Readiness Assessment supervisor, House Early Childhood Learning Finance Committee, 2/2/07


 “The Minnesota School Readiness Study found that between 90 percent and 97 percent of Minnesota five-year-olds were ‘In Process’ or ‘Proficient’ in five developmental areas necessary for success: physical development, the arts, personal and social development, language and literacy, and mathematical thinking.” – Minnesota Department of Education press release 4/2/08


National Study:

94% are proficient at recognizing numbers, shapes, and counting to ten

92% are eager to learn

97% are in good health

82% basic pre-literacy skills such as knowing that print is read from left to right. 

(America’s Kindergartners - NCES 2000-070, February, 2000)


FACT:  Readiness Assessments and Scores Can Have Negative Consequences

“Because children develop and grow along a continuum with great variability, the goal of these studies is to assess children s proficiency within and across these developmental domains and not establish whether or not children are ready for school with the use of a composite ready or not ready score. Young children develop rapidly and at varying rates across the domains, and an early, definitive determination of readiness can have unintended negative consequences” – Minnesota Department of Education 2006 Readiness Study Report at, pg 7


Lest anyone think I was picking on the Baptist church's education
program, here's a story on the same day (3/3/99) from the This Week
Section of the Houston Chronicle about the pre-school at Bear Creek
Methodist Church. (I'm a Methodist of the back sliding variety, and
after reading this article, I remember why I don't go there anymore.) I
howled all the way through this. Even though it is long, I highly
recommend reading it for its entertainment value--as well as a very
clear explanation of the purposes of the NAEYC.

Headline:  BCUM Gives Youths Room to Grow, Involves Parents, Too

by Mary Aucoin  This Week Correspondent

What started out as an outreach program for frazzled working parents of
young preschool children 15 years ago at Bear Creek United Methodist
Church has blossomed into a full-fledged children's program.

The Bear Creek United Methodist Church School, headed by director Martha
Smith since its inception, provides care for its children, which range
in age from 6 months to kindergarten.(sic)

"Our church really wanted to make good use of its space during the week,
and not just have it occupied on the weekends only," said Smith.

"At our school, the children learn based on the knowledge they already
have, and we build on that level.  In other words, as they reach one
level of learning, they are then moved to a higher, more advanced
level." [One has to wonder what happens to the 6 month old kids!]

Before the children arrive each day, teachers already have prepared the
room for the events that will take place.  One table will be set up as
an open-ended art project, (sic) there are sand and water tables for
measuring, a book center and a homemaking center.  All of the classrooms
have listening labs where children can wear headphones and listen to

We believe that children learn more, and better, by becoming involved in
the processes of things we are teaching them, Smith said.

"What you don't see at our school is mimeographed work, or patterned
kind (sic) of work.  Studies have shown that creativity in children is
lost by the age of 8 years, and we want to foster growth in the children
as much as possible.  Right now the kids are learning to paint with
marbles and also doing block painting. They have so much more fun
because the work is their own.

Smith said she believes the paper-and-pencil method of learning may be
damaging to small children in that "they can compare their work to
another student's work in the class.  This can be very harmful to the
child's self-esteem if she or he has not mastered a particular skill as
well as that of a fellow student.  [And God forbid that any egos get

"We believe in offering all types of experiential levels because all
children advance at their own pace.  We have 3-year-olds who are
interested in letters and numerals.  We have 4-year-olds who are
interested in reading.  Writing centers are provided in all classrooms,
so that if there are children in the room who are ready to go to a
print-rich environment, it is there and ready for them to learn from and

The school is open to all children, but not all age groups are
ministered to each day.

"We offer an inclusive environment," said Smith.  The school worked with
KISD years ago in conjunction with the district's Project TYKE program
by accepting children with special needs.  Smith said, "Because we
worked so closely with the Project TYKE program, which has since been
changed to home environments, we still accept children with special

All teachers are degreed, certified teachers licensed by the state of

One of the more popular programs offered by the school is the Dads'
Night program, where fathers come to the school for a pizza party and
then into the classrooms with their children. The fathers are given an
abbreviated version of their child's day in school by being able to
participate in circle time, quiet time, art time, etc.  Showcased on one
wall are pictures that the fathers drew of their children, placed next
to pictures that the children drew of their fathers.  "Our fathers seem
to enjoy this program just as much as their children do," she said.

Smith gives high marks to all of her staff, and credits them with the
success of the school.

"Many of my teachers have been with me from Day One. They are not here
for the money, they are here because they passionately love working with
and teaching children.  Many of them are former full-time teachers who
quit work to have their children, and now that their kids are in school
they wanted to return to the classroom on a part-time basis.  We are
more like a tight-knit family, which makes it a supportive, caring
learning environment for the children."

Ashley Hanigan, 9, a former student of the school, said, "I really liked
coming here because it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot of things.
Everybody is really nice here."  Her brother Michael presently attends
kindergarten at the school.  "My favorite thing about school is the
centers," he said.

Subjects like math are taught in such a manner to make it a fun
experience rather than a threatening one.

"We use a manipulative math program that is very hands-on," Smith said.
"They do graphing and gridding with colors, to make it visual.  They
have a calendar in the room.  Whoever is helper of the day gets to pop
the balloon for yesterday, because yesterday is gone and then they blow
up a new balloon for the new day.  There are numerous ways to teach
children math concepts besides using flashcards."

As an example, the children are counting days of the year on the board.
For the 101st Day, all of the students made T-shirts with 101 dots on

Bear Creek United Methodist Church School is licensed and accredited by
the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  Said
Smith, "We were the 10th facility in Houston to be accredited.  In order
to receive accreditation from this association, you must meet much more
vigorous [could that be RIGOROUS maybe?] requirements than simple
licensing.  It looks at a lot of the health and safety issues of the
school, but more in depth at your teacher training, teacher-student
interaction, the kind of curriculum your school is offering and
student-teacher ratios."

To celebrate the Easter season, the parents are putting on an Easter
play for the children, rather than the other way around.

"The parents have so much fun with this," said Smith. [I wasn't aware
that the crucifixion of Christ was something parents could have "fun"
with! Oh yeah, this one is probably about bunnies!]  "Because we are
not full day-care, most of our parents don't
work and we do get a lot of parent involvement every day.  They are
always welcome in the classrooms, regardless of what is going on."

Another unique aspect of this school is what is known as the transition
room, designed for youths who are old enough to be in kindergarten, but
whose parents feel they need one more year to grow or mature before
entering kindergarten.  According to Smith, the room is not [used] for any lack
of cognitive ability, it is usually for social, emotional or physical
reasons. [!]

"Childhood is a precious time and some children need to play a little
bit longer than others before being ready to seriously begin learning,"
she said.

"Last Thanksgiving, we put on a special hands-on program that the
children were involved with for 3-4 days. We had a center set up where
we had a Mayflower so they could see what it looked like.  The foods
that were eaten back then were prepared for the children so they could
taste how different many of the foods were back then with what they are
accustomed to eating today.  Native American games were played, a
pottery center was established where they could work with clay to make
crafts.  A story teller came and told a Native American folk story and
then we had a story teller talk about what the families brought with
them when they came over to the United States."  [One has to wonder
about those Native American games and just how many of the "United
States" there were when the Mayflower landed!]

"For the children, when they realized that there were children their age
that actually rode the Mayflower and were there for a long period of
time with maybe only one toy to play with, it helped them to better
understand how advanced the world has become today.  Children have to
relate to what they know, and we felt this was a good way to help them
absorb a little of American history and yet have fun at the same time,"
she said.

Smith said, "Children are under incredible pressure right now.  Instead
of learning to love to learn, they are faced with pressures from all
directions far too early in life.  Children are eager to please, and we
are trying to instill in them a love of learning.

For more information, call 281-463----.

[Please note the part where he tells how the Headstart Program is a miserable failure doing absolutely nothing for 
underpriviledged who have attended this massive Federal Government program! MM]

Early education efforts work where families fail

David Brooks says the Republicans need to get behind Obama's proposal to expand federal programs that can help teach children how to succeed.
By DAVID BROOKS | February 15, 2013 | Updated: February 15, 2013 7:18pm
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David Brooks (CREDIT: Josh Haner/The New York Times) / NYT
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David Brooks (CREDIT: Josh Haner/The New York Times) / NYT

Today millions of American children grow up in homes where they don't learn the skills they need to succeed in life. Their vocabularies are tiny. They can't regulate their emotions. When they get to kindergarten they've never been read a book, so they don't know the difference between the front cover and the back cover.

But, starting a few decades ago, we learned that preschool intervention programs could help. The efforts were small and expensive, but early childhood programs like the Perry and Abecedarian projects made big differences in kids' lives. The success of these programs set off a lot of rhapsodic writing, including by me, about the importance of early childhood education. If government could step in and provide quality preschool, then we could reduce poverty and increase social mobility.

But this problem, like most social problems, is hard. The big federal early childhood program, Head Start, has been chugging along since 1965, and the outcomes are dismal. Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution summarizes the findings of the most rigorous research: "There is no measurable advantage to children in elementary school of having participated in Head Start. Further, children attending Head Start remain far behind academically once they are in elementary school. Head Start does not improve the school readiness of children from low-income families."

Fortunately, that is not the end of the story. Over the past several years, there's been a flurry of activity, as states and private groups put together better early childhood programs. In these programs, the teachers are better trained. There are more rigorous performance standards. The curriculum is better matched to the one the children will find when they enter kindergarten.

These state programs, in places like Oklahoma, Georgia and New Jersey, have not been studied as rigorously as Head Start. There are huge quality differences between different facilities in the same state or the same town. The best experts avoid sweeping conclusions. Nonetheless, there's a lot of evidence to suggest that these state programs can make at least an incremental difference in preparing children for school and in getting parents to be more engaged in their kids' education.

These programs do not perform miracles, but incremental improvements add up year by year and produce significantly better lives.

Enter President Barack Obama. This week he announced the most ambitious early childhood education expansion in decades. On Thursday morning, early education advocates were sending each other ecstatic emails. They were stunned by the scope of what Obama is proposing. But, on this subject, it's best to be hardheaded. So I spent Wednesday and Thursday talking with experts and administration officials, trying to be skeptical. Does the president's plan merely expand the failing federal effort or does it focus on quality and reform? Is the president trying to organize a bloated centralized program or is he trying to be a catalyst for local experimentation?

So far the news is very good. Obama is trying to significantly increase the number of kids with access to early education. The White House will come up with a dedicated revenue stream that will fund early education projects without adding to the deficit. These federal dollars will be used to match state spending, giving states, many of whom want to move aggressively, further incentive to expand and create programs.

But Washington's main role will be to measure outcomes, not determine the way states design their operations. Washington will insist that states establish good assessment tools. They will insist that pre-K efforts align with the K-12 system. But beyond that, states will have a lot of latitude.

Should early education centers be integrated with K-12 school buildings or not? Should the early childhood teachers be unionized or certified? Obama officials say they want to leave those sorts of questions up to state experimentation. "I'm just about building quality," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told me. The goal is to make the federal oversight as simple as possible.

That's crucial. There's still a lot we don't know about how to educate children that young. The essential thing is to build systems that can measure progress, learn and adapt to local circumstances. Over time, many children will migrate from Head Start into state programs.

This is rude to say, but here's what this is about: Millions of parents don't have the means, the skill or, in some cases, the interest in building their children's future. Early childhood education is about building structures so both parents and children learn practical life skills. It's about getting kids from disorganized homes into rooms with kids from organized homes so good habits will rub off. It's about instilling achievement values where they are absent.

Obama has taken on a big challenge in a realistic and ambitious way. If Republicans really believe in opportunity and local control, they will get on board.

Brooks is a columnist for The New York Times.