As we reported, there were many issues brought up during the Senate confirmation hearing of now Secretary Betsy DeVos that were alarming and disappointing to grassroots parents seeking to protect their children from ever-increasing federal overreach. One very important of those issues is government funded and controlled preschool. Here is what we said:
Preschool – Senator Isakson (R-GA) made the following very alarming statement during the hearing (1:02:55):
“She [Senator Murray] talked about her goal and my goal which we’ve shared with each other, that is to work toward requiring 4 year old prekindergarten for every student in the country…” (Emphasis added).
Thankfully DeVos demurred with her standard, “If confirmed, I look forward to working with you on…” statement. However, given how ineffective, harmful, invasive and expensive these programs are, including in Georgia, expanding preschool like this would be a “disaster” of Trumpian proportions.
Unfortunately, Secretary DeVos did not demure on the issue in her written responses to Senator Murray:
Murray Question 30. Research shows that at-risk children who participate in high-quality preschool programs are dramatically less likely to be retained in school, be placed in special education classes, drop out of high school, or depend on public benefits when they are adults. What will you do to help states expand high-quality, affordable early childhood education programs?
DEVOS ANSWER: Early childhood education is important. This is why it is exciting to see so many states invest in and support early education programs for families. If confirmed, I look forward to working with state and local leaders to support their efforts to provide early childhood education. As you know, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) included the authorization of Preschool Development Grants to help states improve the services they are providing. If confirmed, I will work with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to confirm the efficiency and effectiveness of all early childhood education programs and initiatives. (Emphasis added).
Attorney Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project, writing an open letter opinion piece to her home senator, was also alarmed at Senator Isakson’s questioning during the hearing and the philosophy behind it:
In questioning U.S. Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos at her Senate hearing recently, Sen. Johnny Isakson adopted this children-as-widgets world view. Did Georgians who voted to re-elect the Senator in November realize they endorsed an ally of the statist progressive-education establishment?
There are numerous problems with the idea that education should be designed for workforce development. First, the practical problems – how does the government predict what jobs will exist and what skills they’ll require when students graduate? How does the government determine which students will be interested in which jobs and therefore will need what type of training, especially since many students don’t decide on a career until early adulthood? (Georgia seeks to solve that problem by nudging students toward a “career pathway” as early as grade 6, an approach of self-evident madness.)
Progressive statists also argue that the 21st century changes everything, that it’s now insufficient to give students the classical education – great literature, mathematics, history, science, art – that schools used to offer. But if that education was so deficient, how did men and women who received it go on to establish empires, create breathtaking works of art, generate untold societal wealth, and land on the moon? A student trained for a particular type of job will flounder if he heads in a different direction; a student with a genuine education will be equipped to take on anything.
More profoundly, the workforce-development model ignores that students are human beings, not cogs in a machine. It is, as Professor Anthony Esolen says, “a vision which is strictly utilitarian, man with the soul amputated.” But this is what Common Core and workforce-developers have imposed.
Mrs. Robbins also clearly understands both the ineffectiveness and harm of these programs, as well as the lack of Constitutional authority for them:
It wasn’t clear if he meant requiring toddlers to be sent to preschool, or requiring states to offer such “early learning” to parents who want it.
But either interpretation is troubling. If the former, Isakson clearly isn’t familiar with the studies showing the ineffectiveness of or even harm done by taking little ones from their parents for hours every day. (Yes, some studies suggest otherwise, but experts such as pediatrician Dr. Karen Effrem have demonstrated why their conclusions are flawed. And even if the evidence is mixed, parents have the right to protect their children from any system that may not be in their best interests.) And if he merely meant the federal government should require states to offer preschool to willing participants, where is the federal authority to do that? The Constitution gives the federal government no role – none – in education policy, so Isakson’s suggestion that states should be “required” to do anything is anti-constitutional and therefore anti-conservative.
Preschool is seen by the nanny statists as a prime opportunity to begin the indoctrination process with social emotional learning such as teaching three year olds about gender identity. This subjective and highly sensitive data is then put into a life-long data dossier that employers hope to be able to view to determine whether little Johnny and Susie are on their way to becoming the corporate cogs or “products” as described by our newly sworn in Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson and so well explained by Jane Robbins.
This is yet another critical area where parents will have to clearly and loudly state that to protect the hearts and minds of their children and their own autonomy as parents, they reject the dangerous phrase: “We are from the government and are here to help”!
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