Browsing articles in "Early Education/Nanny State"
Mar 5, 2018
ELW

The National Pulse: Progressives Renew Push for Nanny State Programs — Despite Poor Results

Home Visiting to the Rescue?

Because the mountain of evidence continues to show that preschool is not particularly effective, progressives in both parties are pushing home visiting programs to replace them. The author of a recent piece at the Fordham Institute blog used the cloying and inaccurate “parable” of rescuers (the education reformers) using home visiting to pluck vulnerable children whose family poverty had caused them to be thrown into a river of neurodevelopmental delay, word gaps, achievement gaps, and other horrors that can only be fixed by sending bureaucrats into the home to tell their benighted parents how to raise them.

Here are several reasons why this analogy and analysis are incorrect:

  • Experts in neuropsychology and neurodevelopment admit that there is no 0-3 or 0-5 critical period beyond which it is too late to help vulnerable children. Here is an inconvenient truth from a report considered foundational to the pro-preschool and pro-home visiting camp, especially the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, called “Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development”:

    Available evidence indicates that such critical periods are more exceptional than typical in human development. 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.

  • As shown by the Tennessee study, The Atlantic article, and other research, a focus on kindergarten readiness in preschool is not only not helpful, but also actually harmful to longer-term academic achievement. The Atlantic article mentions Finland’s approach of not starting formal reading instruction until age 7 and instead focusing on making sure that “children have heard and listened … They have spoken and been spoken to, people have discussed [things] with them … They have asked questions and received answers.” The American system, focused on pushing academics in kindergarten and preschool due to Common Core, is skewed and harmful — as admitted by hundreds of early childhood experts.
  • Home visiting programs in general are not effective, and this is especially true of the Parent-Child Home Program mentioned in the “parable” article. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has shown in repeated reviews that this program is not helpful in improving child development or school readiness — even if improving school readiness were a good thing to do — and that the program as of 2017 does not even meet HHS criteria as a program rigorous enough to review.
  • Home visiting programs do not deal with the root cause of the problem they are trying to solve: single parent families. Poverty is merely a proxy measure for the enormous and tragic consequences of this government-created crisis. Sending bureaucrats into the home will never solve all of the horrific consequences of growing up without two parents replete in the social service literature.

Read the full article HERE.

Jan 30, 2018
ELW

The National Pulse: It’s Time for Congress to End These Federal Intrusions into Preschool

That this program [Preschool Development Grants] has not received any funding is very good news, and there are several important reasons that Congress should refuse further funding during budget negotiations. The two most important are the federal interference that is very present, despite Politico’s claim and the flowery language in the bill, and the continued ineffectiveness, academic and emotional harm of preschool programs in general, especially Head Start.

As I wrote at the time ESSA was being drafted:

The grants require alignment to Head Start and the Child Development Block Grants that in turn require [in eleven different places in the current Head Start statute, such as Section 642B(a)(2)(B)(iii)] national preschool standards. These standards are being correlated and aligned to the K-12 Common Core by national organizations and states like California.  They include very controversial and subjective psychosocial standards like gender identity (p. 27), creating a “Baby Common Core.” (See more details on the problematic language HERE.)

This alignment language to Head Start completely negates the “no federal interference” for the grant language in ESSA. These federal standards are in large part social emotional, which makes them even more controversial than the K-12 Common Core standards, which are for the academic subjects of reading and math. Having the federal government require a grant program to align to a federal law that imposes content standards on essentially every pre-k program in the country is the epitome of federal interference. Perpetrating this scheme of such overt federal control of K-12 standards would have created an enormous uproar. It is a complete mystery why constitutional conservatives allowed it during the 2007 reauthorization of Head Start.

Read more HERE.

The National Pulse: Invasive Plan to Data Mine Preschoolers Globally Draws International Criticism

by Dr. Karen Effrem, MD

Back in February, both Education Liberty Watch and American Principles Project warned about and submitted comments to The Federal Register opposing U.S. participation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) latest ill-advised and invasive International Early Learning Study (IELS). This is a new scheme to extend international standardized testing, social-emotional profiling, and data mining via tablets.   See the full article at: Invasive Plan to Data Mine Preschoolers Globally Draws International Criticism

 

Jul 28, 2017
ELW

The Pulse – Congress Ignores Obvious Problems with State-Run Preschool at Hearing

 

Dr. Effrem’s latest article at the National Pulse discusses a recent U.S. House education subcommittee hearing on preschool that except for one courageous congressman, Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-VA), completely failed to mention the utter failure of Head Start and other government preschool programs. Here is an excerpt:

The Failure of Head Start and State-Run Preschool

The 2012 follow-up study that followed the same children as in the 2010 study through third grade instead of stopping at first grade also found no benefits of Head Start after the preschool year(s):

Looking across the full study period, from the beginning of Head Start through 3rd grade, the evidence is clear that access to Head Start improved children’s preschool outcomes across developmental domains, but had few impacts on children in kindergarten through 3rd grade.

The 2010 and 2012 studies are just two examples of literally hundreds of government studies showing the failure and/or harm of Head Start. This sampling dates back to 1985 and includes a government review of 600 studies from 1997 that could not find any benefit of the program, saying:

The body of research on current Head Start is insufficient to draw conclusions about the impact of the national program.

This of course does not even begin to discuss the numerous studies showing ineffectiveness, fade-out of beneficial effects, and actual academic and emotional harm of preschool programs other than Head Start. And despite what Rep. Polis says, quality of the Head Start program makes no difference.  The 2014 study of Head Start examined the effect of quality on program outcomes and found:

We find little evidence that quality matters to impacts of Head Start using the available quality measures from the study across two age cohorts, three quality dimensions, five outcomes, and several years. The one exception is that for 3-year-old program entrants low exposure quality, defined as less exposure to academic activities during Head Start participation, produces better behavioral impacts in the short-run than more exposure to academic activities. Even so, there is no indication that either high quality Head Start or low quality Head Start in any dimension leads to program impacts lasting into third grade. [Emphasis added]

It is also important to remember that concept of “quality preschool” leading to better outcomes is only a myth:

The hearing witness from Minnesota, Ericca Maas, represents the organization that has been pushing that state’s scholarship program based on the ratings of the QRIS for several years. To receive a 3- or 4-star rating in Minnesota system, required for parents to use state scholarship funds with that provider, the provider must use Minnesota’s early childhood content standards that until this year discussed gender identity and environmentalism with children as young as three. The new version still discusses the environment and adds in family structure diversity under the still subjective and controversial social emotional category.

It is interesting to note that even though Minnesota’s statist model to impose these controversial standards on private, religious, and family childcare programs is lauded by pre-K proponents as a model for the feds to fund and for states to emulate, when asked during the hearing if the program has closed achievement gaps, Maas admitted unequivocally that it had not (1:17:08).

As Congress works on the budget, it is important to remind your representative and senators about the abject failure of government pre-K and home visiting programs and in the current $20 trillion debt, increasing the funding for Head Start, as is currently being proposed in the House appropriations bill makes very little sense.

Read the full article here.

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