Browsing articles in "Early Education/Nanny State"
Nov 16, 2015

Compilation & Analysis of Early Childhood Research Regarding Effect, Fade Out, Academic & Emotional Harm

Karen. R. Effrem, MD – President

The following compilation of early childhood studies paints a very different picture than the rosy portrait of significant and long lasting benefit put forth by proponents, especially of the new unconstitutional program being put forth in the conference proposal for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  This list contains studies dating back to 1985 and is broken into four categories, with pertinent quotes from different studies being placed into multiple appropriate categories:

1) No or Small Effect  –  There are several studies that tout longer -term success compared to the usual fading out after the preschool year and even statistical significance over control groups of poor children.  However, when more closely examined, their benefits  are not practically significant, they may be explained by other factors like parent involvement, and these programs are too small, too specialized, and or too expensive to be brought to scale.

2) Fade Out – Many studies on this list, including the most recent one from Tennessee, show some improvement in the ephemeral concept of kindergarten readiness, but those benefits are gone by the time the program participant reaches kindergarten to third grade with problematic deterioration in academics an or behavior lasting longer than any perceived benefits.

3) Academic Harm – The quotes listed in this section depict evidence that children participating in these programs actually suffer academic deterioration in later grades, compared to their  peers not participating in these programs.

4) Emotional Harm – The studies in this section show evidence that participation in these programs results in deterioration in the very behaviors that  big government preschool proponents seek to impose on our youngest children.  The emotional distress suffered by children in these programs is likely a prime reason for the epidemic of psychiatric diagnosis and drugging with extremely dangerous and ineffective psychotropic drugs in these children.


Georgia (2015) – The completion of one only one year of baseline data by the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) called, Bright from the Start  caused them to enthusiastically proclaim that participants “progressed at an even greater rate during the time they participated in Georgia’s Pre-K Program than would be expected for normal development growth.” However, the next sentence clearly raises significant doubt: “However, without a comparison group, it is not possible to establish a clear causal link between outcomes and program participation.” (Emphasis added)

Chicago ParentChild Centers (2011) – The study abstract claims, “Findings demonstrate support for the enduring effects of sustained school-based early education to the end of the third decade of life.” The study results were summarized by the Associated Press as follows:

“To be sure, the challenges facing the children in both groups were still insurmountable for many. As adults, the average annual income for those who went to preschool is less than $12,000 and almost half of them had been arrested as adults. As dismal as those outcomes [are], the numbers were still better than for the group that didn’t attend preschool.”

Our analysis reveals statistically significant, but not practically important differences that really need to be examined as to whether they are practically significant and worth the cost and government expansion of preschool programs (The first number is for the preschool CPC kids and the second number is for the comparison group):

Highest grade completed (12.15 vs. 11.88) – This is less than a third of one year difference or less than a semester.

Attendance in a 4-year college (14.7% vs. 11.2%) – This is only a 3.5% difference.

Average annual income in 2007 dollars ($11,582 vs. $10,796) – As noted in the AP story above, both groups, were earning less than $12,000 per year with the preschool group earning only $786 more.

The study admits, “No differences were detected for degree completion, employment, or a combined measure.”

Any arrest (47.9% vs. 54.3%) – Also pointed out in the AP story above, around half of both groups were arrested, though the preschool group was 6% lower.

The study also admits, “No differences were detected for the number of arrests, arrests for violence, or convictions. School-age and extended intervention were unrelated to justice involvement. For public aid and family outcomes, no meaningful differences were found.”

Head Start (2003) –  “Head Start is not fully achieving its stated purpose  of promoting school readiness … Indeed, these low-income children continue to perform significantly below their more advantaged peers in reading and mathematics once they enter school.”  – “Strengthening Head Start: What the Evidence Shows” – US Dept. of HHS, June 2003 

Chicago Parent-Child Centers (2001) – “It is possible that parental involvement explains more of the variance in outcome among inner-city children than do structured programs. . . . If policy makers mistakenly accept the conclusion that preschool intervention results in less criminal activity later, they may mistakenly invest in these programs when the money might be better invested in parenting skill programs and other interventions to increase parental involvement.” – Mathew D. Thompson, “Early Childhood Educational Intervention and Long-Term Developmental Outcomes,” Letters, The Journal of American Medical Association, Vol. 286, No. 15,

Abecedarian Project (1999 Review) – “For these children, a 4.6–point improvement was approximately a 5 percent increase in measured intelligence, an increase hardly noticeable in the classroom or on the job….In the Abecedarian Project, children in the preschool program had IQs 4 to 5 points higher than the children in the control group at ages 12 to 15.  Nonetheless, the early enrichment did not result in these children reaching IQ levels comparable to middle-class children in the community, nor did they reach the national average IQ of 100.” – John Bruer, president, James S. McDonnell Neurosciences Institute, The Myth of the First Three Years, The Free Press, New York

Head Start (1997) – “The body of research on current Head Start is insufficient to draw conclusions about the impact of the national program.”– GAO review of over 600 citations, manuscripts, and studies

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Jul 14, 2015

Horrific Senate NCLB Rewrite Bill Nearing Final Passage!

There were  rumors that the final votes on amendments and passage for the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) could have been as early as Monday or at the latest by Wednesday (July 15th). Apparently because parents and teachers have seen through the shiny but false promises about how this Senate reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), restores state sovereignty and parental control, is an improvement over NCLB, and supposedly lets states out of Common Core and testing mandates, the plan is to finish the bill before more opposition can be raised by those of us who know the truth and oppose this bill.

Details provided in the list by the American Principles Project show how the prohibition on federal involvement with standards are completely false.  This is especially important because presidential candidate Jeb Bush is perpetuating the falsehood that the prohibitions against federal control of standards are real.  In the following audio clip from a conference call with Alabama Republicans, Bush bragged about how he got his good buddy Senator Lamar Alexander to put this prohibition in the Senate bill (listen starting at 2:32).

The problem is that this type of prohibition was already in federal law in three places.  That did not stop the current administration from bribing and blackmailing states to adopt Common Core via the Race to the Top grant program and No Child Left Behind waivers.  In addition neither the old nor the new language contains any enforcement mechanism for the states that are coerced or bribed.  Either Jeb Bush is ignorant of this situation or he is knowingly participating in the deception.  Neither situation reflects well on him, especially since he is running for president and portrays himself as such an education guru.

As we have  chronicled in detail before, the other problems with and dangers of this bill are almost too numerous to count, especially in the areas of  psychological profiling and expansion of federally controlled invasive early childhood programs.  These other problems include:

  • Cementing in of Common Core under the name of College and Career Ready Standards
  • Continuing federal annual testing mandates
  • Keeping the Secretary of Education in Charge of approving state plans
  • Only sham protection against Common Core because there is no enforcement mechanism for the prohibitions against federal interference with standards
  • No repair for the severely weakened and outdated privacy law (FERPA)

These provisions are further evidence that promised protections for states, districts, family autonomy, teacher control and student privacy are false.
The  House passed their NCLB rewrite by a very narrow margin of  218-213 that required much arm twisting. So if and when this Senate bill passes, the two will have to go to conference committee and we will all have to be alert and do our best to continue to educate members of Congress. Please be aware of these issues as you contact your own Senators this week!


Jun 29, 2015

More Dangerous Federal Control with New Preschool Grants within the Every Child Achieves Act

Karen R. Effrem, MD – President of Education Liberty Watch and Executive Director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition

The Every Child Achieve Act’s (ECAA) Early Learning Alignment and Improvement Grants (Sec. 5o10)[1] offer new federal funds to “assist states” to “more efficiently using existing Federal resources to improve, strengthen, and expand existing high-quality early childhood education, as  determined by the State.” Despite the benign and pleasant sounding offer of help and resources to be used as states see fit, these grants greatly expand federal control over preschool as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind have done for K-12.  Here are the problems:

There is no evidence of long-term effectiveness of early childhood programs that justify their great cost, but there is evidence of academic and emotional harm.[2]

Each state applying for a grant must promise to and explain how it will use “existing Federal, State, and local resources and programs that the State will coordinate to meet the purposes of this part, including”… “Head Start”[3] and the “Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).[4]” [Sec. 5902]

Analogous to the Common Core standards incentivized by Race to the Top and the federal mandates for statewide standards and tests required by the 1994 version of the ESEA, there is a rapid spread of statewide or federal early learning standards and early childhood assessment incentivized by the 2011 and 2014 Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (ELC) Grants and mandated by the 2007 Head Start and 2014 Child Care and Development Block Grant reauthorizations.

According to the ELC Collaborative analysis of the ELC grants[5], at least 15 states declared openly that they are aligning their early learning standards to Common Core or admitted that they are aligning to the K-3 standards, which is a de facto admission of Common Core alignment.

Mentioning it eleven times in the legislation, Head Start requires not only every Head Start program, but also every other state pre-k program[6] to fully align to the Head Start Child Outcome Framework,[7] a set of national early childhood standards, which is being correlated to Common Core.[8] Most state standards and the Pearson Work Sampling System (WSS) kindergarten readiness assessment contain similar or identical language to the Head Start framework in its various iterations.  Pearson also admits in its advertising video that the WSS is based on “national standards.”[9] The only national preschool standards that are available are the Head Start Child Outcome Framework. This is federal control of academic content that includes the thoughts and attitudes of our youngest children, and should be concerning regardless of one’s views on any particular topic.  The K-12 Common Core standards promote social emotional goals[10] as well, but are much less overt than the Head Start Child Outcome Framework.

The CCDBG strongly incentivizes[11] a “tiered quality rating system (QRS),” to rate programs and providers. Though portrayed as “voluntary,” many programs, including private and religious programs, comply in order to be competitive in a bad economy for funding and referrals.  In most states, eighty per cent of child care is private.  The main requirement for a top rating in the QRS is use of the state early learning standards that are often far more subjective, controversial, and psychosocially based than those in K-12. This is resulting in a state takeover of private and religious childcare, because now these organizations outside of the state system are being bribed or coerced to teach the public program curriculum in order to get a good rating. Minnesota admitted this in its ELC application.[12] The rating systems themselves are subjective and controversial and lack evidence they will improve child outcomes.[13]

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Dec 30, 2014

Federal Budget Moves Education Control Efforts Down to Pre-K with Race to the Top


Karen R. Effrem, MD – President

The good news is that the recently enacted $1.1 trillion federal budget bill does not fund the K-12 Race to the Top education slush fund at all for the next year.  This is a significant improvement over the average $1 billion/year being spent on this program to implement the Common Core Standards and federally controlled, supervised and funded tests.

The bad news is that fed ed control machine is ramping up it efforts in the pre-K realm.  $250 million from the Race to the Top will now be spent on preschool programs via the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grants and Preschool Development Grants for expansion to a total of 18 states with a total of $750 million more federal spending on early childhood programs:

Development Grants (Year One):

  • Alabama, $17,500,000
  • Arizona, $20,000,000
  • Hawaii, $2,074,059
  • Montana, $10,000,000
  • Nevada, $6,405,860

Total: $55,979,919

Expansion Grants (Year One):

RTT-ELC States:

  • Illinois, $20,000,000
  • Maryland, $15,000,000
  • Massachusetts, $15,000,000
  • New Jersey, $17,498,115
  • Rhode Island, $2,290,840
  • Vermont, $7,231,681

Total: $77,020,636

Non RTT-ELC States (Year One):

  • Arkansas, $14,993,000
  • Connecticut, $12,499,000
  • Louisiana, $2,437,982
  • Maine, $3,497,319
  • New York, $24,991,372
  • Tennessee, $17,500,000
  • Virginia, $17,500,000

Total: $93,418,673

The danger, folly, and expense of these programs has long been documented here, including the Obama administration’s efforts to expand the cradle part of the “cradle to career” programs via Race to the Top:

State of the Union Statistics Mislead on Preschool Benefits
Government Preschool Tyranny “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!”

Early Learning Race to the Top Nationalizes Preschool

Preschool is NOT the Panacea Portrayed in Study

Myths and Facts About Early Childhood Education & Quality Rating Systems (QRSs)

Studies on Effectiveness of Early Childhood Programs

Of particular concern are the Common Core style  standards that focus heavily on subjective, controversial social-emotional topics like gender identity, family composition, environmentalism, social activism, and careers that are then enforced even on private and religious providers via required quality rating systems.  These standards are then linked to the K-12 Common Core standards.  Here are a couple of examples:

Minnesota no longer uses the term “gender identity” which has been defined by a homosexual advocacy law firm as a ” person’s internal, deeply felt sense of being either male or female, or something other or in between. Because gender identity is internal and personally defined, it is not visible to others.”  (Emphasis added.) However, the recently updated standards, still requires a young child to “describe or label self a boy or a girl”  What does this have to do with academic learning?

Florida’s Office of Early Learning’;s glossary of terms for their standards defines family as “A group of individuals living together” with no reference to traditional marriage.

This appears to be part of the continued assault on traditional families and parental rights to raise and educate their children.

Early learning programs are part of a comprehensive “Cradle to Career” involvement of the federal government in education via the Race to the Top grants.  Early childhood is definitely the new front in the battle for the hearts and minds of our children and we will need to continue to fight to protect them.  Stay tuned.