Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pre-K Doesn't Pay Off

Barack Obama is pushing hard for Congress to vote for universal daycare for all children. It's sometimes called early childhood education and sometimes Pre-K, which stands for pre-Kindergarten. Obama's top economist, Austan Goolsbee, is touting the argument that expenditures for universal pre-K will produce social goodies for society in the long term.

Economist Goolsbee cites the work of another economist, James J. Heckman, who asserts that "each dollar invested [in government daycare] returns 7 to 10 dollars back to society." Heckman's rash conclusion has been endlessly echoed by so-called daycare experts, who claim that the famous Perry Preschool Project of 50 years ago gave society a return of six to seven times its cost. Goolsbee then solemnly pontificated that this exceeded "the historical returns of the stock market."

I've pointed out in other broadcasts that, in 50 years, nobody has ever been able to repeat the alleged success of the Perry Project, so it's not a believable example. The other project touted by the advocates of Government raising our children, the famous Head Start program that began in Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, has been running for nearly 50 years, spending billions of dollars, and still does not provide evidence that government can do a better job than mothers.

The liberal Brookings Institution has now admitted that the supposed benefits of pre-K programs often "don't last even until the end of kindergarten." Brookings' top research analyst commented, "I see these findings as devastating for advocates of the expansion of state pre-K programs." We should learn from past failures and abandon pie-in-the-sky projects before we "invest" any more taxpayers' money. How about a study to find out if kids do better in school if they live with their own mother and father?

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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