Liberals will no doubt portray this as another altruistic “Save the Children” plan, as well as a taxpayer-funded babysitting service for low-income women and moms who have better things to do than raise their own kids. (“Mom isn't waiting at home at 2:30 with a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. That just doesn't happen in many American families anymore,” Duncan says in the article.) They’ll recite the pointless factoid that summer vacations are an outdated product of America’s farming culture.
Don't be fooled. There are two reasons Democrats want your kids to spend more time in public schools. First, it comports with their ideology that “the village” (aka government) should raise children. Second, it’s a political payoff for the Democrats’ greediest and most power-hungry constituency: the teachers’ unions.
It’s also nothing new. In her book Feminist Fantasies, the always-brilliant Phyllis Schlafly analyzed a similar liberal scheme from the early 1970s, which proposed government-funded daycare and public schooling for all children beginning at age three. The American Federation of Teachers explained that herding toddlers into government schools was “a vehicle to help teachers in a shrinking job market.”
Its proponents were also clear about their larger goal. “Day care is a powerful institution,” Democrats Walter Mondale and John Brademas wrote to constituents in 1970. “A day care program that ministers to a child from six months to six years of age has over 8,000 hours to teach him values, fears, beliefs, and behaviors.”
No wonder liberals have tried to criminalize homeschooling, as a California appeals court did last year. They want to make it illegal for parents—not teachers' unions and their political minions—to act as children’s authority figures.
And they’ll demand higher salaries to teach your kids a whole lot of nothing. In elementary school, American children hold their own in international comparisons. By ninth grade, having spent several more years in public school, they sink to the bottom. On the 2006 PISA exam, which measures the academic proficiency of students in 30 countries, American 15-year-olds ranked 21st in science and 25th in math.