Whitehurst is a developmental psychologist by training who has spent the majority of his career designing and evaluating programs intended to enhance the cognitive development of young children. He warns that universal preschool boosters "ignore research showing negative impacts on children who receive child care supported through the federal child development block grant program." Moreover, his research shows, the Nanny Staters have downplayed evidence that "the universal pre-k programs in Georgia and Oklahoma, which are closest to what the Obama administration has proposed, have had, at best, only small impacts on later academic achievement."
A. Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch points to even more reason for skepticism by way of a 2010 Department of Health and Human Services report about a congressionally mandated study of approximately 5,000 3- and 4-year-olds who were randomly assigned to either a control group or a group that had access to the federal Head Start program. It found that "at the end of kindergarten and first grade ... the Head Start children and the control group children were at the same level on many of the measures studied."
Let's set all of this junk science aside for the moment. There's a bigger elephant in the room. As I've pointed out for years, these cradle-to-grave government education/day care services encourage drive-through, drop-off parenting. Subsidizing this phenomenon cheats children, undermines family responsibilities and breeds resentment among childless workers who are forced to pay for costly social services.
The nationalized preschool promoters, led by feckless bureaucrats who piled mounds of debt onto our children with endless Keynesian pipe dreams, claim that new multibillion-dollar "investments" in public education will "benefit the economy." But ultimately, it's not about the money or improved academic outcomes for Fed Ed. The increasing federal encroachment into our children's lives at younger and younger ages is about control. These clunkers don't need more time and authority over our families. They need a permanent recess.