Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Oregonian Watch

I predicted some time ago that we were going to be treated to a regular stream of "invented" news stories by the Oregonian, all of which would be some variant on the theme "government needs more money."

We got another one today. Front page story on how Oregon is "falling behind" other states in public funds for pre-school, and how important pre-school is to get kids off on the right foot.

In their proud tradition, there isn't any news in the story. There was no national study that triggered the reporting, no proposal announced by a governor candidate or the like. Rather, the Oregonian has a point it wants to make, and in the absence of news on the issue, it just writes a story that supports its position.

The reader is supposed to read the article and then worry that we are hurting children by not paying for as much pre-school as other states. More money would of course solve the "problem."

The article refers to research that shows a dollar invested in pre-school saves more than $12 in social servces needed later on. It didn't, however, make any mention of the significant body of research that shows the Head Start pre-school program has little if any lasting effect on student achievement and other indicators. Abigail Thernstrom, Vice Chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights evaluated that research in her book "No Excuses."

I have a better idea. Rather than raise more tax money to pay for pre-schools that working mothers send their kids to, why not reduce taxes so families can afford to have one parent stay home with their kids until they are school age?

It seems as if the government class wants kids to be in their schools at the earliest age possible. With the well-known deficiencies in our public school system, why would we be looking to expand their reach and mission to pre-schoolers?


Anonymous said...

Rob. I have no doubt that trained experts can do better than some parents in teaching tots. Almost every thing we do as individuals can be done better by a costly expert. But part of life is simply living it as individuals, not as appendages to a larger bureaucracy authority. I expect parents to manage and inform their own children for the first several years.

Anonymous said...

1. Headstart is only part of the day
2. Headstart doesn't use good research based curriculum like DI
3. Headstart is supposed to be an equilizer, but, unfortunately due to politics, it isn't doing a very good job

Anonymous said...

Do you really believe that reducing taxes would allow working mothers to stay home with their kids? Do you have any facts at all to back up this assertion?

I'm honestly curious, because I can't imagine a scenario in which that could be true.