Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Perspective On Pre-K and the AR GOP Platform

The recent news about Pre-K is a perfect microcosm of the delusion and dysfunction of our political system. It might even be more correct to say that it is a reflection of the delusion and dysfunction of our whole society, of which the delusion and dysfunction in the political system is a mere reflection.

The story is this, the Republican Party of Arkansas delegates voted to remove all mention of Pre-K from their platform. Some conservatives comfort themselves that the party can still make what they consider conservative platform planks. That is a part of the delusion, self-chosen unfortunately, that I mentioned earlier. The Republican Governor and legislators will not stop spending money in ever increasing amounts on Pre-K regardless of what is in the platform. The "platform" exists only to help members of the Republican party to dupe themselves into believing that they have some say-so about anything while the real decisions about policy are being made in Washington or even further away by whoever runs the global corporations which fund the Republican party.

Governor Hutchinson has called for a steady increase in pre-K funding. In the typical pattern, when the Democrat House Minority Leader called for increasing pre-K funding by ten million dollars, Hutchinson responded in "conservative" fashion by only increasing it three million dollars. That is the range of the debate in public policy these days. The Democrats propose spending a lot more money on a program and the "conservatives" respond by suggesting a smaller increase. Nothing that happened vis-a-vi the platform is going to change that behavior. It is not going to change until people quit outsourcing the job of protecting their liberties to these two DC-controlled and globally funded but morally bankrupt political parties and seek other ways to do representative government.

When the scope of the debate is whether public funding for Pre-K should be increased by three million dollars or ten million dollars, then the conservative position is unrepresented. The conservative position is that the best thing for almost all Pre-K children is to be raised in their own home by their own families. People who sacrifice financially so that their children can be raised in their own home by their own family should not have to sacrifice again to pay for child care for those who make other choices. The conservative, and libertarian, position is that government has no business jumping in on one side of that lifestyle choice.

If they insist on jumping in and taxing one group of citizens to support the lifestyle choice of another group then the case can be made that it should be on the side of those who sacrifice financially to give their children the loving and stable environment of being raised in their own home by their own family. Even difficult family situations can be better for a child's emotional development than being raised by a carousel of strangers who make nine bucks an hour in a state-institution. Little children belong in families, not institutions.

I can remember when that was the standard conservative position, now it is not even close to being on the table by any office holder in either party, regardless of what an irrelevant platform says. The assumption of both sides is that the state has to tax people who think four years old is too young to be sent off to a state institution in order to pay for Pre-K for those who don't think its too young. I think kindergarten is too young. Actually, when I consider how insane DC-controlled public education is becoming, the most humane position is that no child at any age should be subjected to it! The only reason it may still be a moral choice is that local communities and individual teachers are not fully on-board with the education establishment's agenda.  They can add some measure of humanity to the situation.

I taught public school for twelve years and I have looked at the Pre-K studies. The so-called "advantages" of Pre-K is that the kids are taught to what is tested in public school more than home raised children and so they do a little better at first. That goes away in a few years once schools move beyond what was taught in Pre-K. Nor does that advantage even exist when you compare those children to home-raised children in homes where education is valued. This is one of those cases where it should not matter whether you are a Christian fundamentalist who believes God ordained the family to be the institution to train up small children or whether you are an atheist evolutionist who believes we evolved so that children are to be trained up in such social structures. Either way, these expensive efforts to force the state into children's lives at an earlier and earlier age make no sense.


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