"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Your Preschool Human Capital, DESE and the Early Learning Challenge Grant

"It's all for the children.  It's all for the children."  Repeat that mantra 500 times and you too, will become a DESE-like mindless and bureaucratic zombie when it comes to setting and making educational decisions for Missouri pre-school human capital.  DESE wants more money from the Federal Government so the Federal Government can institute more control, mandates, and create more debt for the state and local districts.

Does this make sense to you? An unelected state agency is plunging the citizenry under more governmental control and taxpayers into unfunded debt for programs that will employ more bureaucrats.  So what's the new "flavor of the day" in the educational puzzle?

It's named the "Early Learning Challenge Grant" and DESE has applied to receive a $60 Million grant to:

place “more young children who are in programs outside of the home (in) high-quality programs — especially those children from families with low incomes, and also children with other risk factors.”

What does this grant mandate Missouri to do?  Here's the application of "assurance and certifications."  It is clear there is an expansion of early childhood programs involving multiple state agencies.   I cannot locate monetary figures how much these programs will ultimately cost the state and local districts.  Is this $60 Million grant akin to the $250 Million grant DESE applied for from RTTT?  That "loan" would have only partially covered the $400 Million it was projected to have cost according to Chris Nicastro.

Here's an article about how this Early Challenge Grant will impact preschoolers, er, human capital:

The latest Race to the Top competition from the U.S. Department of Education also supports the idea that college- and career-readiness has to start even before a child enters kindergarten. It's offering $500 million for states with plans to improve early-learning programs. Thirty-five states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have submitted applications. Most of those states or territories have adopted the common core, which means their early-years plans must reflect the new standards' expectations.

Edward Miller, a senior researcher at the Alliance for Childhood, an advocacy group based in New York, said, "We feel that the early-education [K-3] standards—particularly the kindergarten standards, but also the early elementary grade standards—in the common core are a disaster, and are going to greatly worsen what is already a crisis situation in early-childhood education."

"I'm not opposed to the idea of standards," Mr. Miller said. "We know a lot about what children need in order to be successful. But it has very little to do with very narrowly defined bits of knowledge. . . . If you expect every 5-year-old to be able to read and drill them on reading skills, the ones who don't get it are defined by the schools and by themselves as failures." (emphasis added)

Little preschoolers are not just expected to play and color inside the lines:

"What never served early childhood well was when we were seen as a separate entity," said Shari Ostrow Scher, an early-childhood specialist in Frederick, Md., who has been in the field for 20 years. "You can't have really meaningful early-childhood education and not have it tied to the entire flow of curriculum and what children learn." 

It's educational utopia!  Your child will find a place in the governmental system by the time he/she is 3 years old and receive structured learning and assessments to become prepared to be productive human capital in the workforce.  You won't have to pay for it because it's "free".  But as we all know, if we care to realistically face the facts, this control and massive governmental expansion of education is not "free".  It's not "free" in terms of actual expense and districts setting policies.

A reader sent me this comment about this expansion into preschool and its consequences for the children, parents and taxpayers.  But don't despair after you read it, remember the mantra, "It's all for the children, it's all for the children".  Maybe then you can become as giddy and excited as DESE when it applies for grants that cripple states and taxpayers even more.  It also is saddling the same children the government purports to serve with "high quality" programs with debt they didn't incur on their own:

I don't anybody is thinking beyond next week these days and have no 
doubt the crowd for a subsidized preschool would be three times as great
as the full day K one.  

Been thinking lately how the smartest thing the pro-government movement
has done is to make these universal entitlements like social security, 
medicare, and public schools.  People think if they pay a few
thousand dollars in taxes a year they are entitled to retire at 65
(50 if you are public employee)and have all of your health care
needs taken care of.  And people think a few thousand dollars
a year entitles them to 10K+ education for  their children.  

I don't see either constituency giving in.  Even though many people 
these days could work until 70 something is no problem,
raising the retirement age is not 
going to be done by our spineless politicians.  And on the other side,
as we have seen, no entitlement is too good for our public 
school children (turf fields, indoor swimming pool, subsidized daycare,
If things don't fall apart soon, we are heading for massive 
generational warfare between baby boomers 
and gen x and y when these two unsustainable spending trends collide.
People have their heads in the sand.


1 comment:

  1. Future Birth Announcement: Please welcome our latest bundle of government productivity. We are pleased to report that the initial DOE assessment has charted little 7 lb 4 oz. William to be an IT worker. Any further updates on his progress can be tracked on his federally assigned Google page. For now we can only hope we don't screw him up too badly before the learning experts get him next week.


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