Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
The three Republican candidates to replace outgoing constitutional conservative Congressman Curt Clawson in District 19 - former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, Sanibel Councilman Chauncey Goss, and millionaire businessman Francis Rooney participated in a recent forum in Naples. From this account, federal early childhood and social programs was the only education issue among many important issues discussed. Here is an excerpt from the Naples Daily News. As for domestic policy, Rooney stood apart from his opponents, saying he supported giving federal support to families with young children because "early learning is very important to a child's development."To accomplish this, Rooney proposed an overhaul of welfare to figure out how to put "some of the money we're spending and wasting into preparing our children to be nurtured and learned."But Bongino countered."The federal government, tragically, has no answer here. We have literally spent, not figuratively, tens of trillions of dollars in anti-poverty programs, and the percentage of Americans living in poverty has not moved a hair. Maybe a hair, we'll give them a hair," he said.Goss said he didn't support increasing funding for families with young children because the country already is a "nanny state as it is" that has developed a "culture of dependency."
As well-intentioned as Rooney's idea may be, it is quite concerning. Bongino is absolutely correct about the failure of federal social programs in general despite trillions of dollars spent. And Goss' statemenst about these engendering "a nanny state" and "a culture of dependence" are also spot-on.Specifically, there are more than two dozen studies about federal and state early childhood programs show one or more of four different possibilities: 1) Little or no benefit 2) Fade out of beneficial effect 3) Academic harm 4) Emotional harm. Even center and center left think tanks are starting to admit this. Read more
Jane Robbins, attorney and senior fellow at the American Principles Project wrote another excellent article about invasive federal involvement in early childhood education, this time in the context of Hillary Clinton's dangerous pre-K plan. In it she discussed Clinton's strong desire to to extend her work as First Lady of Arkansas where she expanded a failed childcare/home visiting program called Parents as Teachers and then as US First Lady when she wrote the book It Takes a [Government] Village. Robbins discusses the help Clinton has received on her quest from both President Obama who has been promoting universal preschool for his entire presidency and the Congressional Republicans who caved and gave him another $250 million for preschool in the Every Student Succeed Act. She also discussed the push for even more national pre-K standards aligned to Common Core, especially the invasive social emotional standards and the terrible track record of failure and harm caused by these programs. On the last two issues, she was kind enough to mention or link to Dr. Effrem's research in these areas, for which we thank her. Here is an excerpt:
In any event, the Gates-funded ETS argues that as long as the federal government has pushed Common Core onto the states, beginning in kindergarten, the accomplishment-inducing preschool standards should be aligned with Common Core. That way preschool can be standardized across the country, eliminating the dreaded "inequity" by ensuring all preschoolers are drilled according to the same garbage standards. Alignment would also allow teachers to share instructional strategies and all teach the same thing. We can't have children in Kansas coloring duckies while Minnesotans are focusing on kittens.And of course, these standards should emphasize "social-emotional learning." The government must expect teachers to observe and record toddlers' psychological development and attributes, which information will be fed into the Read more
The Every Child Achieve Act's (ECAA) Early Learning Alignment and Improvement Grants (Sec. 5610) offer new federal funds to "assist states" to "more efficiently using existing Federal resources to improve, strengthen, and expand existing high-quality early childhood education, as determined by the State." Despite the benign and pleasant sounding offer of help and resources to be used as states see fit, these grants greatly expand federal control over preschool as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind have done for K-12. Here are the problems: There is no evidence of long-term effectiveness of early childhood programs that justify their great cost, but there is evidence of academic and emotional harm.
Each state applying for a grant must promise to and explain how it will use "existing Federal, State, and local resources and programs that the State will coordinate to meet the purposes of this part, including"... "Head Start" and the "Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)." [Sec. 5902]
Analogous to the Common Core standards incentivized by Race to the Top and the federal mandates for statewide standards and tests required by the 1994 version of the ESEA, there is a rapid spread of statewide or federal early learning standards and early childhood assessment incentivized by the 2011 and 2014 Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (ELC) Grants and mandated by the 2007 Head Start and 2014 Child Care and Development Block Grant reauthorizations.
According to the ELC Collaborative analysis of the ELC grants, at least 15 states declared openly that they are aligning their early learning standards to Common Core or admitted that they are aligning to the K-3 standards, which is a de facto admission of Common Core alignment.
Mentioning it eleven times in the legislation, Head Start requires not only every Head Start program, but also every other state pre-k program to fully align to the Head Read more