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Discussion: (4 comments)

  1. You should mention that Head Start is a well-documented failure. We know this stuff does NOT work. As soon as the kids are integrated into regular classrooms (2nd, 3rd grade, etc.), the effects disappear with the result that there is no measurable long term effect, other than an empty checkbook.

    The known difference between success and failure in schools is the involvement of parents. If a child has no identifiable father at home, the chances of the child’s success are very, very low. So take the $100 billion USD and launch of program to: 1) convince girls not to have babies before they get married, 2) convince young men that they have an obligation to get a job before they start fathering babies.

    Of course you also have to cancel the existing programs that pay unwed mothers to have babies.

  2. It’s interesting to note that Heckman also endorses school choice:

  3. The ineffectiveness of Head Start is well documented. Expanding Pre-K programs is a waste of money. Let’s focus on improving middle school, high school and secondary education while lowering costs.

    Oh, and can we please stop using meaningless “10 year budget” terminology? This is a $10 billion per year proposal, not $100 billion over ten years. We’ll never get our fiscal house in order unless we start changing the language.

  4. Todd Mason

    It is certainly true that mass implementation of social policy is a prelude to disappointment. (Laughed out loud to read a supplysider expounding on the mistake of basing policy on wishful thinking.) The phenomenon is particularly apt in school settings, where the teacher in the room is everything.
    That said, federal program exist, and they divide the US into those who benefit and those who pay. Thanks to govt mandates, for example, the $42 billion/year ethanol industry consumes 40 percent of the corn crop, a fact that is painfully apparent in supermarkets at the moment, and does little to achieve energy independence.
    Universal preschool helps the four of five mothers who work full time, and who likely pay more than $10k/year in child care, much of it subsidized by taxpayers. To the extent that it reduces remedial and special education expenses in later years, it also helps struggling school districts. Even if the effect on kids is net zero, there will be some classrooms in which, and some kids for whom, early childhood education makes life-changing differences.
    So, corn or kids?

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