From: Family Foundation []
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 5:01 PM
Subject: GA Alert #1: Stopping Kaine's Pre-School Scheme

Victoria Cobb, Executive Director

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


General Assembly Alert #1: Stopping Kaine's Pre-School Scheme


In just a few weeks, the Virginia General Assembly will meet for the 2007 session.  Beginning January 10, the session is scheduled to run 46 days.  The Family Foundation is currently working with legislators developing our legislative agenda and strategy for the session.


One of the major issues we will battle against this year is Governor Tim Kaine's proposed scheme to develop a state government controlled day care system in Virginia.  Called "Universal Day Care" or "Pre-K," the creation of such a program is one of the Governor's highest priorities.


Governor Kaine has already signed Executive Order #7, asking the state school board to survey and accumulate information on state and federally funded pre-school programs (why we need to spend money on another study is unknown; there are plenty of studies out there on "Head Start" and other programs.  Perhaps the Governor doesn't like what those studies say and wants one that he can control?).


Today, the Governor announced proposed budget amendments that would spend millions on "pilot Pre-K" programs.  He claims his "Pre-K" program will be a "voluntary" state funded system.


But make no mistake - that's not all the Governor and his allies with the National Education Association (NEA) and its Virginia affiliate, the VEA, want.  Their goal is the state forced education of 2, 3 and 4 year old children.  For several years the NEA has had as one of its primary goals a compulsory universal day care program.


These elites believe that a government worker can raise your children better than you can.  At the present time, the only time parents have "school choice" is prior to kindergarten.  After that, it's up to the government where your children go to school unless you have the financial wherewithal to choose an alternative.  The best possible way to raise our children is to have that child in a loving home with their parents.  No one else can provide the love and support that pre-school children need more than mom and dad.  The last thing we need to do in Virginia is to send our children to public schools for yet another year, or more, especially at those tender ages.


Advocates of universal day care claim that children - low, middle or higher income - will do better in their academic careers if they have at least a year of "preschool."  According to studies by the Pacific Research Institute, RAND Corporation and several others, however, children who attend preschool programs have yet to demonstrate any improvement in education outcomes over the long term.  Any positive effects diminish by 4th grade.


Not only is such a program ineffective, but it is likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than the Governor estimates.  And guess how he plans to pay for that increase in spending?  He wants you to pay for the new facilities, teachers and support staff to bring these new grades into the public school system.  That will cost billions of dollars and will mean a huge tax increase for every Virginian. 


Pre-K programs are another example of failed ideas that politicians continue to fund.  The Family Foundation will work hard with our legislators to ensure that this risky scheme is dead on arrival at the General Assembly.


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