Rep. Patrick Flood, like all politicians, relishes photo-ops with children — it isn’t easy to say no to anything with a child attached to it. This explains why preschool programs are embraced with little scrutiny.

The U.S. is the clear leader in total annual educational spending, but rank 9th in science performance and 10th in math. University studies conclude that pre-kindergarten programs are associated with higher reading and mathematics skills at school entry, but such estimated academic skills dissipate by the end of first grade.

Edward F. Zigler, a cofounder of Head Start, argues formal schooling per se may be premature and dangerous for many young children; “Our four-year-olds do have a place in school, but it is not at a school desk.” He supports universal preschool as a school-based approach to child care.

Tom Brokaw’s “greatest generation” attained on average less than nine years of education. Educated in English-only schools (regardless of the immigrant language spoken at home), where grades mattered, some stayed back, others suspended, not all college bound, America honored and holidays celebrated.

Recent education policy has given birth to Generation X , the Me Generation and Generation-Give Me Your Wealth.

Given the uninterrupted failure of the public school system to educate child after child, year after year, extending the tentacles of public schooling to three- and four year-olds is ill-conceived.

Rep. Flood’s financial theory is suspect as well. He states “every $1 invested in early learning will generate a total of $1.78 in total sales for Maine businesses” while eliminating funding to Mainers living on fixed incomes by freezing annual cost of living adjustments. Isn’t that dollar in a citizen’s hand as profitable to Maine businesses?

Bill Perfetto


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