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Early education: parents versus president

By Jacquie ItsinesAssistant Editorial Editor

In his Feb. 13 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced a proposal to make high-quality preschool education available to every single child in America. Besides the lack of finances necessary for its implementation, Obama’s plan possesses a major inherent flaw: it is neither the government’s right nor responsibility to raise and educate America’s youth.

A child’s upbringing should be determined by his or her parents, not by his or her governmental officials. Yet, if early childhood education is to be universalized, it will consequently become standardized by the government. What the government regards as “high-quality” in terms of education will likely translate to “enough to improve standardized test scores so that that they boost the nation’s rankings,” and the human care and commitment that yield an excellent education will fall victim to administrative benchmarks and national averages.

But why is it necessary to submit three –and four-year-olds to such a system? If 13 years of public schooling is not enabling students to meet desired academic standards, what difference will one or two years of learning letters, numbers, colors and farm animals make?

Perhaps this plan has multiple intentions. Maybe the government is not overtaking the people’s civil liberties and privileges in choosing an education, but rather, taking over for the people’s transgressions in preparing their children for primary and secondary education.

Our society is rich in immature parents – parents who did not quite outgrow their own childhood before having children of their own. To raise a human being from a state of absolute dependency is an immense task that demands great sacrifice. Unfortunately, some parents are not willing to give up enough elements of their work or social lives to be able to commit to actively educating and engaging their children.

Obama claims that the cost of enacting his universalized early childhood education plan will eventually pay itself off by boosting graduation rates and reducing teen pregnancy and violent crimes. Parental involvement can produce the same results for a cheaper cost. All it requires of parents is for them to sacrifice their relaxation time by turning off the television – even more savings! – and spending that time teaching and playing with their children. A little attention goes a long way.

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