As the tax burden on the American Family has increased and the value of our currency has decreased, many families now have two parents who work outside the home. One result of this is a growing daycare industry that takes care of children from the time they are three or four months old. What impact does this have on the children and what impact does this have on our society?
Some highlights from the article:
Evidence continues to mount that government-funded preschool fails to fulfill the promises of its proponents. New studies of large-scale preschool programs in Quebec and Tennessee show that vastly expanding access to free or subsidized preschool may worsen behavioral and emotional outcomes. Even proponents of universal preschool admit that it does nothing to improve future academic performance.
As proponents of government preschool programs continue to appeal to findings from 50 years ago that have never been replicated, current, large-scale, rigorous evaluations of major programs at the federal level, in the states, and internationally make a strong case against such initiatives and deserve serious consideration from policymakers wont to further expand government intervention in the care of the youngest Americans.
…The Head Start Impact Study. In late 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services released the Head Start Impact Study, a scientifically rigorous evaluation that tracked 5,000 three-year-old and four-year-old children through the end of third grade. The study found little to no impact on the parenting practices or the cognitive, social-emotional, and health outcomes of participants. Notably, on a few measures, access to Head Start had harmful effects on participating children. For both the three-year-old and four-year-old cohorts, access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effects on any measure of cognitive ability, including reading, language, and math. In other words, by the time they finished third grade, there was no difference between those children who attended Head Start and the control group of their peers who did not.
Vanderbilt Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Study. In 2015, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University released an evaluation of Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) Program, a state-subsidized preschool program open to low-income children in the state. Some 18,000 children participate in the program, which was introduced in 1996. Proponents have long claimed Tennessee’s VPK program is a model state-based preschool program, with standards aligned to the Obama Administration’s Preschool for All initiative. Teachers must be licensed, the child-adult ratio is limited to 10:1, and a structured “age-appropriate” curriculum must be used in classrooms. The program is available first to children from low-income Tennessee families, and then, space permitting, to children with special needs and children with limited English proficiency, among other children deemed “at-risk.” An earlier evaluation found that gains made by participating four-year-olds had faded by kindergarten. In a follow-up evaluation released in September 2015, Mark Lipsey, Dale Farrar, and Kerry Hofer reported that there were no sustained benefits for the same children through the end of third grade.
These studies showed no benefit. Some studies show that preschool can be harmful. The article reports:
The province of Quebec introduced universal low-cost day care for children through age four beginning in 1997. The program has had a large impact: privately funded child care arrangements have almost disappeared, and Quebec has the highest rate of subsidized child care in Canada, at 58 percent in 2011. The program caused a 14.5 percent increase in the share of mothers of young children working outside the home. The Quebec experience offers more guidance for the potential introduction of universal child care than small, targeted programs, because it implicitly includes indirect effects on non-participants and any general equilibrium effects due to the drastic shift in the way child care was funded and conducted.
Regrettably, new research has found that children who became eligible for the program in Quebec were more anxious as children and have committed more crimes as teenagers. The availability of day care clearly worsened children’s non-cognitive “soft” skills.
Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, and Kevin Milligan found that children exposed to the program were 4.6 percent more likely to be convicted of a crime and 17 percent more likely to commit a drug crime. Their health and life satisfaction were worse.
I realize that staying at home is not an option for every mother. However, the decision to have someone else with your young child for most of their waking hours does have consequences. Mothers are one of America’s most important assets.