One of the greatest disappointments about public policy today is the Democrat-Republican consensus on “early childhood education.” The groupthink is on display in today’s edition of The Santa Fe New Mexican. Reporter Milan Simonich wrote that “Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, said he was satisfied that scientific evidence shows that early childhood education is effective,” but expressed “concerns about taking money from the [Land Grant Permanent Fund] and then making sure it would be spent properly.”
Transparency, oversight, and accountability are always desirable, of course, but the senator is wildly off the mark in believing that preschool is backed by strong data.
Despite working for the left-leaning Brookings Institution, developmental psychologist Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, who once served as the director of the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education, finds no “evidence of program success when we look to state pre-K programs.”
In Georgia, for example, studies have yielded sobering results. One concluded that the “estimated effects of Universal Pre-K availability on test scores and grade retention are positive, but are not statistically significant, suggesting there were no discernible effects on statewide academic achievement.” Another found that “positive effects for children from low-income families … were offset by negative effects for children from higher-income families.”
We’ve known for a long time that Head Start is a failure, and state-level programs are producing similar outcomes. “Universal preschool” has an enormous price tag, and there is no “scientific evidence” demonstrating that it is a worthwhile “public investment.”
Mr. Zubrin’s latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism; is the newest addition to the New Atlantis Books series.
Merchants of Despair traces the pedigree of the ideology that human beings are a cancer upon the Earth — a species whose aspirations and appetites are endangering the natural order — and exposes its deadly consequences in startling and horrifying detail.
It exposes the worst crimes perpetrated by this antihumanist movement, including eugenics campaigns in the United States and genocidal anti-development and population-control programs around the world. And it provides scientific refutations to antihumanism’s major pseudo-scientific claims, including its modern tirades against nuclear power, pesticides, population growth, biotech foods, resource depletion, industrial development, and, most recently, fear-mongering about global warming. The book’s official homepage is: www.MerchantsOfDespair.com.
In addition to his writing on the environment and public policy, Zubrin is the author of the critically acclaimed nonfiction books The Case for Mars, Entering Space, and Mars on Earth; the science fiction novels The Holy Land and First Landing; and articles in Scientific American, The New Atlantis,American Enterprise, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He has appeared on major media including CNN, C-SPAN, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, NBC, ABC, and NPR.
Robert Zubrin is a New Atlantis contributing editor and a fellow at the Center for Security Policy. For many years, he worked as a senior engineer for Lockheed Martin.