Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The preschool gap

What's the "biggest issue" facing our nation today? The Iraq war? Gas prices? Terrorism? Saving the planet?

NY Times writer, David Brooks, believes the "Biggest Issue" facing Americans today is a "skills slowdown" which threatens our country's long term prospects. Brooks points to research that says the "deteroriation of the family" over the last 40 years has resulted in educational gaps; the biggest gaps occuring before age five.
Some children are bathed in an atmosphere that promotes human capital development and, increasingly, more are not. By 5, it is possible to predict, with depressing accuracy, who will complete high school and college and who won’t."
In other words, because the family has deteriorated, the state must step in and educate all our deliquent preschoolers or we're doomed to economic defeat.

We've moved on from "It takes a village to raise a child." to "It takes the state to develop human capital."

Predictably, Brooks goes on to promote the policies of Obama which "flow naturally and persausively from this research." He chastizes McCain for being "oblivious to the findings" and then more broadly criticizes Republicans as being "inept when talking about human capital policies." On this issue, I'll take someone who is viewed as "inept" over one who views our children as nothing more than "human capital" in need of development. (No, I'm not endorsing McCain.)

Brooks concludes, "America rose because it got more out of its own people than other nations."

Not so.

America rose to greatness because "we the people" desired something great for ourselves and our family and, unlike other nations, the state got out of the way.

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