LETTER: Pre-kindergarten programs deserve bailout

Monday, March 16, 2009 | 2:52 p.m. CDT; updated 3:23 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 16, 2009

This Wednesday, a national leader will come to Mizzou's campus to lobby for yet another group in need of a government bailout. The difference is this group never made a single risky investment nor spent a dime of tax payer money on luxury, executive getaways. The speaker is from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the group that truly deserves a bailout is our pre-K children.

Families in America today face an inadequate patchwork of pre-K programs. Only 1 in 5 children has access to state-funded, voluntary pre-K, and the quality of programs — which is critical to producing positive results — varies widely. In Missouri, the figures are even worse – voluntary pre-K access is below 1 in 20 and we rank below every one of our neighbors in funding and enrollment.

We can pay now for quality pre-K, or we can pay much more later to cope with more children who need special education classes, more children who get held back a grade, more children who drop out of high school, or more children who end up in prison.

I want to reiterate that this really is an investment opportunity for us all. At a return of more than $2 to every $1 spent, investment in voluntary pre-K is one of the best going these days. When deciding who to bailout next, perhaps we should consider the following question. Who deserves it more: risk takers and wealth seekers or the young future of our country?

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Ayn Rand March 16, 2009 | 9:41 p.m.

Let the parents pay for it. You make 'em, you support 'em.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 16, 2009 | 10:47 p.m.

The public schools are not in a mess due to the lack of formal pre-kindergarten, such as Head Start or Parents as Teachers. There are many opportunities and ways for parents to prepare their toddlers for Kindergarten and the public school environment. Free baby sitting should not be provided to those who are too lazy or ill equipped to raise their own children. Perhaps family members taking an active role in child-rearing and "inferior" moms and dads attending parenting classes should be more in order than spending public money on "free" pre-K.

(Report Comment)

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