I can’t see Sen. Rodney Ellis’ latest bill filings making it through the Texas House but with the real action being in the Texas Senate, where Democratic votes are actually meaningful, you never know what will happen, so it is important to bring it up and try to get it stopped before it starts. Apparently, someone forgot to tell Sen. Ellis that we have to tighten our budget belt, not expand it, because he filed two bills this past Friday which would cost taxpayers not only a lot of tax money but would also continue the expansion of one of liberal social engineering’s favorite programs: state-supported babysitting.
That’s right, Sen. Ellis wants to expand Pre-Kindergarten at the same time most school districts are trying to deal with the reality that they already spend more than will be available to them in the next two year budget. In his SB 599, he drops the eligibility age from four years down to three, meaning that every school district with 15 or more four year olds MUST offer pre-kindergarten and every school district with 15 or more three year olds that meet one of six requirements MUST offer pre-kindergarten. As if that wasn’t enough, his SB-598 limits pre-kindergarten class sizes to 18 students.
It is too early in the process for a fiscal note to be attached but I can already tell you what it will cost: exactly one boatload.
Now before you go off half-cocked about how important early childhood education is, let me remind you that the same people who push the idea the pre-k is important are the ones that have given us a failed school system. Study after study conclude that homeschooled students fare better academically than the product produced from the public schools as a whole.
But academics aren’t the real motivation for expanding pre-k, social engineering is. Who needs parental involvement? Just have the state take over that role because the sooner the left can indoctrinate our children, the better chance they have of convincing them that collectivism is better than individualism, right? Think not? I found a very interesting blog post from a young woman that is studying to be a teacher. She talks about her experience with pre-k, in a very positive way. But reading her account of it, presented as proof positive that pre-k is “good”, will be like fingernails on a chalkboard to anyone that thinks our children should be nurtured in such a way that they are able to think independently. Please do read her account. Just one quote for now:
My CT gave each child either a red or green manipulative piece. She then told the students to line up in an ABABAB pattern according to which color manipulative they had. After telling them to work together cooperatively, she stepped back and watched. I remember thinking, “No way, she is definitely going to intervene at some point to help them out.” It was fascinating to see each student’s personality surface as some were content with being told where to stand and others acted as leaders. Seeing them cooperate with one another without any adult intervention was eye-opening. Although they did not form a perfect pattern at the end, I learned that these students are capable of so much more than I, my partner, or any of our peers thought they were.
Is that what we as a society really want? Children defined as “leaders” based upon behavior in a state-controlled environment at three years old? I certainly don’t and hope most of you don’t either. Again, read that entire account of her day at pre-k. Reminds me of the Soviet Union education system at the height of the cold war.
The plain truth is that these programs are designed for two reasons: indoctrination to collectivism and to give single mothers a place to drop off their kids so that they can go to work. One of the more fascinating things you can do on a day that school is cancelled unexpectedly is to watch how mad the parents get because of the inconvenience they face, be it finding a paid babysitter or gasp, having to spend time with their children.
Senate Republicans, hold your ground and stop nonsense like this.
Update: Houston Chronicle commenter “AH” noted that I misread the bill. He is correct. Sen. Ellis used “may” for three year olds rather than the original language of “shall”. Therefore, my use of “MUST” in reference to three year olds provided pre-k is incorrect. My mistake. Thank you, “AH”, for your diligence in reading the bills.