President Obama and the US Department of Education have launched a new initiative. The President believes that every child should have access to a "high quality" preschool education.
The attributes of this initiative are early exposure to language and numbers, social skills, and readiness for school. Many researchers, including the Federal Reserve, have supported the idea. The common sense is that young people, particularly the poor, who have not been exposed to skills will have a very difficult time catching up…if they are able to catch up at all.
A Virginia Tech professor recently wrote a piece in the Roanoke Times where he supported the President's initiative and concluded, "all the rest is just details."
Therein lies the rub!
With sequestration, the debt ceiling, payroll taxes, healthcare reform, capital gains, and increases in income taxes, there are some significant "details" to balance. Most families and companies would never consider adding new expenses when they can't afford the ones that they have.
If the President is looking at "opportunity cost"…giving up something in exchange for the new initiative…what will it be…Impact aid, school food, special education, programs for the poor?
The American Federation of Teachers wrote, "this is a no-brainer: when you invest in early childhood education, you invest in our children, our economy, and America's future."
The major question is, "whose money will you use… and what kind of future will these potentially better educated young people inherit?"
This week the Federal government faces automatic cuts in expenses while the President and Congress talk about a new $10 B program…maybe we should use their recess to teach them how to balance a budget!