PoliGraphic: Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam

January 28, 2014 3:00PM

NASHVILLE – As President Obama delivers his sixth State of the Union address tonight, he calls upon the nation to support a number of costly social programs in the midst of an economic recovery that continues to fall short of expectations. In his 2013 address, the President advocated for the idea of universal quality preschool for every four year old in the country. Again, President Obama is back to push this agenda in 2014. Not unlike the HeadStart program, which is also designed to stimulate early childhood development, the Pre-Kindergarten program is both costly and ineffective. The Beacon Center has created a playful, yet firmly defiant infographic based on Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham that conveys the startling inefficiencies of the President’s plan and calls for Tennesseans to reject this “Pre-K Sham.” The universal Pre-K program would cost the nation over $75 billion and would require states to match a portion of the federal funding. For Tennesseans, this means $6.4 million in taxpayer dollars every single year. Despite this cost, studies show that the Pre-K program fails to have lasting impacts upon the performance of participating children. “The President is back again this year to tout a program that does little to foster academic growth, yet promises to cost the state millions—and what can we tell Tennesseans they’re receiving for their investment?” questions Justin Owen, CEO of the Beacon Center. In fact, leading studies by two independent research groups have concluded that the pre-k program falls short of its goal to provide a stronger academic foundation for children that would enhance their future performance. Vanderbilt University surveyed 1,000 students across the state participating in the program and found that any slight benefits these children had in math and language over their peers not enrolled in pre-k barely lasted past Kindergarten and were completely gone by 2nd grade. Similarly, research by the Journal Science found that publicly funded Pre-K programs that received the highest marks in “quality” rating systems used by the majority of the states are no better at fostering a child’s school readiness than classrooms with lower ratings. “Clearly, the President is not learning his lessons. Like Obamacare, which promised universal health coverage—a concept that sounds warm and fuzzy on the surface—the universal Pre-K program is similarly devoid of value and short on delivery,” says Owen. “Tennesseans deserve better for our investment, deserve better from our government, and should wholly resist the President’s scheme to burden us with this failed program in our state.” The infographic, “Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam” can be found here. The Beacon Center of Tennessee’s mission is to change lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.