Tennessee’s $86 Million Babysitting Program


October 9, 2015 10:34AM

It’s really sad when a political agenda gets in the way of facts, but that is precisely what happened after a recent study from Vanderbilt University’s esteemed Peabody Research Institute analyzed Tennessee’s $86 million a year Pre-Kindergarten program. The study showed that voluntary Pre-K had no real benefits and could even hamper a child’s educational progress. By third grade, most of the students enrolled in Pre-K were scoring at or below their peers who never enrolled in Pre-K.

With all this great evidence showing that voluntary Pre-K is a complete and total waste of our tax dollars, you would assume that elected officials would not only refuse to expand the program, but actually eliminate it altogether. But alas, that is not the case. Newly elected Nashville mayor Megan Barry stated, “Metro Schools is blazing a new path in pre-K that is building a foundation in learning that we can and should be building on in elementary school and beyond.”

The only thing more infuriating than spending millions of our tax dollars on a program that doesn’t work is spending millions of our tax dollars on a study to prove that the program doesn’t work, and then continue to fund it anyway.

This is the exact reason why people have such negative feelings towards government. Why waste our money on a study when we are going to ignore the findings unless they conform to a specific person’s political agenda? It’s not like this study has any anti Pre-K agenda either. It was commissioned by Vanderbilt College of Education and the Tennessee Department of Education, both who have a strong interest in seeing Pre-K expanded in the Volunteer State.

It’s truly demoralizing that we can’t even talk about cutting any kind of educational program in our society today—regardless of what the statistics or studies say— because of the vitriol it brings, most of which comes from the political Left. Education is one of the most important programs we can fund, but the political elite are doing a complete disservice to Tennesseans by choosing talking points over facts when it comes to Pre-K.

The Beacon Center has been railing against the Pre-K program ever since the first Vanderbilt study questioning its effectiveness, and we hope state legislators will hop on the bandwagon soon.