DFL: Expanding Government Unions and Our Dependency on the State

dayton-kids-bookThe Governor’s office and DFL leaders have made it clear that one of their top priorities remains the institution of “Universal Pre-K” in Minnesota. They want to send all four year-olds off to school, thus adding a new “grade” to our public schools (requiring thousands of new employees, as well as transportation, classrooms, etc.). I do not know what Pre-K would add to the state budget but I do know that it would cost our culture, electoral process and our economy a lot more.

Dayton’s retirement, whether that happens in two years or sooner, will not end this push to change the way we raise and educate our youngest children. Lt. Governor Tina Smith, House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman, and the Democratic party here and nationally have embraced a socialized model of the family. For the left, it is a natural leap to move children from the home or daycare into public schools. It just works so well for them: they get to indoctrinate the very young while getting the benefit of increased union funds to spend on their campaigns and policies, thus expanding our dependency on the state. Once parents get hooked on the crack of “free” daycare sold as “early education” we will never go back.

Look how quickly we have shifted to all-day Kindergarten.

Parents who told me their children were not ready for an all-day program are having a hard time finding alternatives as program disappear because they cannot compete with the state offering all-day Kindergarten. Others feel they are now “cheating” their child, worried that the other kids will somehow get a head start. What, a head start on being exhausted and stressed out at the end of the day?

The Center opposes Universal Pre-K, not because it is expensive, but because it will hurt children, hurt families, and even hurt our schools. That said, we agree with Art Rolnick and others that there should be private scholarships for at-risk children who can be well-served by nursery schools and enrichment programs to prepare them for Kindergarten and life.

We should not take the tough case of children who are at risk because they are born to single Moms (or some other major challenge) and leap to Universal Pre-K for all four year-old children. What happens to poor kids when they have to compete for resources with every other four-year old in the state?

Likewise, we should not use the fact that some parents are having a hard time finding quality childcare to justify shifting the cost and responsibility for the daily care of young children to the state.

Last night I attended the Minnesota Chamber’s legislative priorities meeting and dinner. Both Governor Dayton and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman mentioned the “crisis” in child care and the need for “early education.”

Do you think that Dayton’s attempt to force private, child care providers into a public union last year had anything to do with the massive drop in the number of quality in-home child care providers? Or that perhaps parents are having a hard time finding good jobs, with flexible hours because the left shoved Obamacare and other bad policies down our throats thus preventing a recovery from the financial crisis of 2008?

The left is awfully good at creating big problems and then offering a state solution.

So I was relieved and pleased to learn last night that the Chamber and the Center are aligned on stopping the spread of Universal Pre-K. Last year the Governor got a few pilot projects passed and funded, kind of like the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. Let’s call on our legislators to let those Pre-K pilots expire without further funding, and to bravely resist any further expansion of Pre-K.

The care of our youngest children is much too important to be left to the state.