Texas Jumps onto the Pre-K Banana Boat as Researchers Jump Ship

Jun 2, 2015 by


By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.

Since the 1960s, billions of dollars from federal, state, and local governments as well as private sources have funded early education programs. There have been meaningful short-term benefits but the academic gains “fade out” after the third grade. Yet Texas is jumping on this boat as others are jumping off.

In defense of their left wing vote to add more government educational programs even though they know Texans are highly dissatisfied with public education, Texas lawmakers claim to have pored over empirical evidence with a common theme something like this: ‘dollars invested in early childhood education pay off handsomely – over time.’

In his 2013 State of the Union Address, Obama referred to the Oklahoma pre-K study: “Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on—by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.” Citing other studies, he said, “In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own.”

This is a decades-old agenda of totalitarians who have been incrementally implementing universal government-paid daycare at the state level which, of course, will be under the thumb of the federal government.

Journalists also regurgitate the lofty claims of pre-K advocates without ever checking the facts. If these journalists took their investigative work seriously, they would find that both of those studies cited above were seriously flawed and are not considered to be valid.

Apparently Texas lawmakers, including the newly elected governor, also have not checked the facts. When I asked Texas lawmakers for the rationale behind their support of pre-K, they referred to research documents sent them by Governor Abbott. So far, no one has ever provided me with a copy of that “empirical evidence.”

Yet I, and others, provided substantial pre-K research for Texas lawmakers. If they had actually read the documentation, they would have learned that education researchers, educators, and scientists are jumping off the pre-K boat. Following are excerpts from research data that I provided to Texas lawmakers.

Experimental Programs

The modest effects of pre-K faded out by the end of the third grade.

Are There Benefits to Learning Math in Pre-K?

Pre-K advocates contend that full day pre-K is needed so that four-year-olds can be taught math. Play-based kindergartens, and now even preschools, have been replaced largely by drilling literacy and math skills into young children and giving and preparing for tests.

Research shows that daily drilling of literacy and math skills has negatively affected the creativity and curiosity of children, making the teaching of advanced math and science more difficult later. The loss of curiosity and creativity thus has profound implications for education and for the future work force of America.

Long Term Consequences of Inappropriate Early Education

Research shows that early formal schooling destroys a child’s learning ability and can even be detrimental to the behavioral development of mainstream children. Researchers are studying the increasing rates of extreme and aggressive behavior in pre-K and kindergarten classrooms. In 2005 Walter S. Gilliam, head of the Child Study Center at Yale, found that three- and four-year-old children were being expelled more than three times as often as K-12 students.

While early formal instruction may appear to show good test results at first, in the long term, in follow-up studies, such children have had no advantage. On the contrary, especially in the case of boys, subjection to early formal instruction increases their tendency to distance themselves from the goals of schools, and to drop out of it, either mentally or physically.”

–Lilian G. Katz, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois

The 1960s HighScope Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study (PCCS) for at-risk three- and four-year-old children. By age 23, at the conclusion of the study, the formal instruction students showed serious issues in overall development including a high number of felony offenses and work related problems.

What If Child Does Not Attend Pre-K?

Some contend that 85 percent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years. They believe that, if children do not attend pre-K, all educational intervention after that is more difficult, more expensive, and less effective.

Reading specialists do not agree and argue that good reading teachers in K-3 can catch these children up. Because early elementary school children are in their major development years, they learn four times as much material during a regular school year as in the preschool years. Pediatricians say the brain continues to develop, remodel and refine until age 25.

Sebastian Suggate of New Zealand’s University of Otago reported that his research found no long-term gains from teaching children to read at age five compared to age seven.

U.S. students rank near the bottom on international tests while Finnish students score at or near the top. Yet Finland does not permit its students to attend formal school until age seven. Many students attend non-compulsory “pre-primary” school at age six. Children under age six attend daycare or remain at home with parents.

In spite of the negative research on pre-K, Governor Abbot instructed the 84th legislature to fast track his “first emergency legislative priority” which resulted in the passage of HB 4, a $130 million bill to expand pre-K.

Pray tell, what was the emergency? Was this life or death?

The truth is there was no emergency on that front; but there were plenty of emergencies on other fronts ignored by Texas lawmakers. Check out this issue for a real emergency.

Shariah is trumping the U.S. Constitution in Texas courts. Woman and children suffer under judges who use foreign laws to determine their fate. A Muslim Tribunal has been established right in our own city of Irving. Imans announce publicly that they intend to overthrow our U.S. Constitution and implement Shariah. Their Qu’ran requires them to behead, torture, and crucify Christians and to perform genital mutilation on young girls.

Was this not an emergency?

Apparently not, because SB 531 (American Laws for American Courts-“ALAC”) which passed in the Texas Senate, did not get out of the House Calendar Committee.

The fact is that passing pre-K legislation was the pandering by Governor Abbot to liberal supporters who want more taxpayer funding for a failing educational system, including the addition of pre-K state certified teachers and state certified curriculum. The goal is to grow big education even bigger.

When asked about the next phase for pre-K, Governor Abbot said we need to “find what works for these kids.” This is political speak for ‘Texas lawmakers are using other people’s money so patronizing do-gooders can conduct yet another government experiment on our vulnerable young.’

Hey, we the people already know what works for kids. Living in a traditional family with their own mothers and fathers gives kids an enormous advantage for which no government programs can ever substitute. This is the real difference between high-achieving and low-achieving children. As long as we provide financial handouts for women to have multiple babies with multiple fathers and without marriage, we will continue to have psychologically damaged children who are highly likely to repeat the cycle of poverty and crime.

To see which Texas legislators voted for HB4: House linkSenate link

Copyright ©2015 By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. All rights reserved | www.drcarolehhaynes.com


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