October 27, 2013

Pre-K v. Nurse Visits: the fundamental difference

Nicholas Kristof writes in the NYT:
"The second point to make is that when we hear “early childhood education” we mostly think of pre-K. In fact, the earlier the intervention, the better. Helping pregnant moms avoid substance abuse is highly cost-effective, and then helping them through home visitation programs like Nurse Family Partnership in the first couple of years of life is crucial as well." 

He's conflating two contrasting policies:

- Pre-K is about the government making life easier for bad mothers by taking their 4-year olds off their hands for much of the day. Pre-K helps bad mothers have enough time, energy, and money to hit the clubs and make more children.

- Nurse visits are about the government making life harder for bad welfare mothers by inspecting them in their homes and browbeating them to do a better job of mothering. Nurse visits should, ideally, teach bad welfare mothers how hard it is to be good mothers (in the eyes of the government), which, if carried out staunchly, might help discourage the bad mothers from having another child quite so soon.


rightsaidfred said...

I have no doubt that under the current climate nurse visits will turn into in-home daycare and free fertility drugs.

Shouting Thomas said...

Yes, Nurse Ratched is here to help you!

Anonymous said...

Steve, i agree but cant you thank the clinton gingrich welfare reform for persuading black women to drop to replacement level fertility?

Anonymous said...

Pre-K helps bad mothers have enough time, energy, and money to hit the clubs and make more children.

Okay, how did that make it past Komment Kontrol?

Ya know, the GOP just fired a precinct official for engaging in similar levels of honesty.

Anonymous said...

This guy seems to think that the key difference between whether you are good at math or not is whether you are East Asian or not.

TGGP said...

In the first edition of "When Brute Force Fails" Mark Kleiman was enthusiastic of nurse visitation. In the paperback edition I have, he recognized that new evidence didn't seem to support its crime-fighting powers. Kudos to Kleiman for updating on evidence.

Anonymous said...

The ol' good cop, bad cop routine.

Matthew said...

Yeah, what we really need to work hard at doing is creating new ways to enable lazy dumbshit women to have more children with criminally inclined men.

Calling it pre-K or Head Start is a triple deception. Taxpayers recoil at the notion of providing (a) free daycare for (b) mothers who don't work, in a way that (c) gives the gov't more power to brainwash your children.

Since the Democrats are in the business of doing all three, they don't want to call it daycare. They want to pretend it's going to make children smarter, which it won't.

If what we're doing is essentially government-funded daycare, then we should only provide it to parents who actually work, the same way we do the EITC; and it should be in the form of a tax credit which parents can spend at any type of daycare they see fit.

We have a substantial network or private daycare providers all across the country. We don't want to destroy what we have and create a new government union in its place.

I am less conflicted about gov't funded daycare if it's to help parents who actually work. That might help to boost birthrates among the middle class.

Anonymous said...

These programs are NOT contradictory - they both advance government control over childrearing.

Liberal loveless selfish feminism does not want responsibility for children - end of story. Within weeks and months they abandon their children to some form of babysitting. How can a babysitter love a child like its mother can? Will a babysitter teach, nurture, and build a loving relationship between a child and the world, like a mother can?

These programs are a step to the feminist dream of government replacing men in their lives. Feminists do want children - psychologically and selfishly they want to fulfill their natural biological call for children - but NOT with the responsibility of marriage. It is absolutely negligent to think that a child can fully psychologically matriculate into adulthood without the input of a man in their lives.

There are good mothers and bad mothers and there are good fathers and bad fathers in this world - except for the extremes - it is best for a child to have both. The capacity for rational natural human love is transferred from mother to son and from father to daughter. When that chain of love is broken - bad things happen - that is the truth!

Elite liberal feminism with their hate for half the human race -- is killing LOVE.

jody said...

1) welfare state
2) single moms
3) ...legalize drugs?

now that's a recipe for success.

more articles from libertarians and progressives about how we need to legalize drugs. more articles from libertarians and progressives about how a society with a third world demographic profile and a massive welfare state is primed for success by making drugs easily and cheaply available to all.

imagine the HUGE gains in worker productivity. WOW!

can't wait guys. prosperity here we come.

cue the armies of drooling, libertarian zombies who magically come out of the woodwork whenever you try to explain what a catastrophe this idea is. "But drugs should be totally legal...drool drool drool...responsible adults....drugs..."

how are those year 2030 demographic projections looking for the ratio of responsible adults-to-not so responsible adults?

Chicago said...

All government programs such as this, even if they turn out to be worthless and don't accomplish what they're supposed to, can never be terminated. Just look at Head Start. Once in place these programs must be funded for all eternity.

Anonymous said...

Helping pregnant moms avoid substance abuse is highly cost-effective.

You know what else is cost-effective? Incentivizing substance-abusing women not to have children in the first place.

It's funny how the welfare state naturally raises all sorts of questions about taxpayers' ROI, and yet the liberals who champion the welfare state the most are the least willing to carry such cost-benefit considerations to their logical conclusion.

They turn the underclass into a massive fiscal liability with these expensive "investments" and then refuse to think rigorously about how to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of those investments.

Because, hey, that's some kind of Nazi talk, whereas inserting the state into every aspect of life is just being compassionate.

Anonymous said...

Re Jody:
"1) welfare state
2) single moms
3) ...legalize drugs?

now that's a recipe for success."

Add mass immigration and what do we get? More proles.
What could go wrong?

NOTA said...


Welfare state, single moms, and the war on drugs hasn't exactly been a shining success, either.

NOTA said...

At a guess, head start and nurse visitation and such all probably have one big benefit--a fraction of underclass kids are raised in truly hellish environments, and those programs probably provide some respite from the hellish environments. Like school breakfast/lunch programs, they likely do some genuine good in the world, but they probalby aren't going to raise anyone's IQ much, or close the black/white IQ or school performance gaps.

If we could openly acknowledge that a lot fo the gap isn't fixable, we could focus on fixing the stuff that can be fixed--making damned sure smart kids born in the underclass get all the help they can use to get out, minimizing the number of kids in hellish environments, and getting every kid the kind of education that he can actually benefit from. (For a lot of kids, that ain't Algebra 2.)

Anonymous said...

Wait until this runs afoul of the “my body, my choice” crowd. For decades, they have insisted that:

(1) Efforts to educate pregnant women about the risks of drug and alcohol abuse are a plot by reactionary White males to paternalistically subjugate women to the whims of patriarchy.

(2) A woman knows what is best for their body. Efforts to educate pregnant and nursing women as to proper nutrition are sexist, paternalistic, and see women as little more than baby factories and milk cows, respectively.

(3) Women have no more obligation to change their lifestyles to accommodate a growing, parasitic, mass of fetal tissue in their uterus than they do to accommodate a wart.

Anonymous said...

making damned sure smart kids born in the underclass get all the help they can use to get out

That's a topic which has been kicked around at iSteve from time to time, and I think there's a pretty good consensus now that about 50 or 75 years ago, all of the "smart kids" were identified, yanked out of the ghetto, and steered towards the middle class.

Meaning that, at least statistically speaking, there just aren't any "smart kids" left to be discovered out there in the 'hood.

And I think that the Black "elite" knows this damned well themselves: Moochelle's patronage job at UChig Med - to the extent that it involved any work whatsoever - was designed to get the ghetto blacks the heck outta the shining-on-a-hill UChig hospital facilities and into the local low-income neighborhood-based satellite medical clinics.

BTW, did you notice where the Obamanauts want to use the Obamacare Exchanges to force black patients to see black doctors?

Anything to protect their divine Frankfurt School puppeteers from actually having to cross paths with the Schwartzen in real life.

Anonymous said...

The government can't afford to send Registered Nurses to the homes of women who have given birth. Whenever you hear of one of these programs, you can bet that the government has trained "home visitors" to visit instead.

The "home visitors" are invariably young women with useless undergraduate degrees who are given a checklist of things to talk about and things to look for when they visit. They generally offer a basket of "free baby stuff" to get inside the door for the first time, and often hint (falsely) that they may be able to get a single mother a higher priority on the housing waiting list, etc.

What the people being visited don't realize is that the Home Visitor is going out to her car after the visit, driving around the corner, and inputting her version of what transpired into a computer database accessed by a laptop computer. Once they have created a file full of negative information, they pass the baton to Child Protective Services.

Simply accepting the basket full of stuff is considered an admission that you were having trouble providing formula, diapers, and clothing for your baby.

If the Home Visitor ever shows up at your door, smile politely, and thank them for their interest, but tell them that you have everything that you need for the baby, and that they should give the gift basket to somebody who really needs it. Do not be rude or insulting, because they will report you to CPS as being hostile and secretive if you do.

Red Gurplson said...

Matthew: Give the family a tax deduction of 10k for the first three kids and 5k for every kid after that. One that deducts 1 to 1 against taxable earned dollars but cannot generate a credit for those who already don't pay taxes. As an added benefit, this frees up more money the higher the individuals tax bracket.

Enjoy your Greg Clarkian middle-to-upper-middle baby boom when these folks see another ~$4k they don't lose in taxes, per kid.

Sheila said...

The UK has had such home visits for decades. When I first learned of such while studying there in 1980, my still very-liberal self was shocked, shocked! at the government intrusion it represented. I know; laughable naivete.

Anonymous said...


Like school breakfast/lunch programs, they likely do some genuine good in the world

How do these programs do some good? The cost of breakfast and lunch for a child is minimal. A $2 loaf of bread will make 8-10 sandwiches and the $5 in peanut butter and jelly should go even further. You can easily do three weeks for $9. Add in an apple (35 cents per day) and a bag of chips (25 cents per day), and the total is around around $1.25 per day. Similar calculations can be made for the cost of a bowl of cereal (30 cents per day) with milk (20 cents per day), or an egg (15 cents per day) and toast (10 cents per day) with butter (5 cents per day). $2 per day would be extremely generous here, which translates to less than $700 per year per child, which is less than 10% of full-time minimum wage. Feeding themselves doesn't need to cost any more. Adding in dinner if made inexpensively with things like pasta, potatoes, rice, ground beef, bone-in chicken, frozen vegetables etc. should be similarly little. A generously proportioned pasta and meat sauce with peas and toast would cost $1.50 per person. Chicken, rice, and beans would be less. This implies a food budget of $100 per month per person is sufficient, or about 20% of the minimum wage worker's income for a single mom and two kids, leaving 80% for everything else, because it isn't like they are paying taxes at that income level.

Now for all these underclass mooches who "can't" afford to feed their progeny and who therefore "must" be on WIC/SNAP/FreeLunch(TM) because it would be "unjust" to make them care for their own, how much are they spending per day on non-essentials like ciggarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, casino gambling, illegal drugs, cable TV, gossip magazines, makeup, etc.?

Anonymous said...

Kristof's entire career has been about nothing but fluffy leftist nonsense. He has no practical, critical thinking skills but a heart two sizes too big. He just feels more than the rest of us. Poor man.

Anonymous said...

a heart two sizes too big

Or at least the ability to FAKE having a heart two sizes too big.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I'm RN. In our training, we had to shadow public health nurses making these visitations. Unfortunately, the fact is that the visits are not for browbeating the mothers. Frequently, the mothers are so delinquent that they disappear during the visits after they hand the kid over to the nurse for inspection. The visits really are to monitor the health of the children.

Re Anonymous @7:26AM on 10/28:
I think you are a paranoid crank. Please some links to some evidence for your post.

P.S. Although Nurse Ratched does personify some nurses, most hate the character, and if you want to alienate nurses, referencing Nurse Ratched is a good way to do it.