January 4, 2014

Universal pre-K: the fuel-injected drag racer of anti-inequality policies

New New York mayor Bill De Blasio's signature campaign promise is to fight income inequality with universal pre-K education.

If universal pre-K works as well as the new mayor promises at reducing income inequality, its effects should be statistically noticeable by the 2040s, and be visible to the naked eye by the 2060s. By 2075, universal pre-K's effectiveness at fighting income inequality should be undeniable.

Are we really ready for social change that's that radical and fast-moving?

Seriously, when I mention the role illegal immigration and the like plays in the growth of income inequality in the U.S., I'm often told: But we can't worry about the next generation, we have to do something now that will work fast to fight income inequality!

So, here's the great liberal hope focusing on fighting income inequality one 4-year-old at a time.


Anonymous said...

Chiara de Blasio Releases Video Admitting Drug, Alcohol Problems

Anonymous said...

This is so bizarre. No other country even has it. It's a completely fictional thing.

David said...

Another step toward the womb.

Auntie Analogue said...

Don't you get it, Mr. Sailer? Universal pre-K is not intended or supposed to yield rapid reduction of inequality - because for liberals, social engineering is a vocation, a career, a multi-generational commitment to milk and milk and milk the public teat.

Even if pre-K, or any other liberal social engineering scheme actually worked as it was hoped to have worked, liberals would find another "issue" to spend revenue on, to keep the milk flowing. Or liberals pull another of their favorite tactics: they just shift the goal posts.

So who cares if Head Start was, and continues to be, a raging mega-billion price tag dud? I mean, pre-K is really so very different from Head Start which is - uh-oh - pre-K.

Anonymous said...

It's grown beyond a wearisome, tiresome joke, Steve and others have been banging on about the strak, staringly obvious ie the law of supply and demand as it apertains to a post industrial American labor force, for literally decades. And still he cannot even penetrate a millimeter into the hard-cased ebonite wooden heads of the political dummies or indeed of their even dumber economic string-pullers. The sheer futility of it all has become depressing, it's like the task of Sisyphus, only that knowing is taking a blind bit of notice.

The only thing you can gather from this whole sorry charade is the sheer power of delusion as it operates on the human collective mind, and the equally dominant power of group compliance. From evolutionary psychology perspective these faculties must have evolved for a very good reason, since their power is overwhelming to all rational reasoning.

Anonymous said...

With or without affirmative action? They must mean without affirmative action, otherwise they could just expand AA to get the results they want.

I always wonder if these people actually believe their own bullshit, even a little?

Mr. Anon said...

It sounds as though DeBlasio will make people nostalgic for the competence and clear-thinking of the Dinkins' mayoralty.

Anonymous said...

Steve, is M Night Shyamalan's new book on your radar? It's called I Got Schooled, and he claims to have found the five magic bullets to close The Gap. It seems like something right up your alley: an educated, seemingly well-meaning Indian-American filmmaker, from a family background of (as he tells it) evidence-based doctors, taking it upon himself to take a look at the data and make prescriptions. Book TV hosted a presentation he did, interviewed with Chris Matthews, in November. Shyamalan is fond of making school year-round; firing the very worst few percentage of teachers, but not hoisting everything on supermen teachers; pre-K education; smaller schools; and having principles be hands on with teachers. He says these things need to work in conjunction, or they don't do much by themselves, and that the data about what works is already there: no need for charter schools to fumble around and try to reinvent the wheel. Tellingly, at the end of his Book TV presentation, he says The Gap is ultimately a legacy of racism.

Anyways, I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to hear the Stevian take on this. If nothing else, it's a good story, and Shyamalan isn't a bad salesman - even though I suspect he's ultimately selling snake oil and improperly interpreting the data.

Art Deco said...

Once you understand that the Democratic Party is an electoral vehicle for a portfolio of occupations delineated by the vocational faculties in higher education and by pseudo-professional certification boards, these sorts of things are predictable. Jobs for the boys (actually girls, the vast bulk of the time) with degrees in 'education', 'social work', 'journalism', &c.

Anonymous said...

The less time they spend with the dysfunctional biological unit the better.

In fact year round pre-K until 21 makes so much sense that it should be mandated from birth.

Off to BoysTown and Girlstown until 21, there will be no contact with the "family". They are dead.

Anonymous said...

The only thing you can gather from this whole sorry charade is the sheer power of delusion as it operates on the human collective mind, and the equally dominant power of group compliance. From evolutionary psychology perspective these faculties must have evolved for a very good reason, since their power is overwhelming to all rational reasoning.

You aren't nearly sufficiently cynical yet.

The Powers That Be [TPTB] know damned well that the NAMs can't be edumakated.

They want the NAMs here as

1) A not-so-veiled threat, the spectre of the unleashing of which can be used as leverage against any possible White Middle Class uprising to overthrow TPTB, and

2) As a monolothic voting bloc which, under one-man/one-vote, can be counted on to keep TPTB in power from now until the end of time.

Once you realize that every single syllable, of each and every word, pronounced by TPTB, is an utter and complete lie, and that their actual motivations are always completely different from their stated motivations, then it all starts to make sense.

The first step in making that journey is to stop taking their stated motivations at face value, and, instead, to start asking yourself, "Okay, I know that that's a lie, but let me try to work backwards and see whether I can figure out what they really want here."

Unknown said...

Does this mean that he at least realizes that high schools and middle schools are powerless to close the achievement gap (and hence it was stupid to punish them for failing to do so)?

Anonymous said...

While the program is running it will be a jobs program for all those unemployable liberal arts types, and especially the children of wealthy people.

Once universal pre K is canceled the taxes will continue on to feed the pension system that Mayor Bloomberg expanded to keep the labor peace and pretend he was really in charge.

Here's my idea, cancel school after 6th grade and concentrate all funding on conception to 6th grade. After 6th grade there would be a 1 year course in stuff like home health aide and after that the kiddos can escape the school to prison pipeline.

Anonymous said...

Shyamalan is fond of making school year-round; firing the very worst few percentage of teachers, but not hoisting everything on supermen teachers; pre-K education; smaller schools; and having principles be hands on with teachers.

- Making school year round? I wish I had though of that!
- Firing the worst teachers? Somebody's been talking to Jack Welch.
- Pre-K education? What ever happened to Head Start?
- Smaller schools? Wait a minute, I thought the consolidation of schools in the 1960s was done to solve some problem but I can't remember what it was.
- Principals working hands-on with teachers? Doing what? Perhaps enforcing discipline and expelling the hoodlums?

Magic bullets indeed.

Anonymous said...

Pre-K is a bone, or perhaps even a flank steak, being thrown by de Blasio to the teacher's unions. In effect, public school teachers are an extension of his campaign organization. Why wouldn't he want to hire more operatives? 2018 will be here before you know it.

Anonymous said...

Head Start works.

(1) Small to moderate gains in school performance in the first years. Scholastic results later on fade.

(2) Most significantly it nurtures middle class values for life in both poor whites and blacks.

"Garces, Thomas, and Currie used data from the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics to review outcomes for close to 4,000 adults followed from childhood. Among European–Americans, adults who had attended Head Start were significantly more likely to complete high school, attend college, and possibly have higher earnings in their early twenties than their nonparticipant siblings. African American adults who had attended Head Start were significantly less likely to be booked or charged for a crime than were their nonparticipant siblings. Head Start may increase the likelihood that African American males graduate from high school."

Anonymous said...

Universal pre-K has two great advantages for the left wingnut politicos in this country and neither has to do with education or reducinfg group intelligence gaps: First, it provides free baby-sitting for persons who, for whatever reasons, want to get rid of their pre-scholl kids for six or more hours a day. SEcond, like "bilingual education", it provides relatively high-paying employment for many otherwise unemployable persons. However, the two purposes somewhat conflict if high-quality baby-sitting services are required. It would be highly informative, interesting and amusing should this play out in NYC and NWAM minorities, middle-class working women, unions, and politicians all seek what they consider appropriate outcomes and appropriately large slices of the money pie.

Anonymous said...

Well, you have to admit, that de Blasio is pretty smart.

By the time we know for sure that it could never have worked, he will be well and truly dead.

Anonymous said...

We just instituted universal pre-K in the fall of 2012 in my small city. The mayor, an old school Democrat with only light traces of lunacy, is a great chaser of grants and got two years of federal money to cover it. Headlines abounded in the local press, trumpeting "Free Pre-Kindergarten"! The next board of aldermen meeting consisted of hosannas all around and much verbal fellating of the mayor. I couldn't resist being the gadfly during the public comments, asking who's paying starting in the fall of 2014. After much hemming and hawing, the answer boiled down to their belief that some sort of grant would be available then, too.

It's basically what Auntie says; these people truly think that there was money yesterday and money today, so of course there'll be money tomorrow. The alleged benefit is so far down the road that, in our attention deficit age, no one notices that there isn't any benefit!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You gotta wonder about a guy named 'gladwell'. glad and well in the same word?

too much of a happysell.

Anonymous said...

"he says The Gap is ultimately a legacy of racism"

yeah. if 'racist' whites had NOT brought blacks here, the race gap would not exist.

In Finland, there is no race gap because it's all white.

Btw, why are blacks so good at sports though whites had policies banning them from sports? And Jack Johnson got lots of abuse from white spectators.

One might say it's because blacks were made to do manual labor than intellectual stuff, so they became more physical-oriented.
But Mexicans were also relegated to farm work and laborious toil. So, where are the Mexers in the NBA and NFL?

agnostic said...

Not only a "liberal" issue -- conservative morons have been in hysterics about mediocre schools dragging down our prosperity and international competitiveness since 1983, A Nation at Risk, which recommended the requirement of 3 years of high school math. No Child Left Behind built on that foundation.

Conservatives are not challenging the silly notion that Americans need more education -- a greater share of a given age group, a greater range of age groups, and for a longer duration of the school day and school year.

Nor do they challenge the elitist agenda of making the content all academic. Show me the thriving grassroots conservative movement that wants to bring back home ec for girls, shop class for boys, and vocational training more broadly.

Nope, all that they argue over is what academic topics and instructional techniques will be used in service of the unchallenged goal of more ed, and more academics.

E.g., focus on rote memorization rather than self-discovery of principles -- not asking whether the thing they're learning is worth everybody learning, or whether it'll be a huge waste of time, no matter how they learn it. The quadratic formula, for instance.

A Nation at Risk complained about how few high schoolers could write a persuasive essay. Why does a plumber need to know how to write a 5-paragraph essay? All that time, effort, and money to achieve the goal is pure waste.

Also, what kind of goal is it to have all Americans be able to BS their way through a half-baked argument? Might that turn us into a national of BS-ers?

Anonymous said...

The crucial age at which The Gap materializes seems to get earlier and earlier. When it gets to -9 months, we may finally be able to do something.

agnostic said...

As for inequality, expanding education leads to wider inequality. A brief overview of the history of American education:


There was rising inequality from circa 1820 to 1920, falling inequality from then until sometime in the '70s, and rising again after then through today.

Compulsory education for youngish children was absent in the early days of the Republic, and only began spreading during the rising-inequality period, beginning in 1852 and ending in 1917. The high school movement was a little later, but also a Gilded Age / Turn-of-the-Century phenomenon.

Then, as now, the emphasis was on academics and classics, a waste of time for almost everybody passing through.

The rising-inequality period also saw an explosion of higher ed, both number of colleges and student populations. Sound familiar? Peter Turchin looked through data on law school enrollments, and found an explosion of law school attendance during that time as well. Again, ring a bell?

The Great Compression, when inequality was falling, saw the society putting a lid on the older status-striving pursuit of more and more education. The proliferation of colleges wound down, lots of kids skipped school and weren't punished, and vocational and practical classes started to develop. That was the heyday of home ec for girls and shop class for guys.

Pursuit of more ed, and more academic ed, is nothing more than status-striving. Hence, status-striving had to decline before inequality did, and it had to re-emerge before inequality could rise again.

The Progressive movement around the 1910s were pushing for vocational training, and inequality fell shortly afterwards. The Great Society programs began the "excellence for all" discontent and return to status-striving, and inequality began rising by the later '70s.

The grassroots change has to target the spiral of status-striving in this country, not inequality itself, which is an effect. I don't see that turning around any time soon, though, even with conservatives or lower-status folks. They take it as an insult, like "Oh, so you don't think my kids would benefit from high school, or an academically focused curriculum? My kids deserve more than you think, and I'll show you."

Less schooling, and a more practical focus in school -- that's what we need.

Mr. XXX said...

Part of the impact is to free up those working mothers from mothering, so they can earn more money. So some impact may be noticeable before 2040 ...

Sorry, my eyes just rolled out of my head.

agnostic said...

What's the mechanistic link between the expansion of education and widening inequality? It equips the aspiring elite with the skills and knowledge necessary to crush other people's skulls in order to climb to the top, and to BS your way through a self-advancing argument. So, the ceiling on incomes will rise.

It also wastes the formative years of the lower majority of the population, training them for a way of life that they'll never ever make a living in. It's worse than just sitting around doing nothing -- it's *mis*-direction of their efforts. They could have been learning a trade, apprenticing, or by middle and high school, working in wage labor. Earn early, save early, and retire early.

If they also get trapped in the expansion of higher ed, they're also mired in debt for life, while the successful elite will be able to pay of their student loans.

Establishing and continuing to run an expanding public school system requires public funding, i.e. taxes. Except for those too poor to pay taxes, the middle 70% (or whatever) of the population is paying regularly to have their children be misdirected. Schooling isn't exactly cheap.

Eventually, the elite's goal is to privatize schooling in order to mire the majority in debt for K-12 schooling, not just for college. And then pre-K -- $20,000 in student loans by the time you're 5 years old!

agnostic said...

TL;DR --

No Child Left Behind is our neo-Victorian Scramble for Africa.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe we could make this work...
Cut off their welfare and hire the moms to work at the school (eg. Teacher aides, classroom helpers, lunch ladies, whatever) And/or require a DepoProvera shot at registration and at every report card.

Pat Boyle said...

Pre-K is much, much too late. The womb as the commenter 'David' suggested is also too late.

Income inequality, it seems likely, began about 50,000 years ago in the Middle East. The tropical bodied (gracile) humans arose in East Africa about 100,000 years ago. Some of them migrated north out of Africa. Then they underwent some relatively large change in their brains about 50,000 years ago that is not well understood.

This is pretty much the current main stream conventional account of human evolutionary history. It is Cavalli-Sforza. I'm a follower here. I wouldn't presume to offer my own ideas on such a matter.

In any case those early Homo Sapiens who went West met and interbred (a little) with Neanderthals and became Europeans. Those who went East eventually became East Asians. Both of these new groups had larger and better brains than those who they had so recently left behind in Africa.

The large brained, high IQ peoples earn high incomes. The smaller brained Africans earn less.

If for whatever moral or ideological reason you think we need to make all people earn the same, you will have to go back well before pre-school.


Anonymous said...

(tropical forest)bunny-proof fence.

Anonymous said...

de Blasio is simply ensuring there will be no criteria by which he will be judged to have failed, by the time he is up for re-election.

Mean time he can get on with turning New York into the next de Troitio.

Ably assisted and abetted by the legalization of marijuana, of course.


Anonymous said...

Night is getting good ending 'racism'.

Anonymous said...

"It's called I Got Schooled"

Won't get schooled again, no no.

Anonymous said...

"It's grown beyond a wearisome, tiresome joke, Steve and others have been banging on about the strak, staringly obvious ie the law of supply and demand as it apertains to a post industrial American labor force, for literally decades."

If it's a joke, we must stop playing the straight man as butt of the joke. Only way to fight the joke is to treat it as a joke and joke about it.

Anonymous said...

If there's a sport gene, why not a school gene?

Chicago said...

It'll be just another boondoggle, a babysitting service for lazy welfare recipients who get to dump their children on somebody else so as to free themselves up for more important things. 'Here, turn this kid into a genius then hand him back'. Of course, the pre-K centers will probably be staffed by some welfare-to-work slugs whose own children are none too swift themselves yet they'll be able to work miracles with other people's children. The idea that people are supposed to take care of their own children seems to have faded out somewhere back in the mists of time.
Wilhelm-de Blasio promises a lot but won't be able to deliver anything; he can't make money grow on trees or enable elephants to fly. It's just a question of how much damage he'll do. It took me by surprise that this very peculiar, maladjusted man got elected. Who voted him in?

sunbeam said...

Regarding your statements about effects being noticeable statistically by the 2040's, exactly what would they be measuring?

It wasn't that long ago that kindergarten was unknown in most US states (well I think anyway).

What effect has it had statistically? I think it's been oh, say 43 years since it became widespread.

My eyeball test says it didn't do anything. Maybe my eyeballs are jaundiced, but kids seem dumber now. Maybe it's the old grandpa, or I want them off my lawn, but I have some good arguments as to the trends and developments that have caused this.

But one thing my lying eyes tell me, is the the period since kindergarten was introduced we have seen a dramatic broadening of the "gap." Although to be fair I'm only talking about economics, but academics hasn't been affected one iota.

My eyeballs also tell me that this effect had nothing to do with kindergarten, one way or another.

C. Van Carter said...

There is a technological solution.

Anonymous said...

Another step toward the womb.

The state obviously sees parents as a negative influence. Maybe the kids should reside in institutions, and parents should be limited to cuddling visits. What exactly is the purpose of these little DNA vehicles? What does the state have planned for them?

Luke Lea said...

Of course it isn't income inequality per se that matters but inequalities in consumption. Needs-based welfare program are one way with dealing with that problem, but they decouple effort and reward. A better way would be wage subsidies (and improved and expanded version of the earned income tax credit) financed by a progressive expenditure tax (which is essentially like an income tax but with savings tax exempt -- the advantage is that marginal tax rates can be much higher without discouraging enterprise: thrifty high-earners can get richer faster, build family fortunes more easily, etc.

5371 said...

Director of cheap meretricious films has cheap meretricious ideas? Who would have thought it?

Unknown said...

Don't forget that he wants SEIU members to actually runt he pre-K programs, so they get an immediate benefit too! Win-win as they say.

Truth said...

Steve-O, the "Good"guys are comming back!


Anonymous said...

Lol not to be out done, Cuomo announces support for funding statewide Pre-K. The GOP supports the idea but not raising taxes for it. The GOP is all but defeated and vanquished in NY.


Anonymous said...

All "universal pre-K" will amount to is white guilt brainwashing for babies. it will have nothing to do with education in the traditional sense, but rather political RE-education.

Tony said...

warren Wilhelm is gonna be the downfall of NYC.

Throw some popcorn in the microwave said...

warren Wilhelm is gonna be the downfall of NYC.

And it couldn't happen to a nicer group of people.

Anonymous said...

The thing about fuel-injected drag racers is they never run for very long... But you can always expect to see another one.

Anonymous said...

If the folks (political euphemism for people) at the bottom had fewer kids , "The Gap" would be more manageable.

Has a survey ever been taken asking why people have kids? I've done some browsing and I can only find studies giving reasons people don't have kids and reasons they have abortions.

It seems having kids is an unexplored default. It is hard to claim it is an instinct since so many people have one or two, but they can restrain or postpone the instinct thereafter.

It is funny that people are pressed to explain why they have no kids, but don't have to explain only having one or two.

Why don't the same reasons for not having three suffice for not having any? Ex-Mayor Bloomberg is never asked why he didn't have a thousand? Maybe one was enough to squash rumors of gayness.

Anonymous said...

Again Head Start works. It's not about closing the gap. Rather it's about middle class values

Pat Boyle said...

Again Head Start works. It's not about closing the gap. Rather it's about middle class values

I trained as an government program evaluator in grad school. The first rule of program evaluation is to judge against the explicit original intentions. Head Start was very definitely about closing the gap. It failed miserably. The literature at the time assumed that all little black kids would soon learn at the same rates as the little white kids. When it failed revisionists began to excuse that failure by substituting another set of goals.

Another example. 97% of all scientists agree that there is anthropogenic global warming. OR - 97% of all scientists agree that there has been no anthropogenic global warming. Both are true simultaneously.

The global warming that that Warmists refer to these days is a belief that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that people have put a lot of it into the atmosphere. Sure. No one disagrees with that but that's not what global warming used to mean. Carl Sagan - the most famous public astronomer of all time - use to pound home the idea that CO2 was just about to reach a 'tipping point' and we would get runaway global warming and soon have an atmosphere like that of Venus. That of course would annihilate all life on Earth.

Global Warming was a significant issue because one of the most famous scientists was predicting the end of the world.

97% of all scientists today would tell you that that original Sagan formulation is bogus. It just isn't going to happen. It has been thoroughly discredited. All scientists agree. The cause for alarm is past. But we know from Festinger's work when prophecy fails, believers believe even harder.

The mark of a bad theory is that it can't be refuted by any amount of evidence. The mark of a bad government program is that it keeps shifting its goals when it fails in its original mission.


JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Again Head Start works. It's not about closing the gap. Rather it's about middle class values

Except its sold (at a hefty price) to help education, which it categorically does not.

This is a perfect place to quote Anonymous above:

Once you realize that every single syllable, of each and every word, pronounced by TPTB, is an utter and complete lie, and that their actual motivations are always completely different from their stated motivations, then it all starts to make sense.

and point out Ace's current headline post:Now That It's Safe to Do So, Left Begins Admitting that Obamacare is a "Sneaky Way" to Press for Single Payer"

Tony said...

"Throw some popcorn in the microwave said...

warren Wilhelm is gonna be the downfall of NYC.

And it couldn't happen to a nicer group of people."

My paisans in Brooklyn are gonna have a problem with that. Don't dump on a whole city. Lots of good people still living there who didn't vote for this communist. They don't deserve Wilhelm. We don't deserve Obama.

Anonymous said...

Closing the Gap v. Nurturing Middle Class Values

Radically different goals? I don't think so. The original intention was to mold those kids to eventually be productive tax payers.

This is an example of political incorrectness makes you stupid.