R. Sargent Shriver was one of the founders of the government monstrosity known as “Head Start”. Its underlying reasoning being that parents cannot (or will not) educate their own children in when they are toddlers, Shriver was proof that years do not necessarily equal wisdom.
A recent Oregonian article eulogized Shriver and bemoaned the likely loss of federal dollars to the Head Start program.
The battle goes on: This week, conservative members of Congress elected on the tea party tide in November pledged to cut the federal budget by $100 million; Democrats say a slice that big could, among other things, knock 350,000 students out of Head Start.
And yet the Oregonian tells us, in no uncertain terms, how the program has become bloated over the years. Originally, it was “a summer program” and was “started with 200 children”. Now, it is for the entire school year and involves 822 children with a waiting list of 500 (just in that one school). All this so that government teachers can teach children to “learn their numbers and colors”. Wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper to simply let parents do this? If they are responsible enough to have kids, then they should be responsible enough to teach them. If they are unwilling to do so, then we have an issue far more serious than a lack of education.
Though the article does not explicitly come out and say so, the two included photos and “Head Start by the numbers” insert make it clear that this is yet another government program that takes money from white people and give it to non-whites. Two of the three children shown in the photos are black and, in the first one, the black child seems to be the primary subject and is mentioned first by name. The “numbers” tell us that 35% of the students are Latino and 17.5% are black. Whites, at 25% are very much underrepresented. Furthermore, 27% of the staff are parents of former or current students. So not only is this a government-run babysitting program for non-whites, but it is also a job-creation program for them. 90% of the children get medical/dental care through the program. In all, it costs $8,689 per child. “Numbers” does not tell us what percentage of the Latino children are illegal.
In order to qualify for Head Start, “a child must come from a poor home, measured as a family of four making less than $22,000 a year.” I know plenty of whites who make less than that – but then again, they don’t have four children. They tend to wait until they are more financially stable and then have children, but that day may never come because so much is taken from them as taxes to pay for programs such as Head Start – which subsidizes those less responsible than they.
Whether or not Head Start has long-term beneficial results is controversial. But let us assume that its proponents are correct that it does improve cognitive skills through early adulthood and that it does reduce crime. The program was initiated in 1965. Do its proponents believe that it should remain in place until the end of time? How long is long enough?
The Oregonian concludes:
Rhiger summons children to sit around her. “D is the letter of the week, remember?” she asks; the children nod. She holds up a coloring worksheet with pictures of a drum, a duck, a dog, a doll.
“I want you to color all the things on this sheet that begin with D,” Rhiger says. “So, would you color the drum?”
“Yes!” cry out the children.
“But would you color the nnnnnnnnnnnnecklace?”
“No, that’s right. Can you tell me why?”
“Because necklace begins with N!” comes the chorus.
The “D” I see here stands for “deceit” – deceit by government. The “N” stands for “neglect” – neglect by parents, who feel no shame in letting government do the job they should be doing and neglect by having children they should not be having. As for medical benefits, if they are living in poverty, they qualify for medicare anyway.*
*But I must make the disclaimer here that some people do fall between the cracks and find themselves in tough situations – so it is not my intention to judge them all with the same broad brush.