Thursday, October 23, 2008

How much for child care and development?

Obama's concern for children (who make it through the birth canal and aren't a product of a botched abortion) is evident on his web page under "Education." I can't find details on the proposed costs, but here's the bare bones for early childhood education.
  1. Zero to Five Plan: The Obama-Biden comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, the Obama-Biden plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama and Biden will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state "zero to five" efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.
  2. Expand Early Head Start and Head Start: Obama and Biden will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.
  3. Affordable, High-Quality Child Care: Obama and Biden will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.
Would you like to take a guess at what we've been spending under mean old President Bush, those heartless Republicans? Would you believe ELEVEN BILLION in FY 2004 and FY 2005?
    For both Fiscal Years (FY) 2004 and 2005, $4.8 billion in Federal CCDF funding was available through block grants to all 50 States, the District of Columbia,5 Territories, and 261 Tribal grantees in FY 2004 and 265 Tribal grantees in FY 2005 (representing over 500 Indian Tribes). Through CCDF and other funding streams available for child care––including State Matching and Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funds, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars transferred to CCDF or spent directly by States on child care services, and Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funds––over $11 billion was available for child care in FY 2004 and FY 2005. Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)Report to Congress for FY 2004-2005
To hear Obama tell, you'd think America's poor children have been left on street corners and with great grandmothers while their mothers go to work in sweat shops. These huge block grants to the states began back in the mid-90s under "welfare reform" so that mothers who needed to work had safe and reliable child care. I've looked through hundreds of these alphabet soup programs. I do have concerns about their effectiveness, however, lack of funding and pie-in-the-sky goals aren't it.

Keep in mind there's no hard evidence that Head Start type programs, even after 40 years, have any long term affect, because these youngsters will continue to compete their entire lives with children who have come from enriched environments, with two parents who value education. True, they would be even further behind if they hadn't learned to sit still, follow instructions, the names of colors, how to stand in line, etc., but they won't catch up no matter how many billions Obama or Bush throws their way.

Marriage is now the great divide in social class, education and wealth, and our government programs have been discouraging marriage for decades giving women with children money and keeping the fathers out of the home. The government "helps" discourage achievement, because benefits might be lost as one moves up the social and salary scale. A few hours a day in even the best enriched program cannot balance or play catch up--its a fairy tale that liberals, conservatives and religious people want to believe, in part I think, because there is so much government money waiting for those who do. Whatever gains they achieve by attending even good pre-schools are lost by second or third grade. There is some evidence that keeping mainstream kids in universal child care environments holds them back and creates more problems for their families, so perhaps thats the BO-Biden plan for fairness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So an infant left at a government daycare program is better off than an infant at home?