As we all know, the worst thing ever was for the Canadian and Australian governments to try to educate the “Stolen Generations” of nonwhites into middle class white culture.
Now, the Biden Administration is proposing that the state take young people into its clutches for an additional four years and attempt to educate them into the middle class. When this fails, future progressives will denounce today’s progressives for the “Borrowed Generations” and announce that the only conceivable solution is more progressivism.
By Erica L. Green and Madeleine Ngo
July 16, 2021, 10:30 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — What was once considered a progressive dream for the nation’s education system could be headed toward reality as Democrats push forward to broker a deal on a new spending plan containing President Biden’s most ambitious domestic policy goals.
Included in the list of programs Democrats agreed this week to include in their $3.5 trillion budget blueprint are Mr. Biden’s campaign proposals to offer prekindergarten enrollment for every 3- and 4-year-old in the country, and tuition-free community college to every young adult. So far, both proposals are drawing widespread support from the Democratic coalition and are expected to remain priorities as the party’s top leaders seek to deliver on bedrocks of Mr. Biden’s $4 trillion economic plan.
“Infrastructure’s about roads and bridges, but it’s about the other things we need to have a fully engaged and active work force,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusets. “That means child care for parents. It means early childhood education, giving our kids the right start. And that means post-high school education or training. That’s what it’s going to take in the 21st century.”
The deal reflects a watershed moment in a movement that for at least a decade has called for expanding the public education system to level the playing field for students from “cradle to career.”
“This is changing how we think about our expectations for public education for our society,” said John B. King Jr., a former education secretary under President Barack Obama who is now the president of the Education Trust, an equity-focused think tank. He added, “Making a universal commitment to 17 years, rather than 13 years, of schooling is a ‘New Deal’ style vision for what a healthy and thriving society looks like in the 21st century.”
… But plans for universal pre-K and community college outlined in Mr. Biden’s $1.8 trillion package of economic proposals, known as the American Families Plan, called for $109 billion to fund two years of tuition-free community college for all. …
It also proposed $200 billion to pay for free pre-K programs, after evidence has grown for decades that unequal access creates achievement gaps among children before they reach kindergarten.
A future program, based on findings that children are born unequal, will then equalize treatment for the 8 months and 29 days before birth. But not one day sooner!
The package comes at a pivotal time, with both the higher education and K-12 sectors reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Community college enrollment fell by about 10 percent from 2019 to 2020, with the steepest declines occurring among Black and Latino students, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. Preschool enrollment declined by nearly 25 percent over the past year. As of December, about half of 4-year-olds and 40 percent of 3-year-olds were attending pre-K, including virtually. …
Expanding free early childhood education could lead to greater earnings, higher levels of education and lower levels of participation in crime, according to research from James J. Heckman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Chicago.
“You’re creating a ladder into the middle class,” Mr. Heckman said.
Mr. Heckman’s research on the Perry Preschool Project,
The Perry Preschool Project was conducted from 1962-1967. Surely, it has been replicated so many times since then that we don’t have to hear again and again about one New Frontier era study?
which gave two years of high-quality education to disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds in Ypsilanti, Mich., found a return on investment of 7 to 10 percent per year based on increased school and career achievement. More recently, Mr. Heckman and his colleagues found that compared with children of a control group, children of the original participants benefited from their parents’ higher average earnings and were more likely to grow up in stable two-parent households.
Celeste K. Carruthers, an associate professor of economics at the University of Tennessee, said that eliminating tuition should increase enrollment at community colleges and overall wages for people who completed their degrees.
Ms. Carruthers and her colleagues tracked the performances of students who were eligible for Knox Achieves, a program that provided free community college to any high school graduate in Knox County, Tenn. The researchers found that eligibility for the program led to higher rates of completion at two-year community colleges and significantly higher earnings as long as seven years after high school.
… The first lady, Jill Biden, is a longtime community college professor. …
[Shanna L. Jackson] added that there was also a “significant equity gap between Black and white students” who enrolled through the state program. For example, among the Promise program’s 2017 cohort, 26 percent of white beneficiaries completed their degrees in five semesters, while only 9 percent of Black students did.
Policy experts have warned that universal tuition-free college can be regressive and even exacerbate inequality by steering low-income students to lower-performing schools. …
Douglas N. Harris, a professor and chair of the economics department at Tulane University, who helped the Biden campaign research free-college programs across the country, said that free college should not be seen as a panacea.
Mr. Harris said his own analysis of even the most inspiring programs led to a sobering conclusion: “It’s really hard to change students’ trajectories.”
“Free college may be a catalyst for change,” he said. “This kind of a program is beneficial, but it’s not going to by itself change the inequities that we see.”