Our latest column for Examiner.com looks at the dwindling number of young Americans who can qualify for military service--and a proposed fix for that problem. A group called Mission Readiness, which includes a number of retired flag officers, is recommending a massive, new investment in Pre-K education, claiming that such programs produce kids who do better in school, and are less likely to be involved in crime.
It sounds perfectly reasonable, but there are some problems with the suggested solution. We've been investing in Pre-K programs for decades (i.e., Head Start), with negligible results. Throwing more money at such efforts won't produce desired results. You'd think that retired generals and admirals would understand that.
How about returning curriculum control back to the local school boards, so they can emphasize the "3 R's". How about requiring recess for grade schoolers and P.E. for junior high and high schoolers? How about a little discipline in schools? How about putting some teeth in the juvenile justice system? How about some parents doing, well I don't know, some parenting??? Gee, maybe these are just some old passe ideas or some radical new ones, but I can guarantee you that they work.
With a handful of noteworthy exceptions most retired generals and admirals are totally politicized. Witness Tony McPeak and Wesley Clark for two of the prime examples.
They simply speak to add pseudo credibility to what the pols in power seek and then hope to be rewarded at the feeding trough.
Pre-K can be great for two groups--well nurtured children of two parent families and children with disabilities that can be responsive to early interventions.
The rest are simply participating in government funded day care. To improve education, get concerned parents involved in elementary and high school, insuring attendance, monitoring progress, helping with homework, instilling values and communicating with the teachers.
The single biggest bang for an educational buck will come from parental involvement.
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