Senator Jeannie Forrester (R) is currently a candidate for Governor in New Hampshire.  Today she received an endorsement from “Save the Children Action Network” because of her support for early childhood education.
“We are proud to support Jeanie Forrester, who will work hard to achieve expanded access to high-quality early education in the Granite State,” said Mark Shriver, President of SCAN. “Senator Forrester understands that education is vitally important for the future of New Hampshire and that high-quality early childhood education is a key component to any long-term strategy to fight the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic.”

They go on to say, “New Hampshire is one of the only states east of the Mississippi River without state-funded preschool,” making it clear to everyone that STATE-FUNDED preschool is ultimate goal.

To Forrester’s credit she does state that, “In order to minimize the financial impact on New Hampshire taxpayers, Forrester supports expanding pre-K programs if the state is able to secure private funding in order to sustain these programs.

The PUSH for taxpayer funded early childhood education is coming from the Obama administration and is part of the Common Core education reform.  Isn’t it ironic that the same reformers that gave us the dumbed down standards and dumbed down (Competency Based Ed) workforce skills are also pushing this political agenda?  Instead of focusing on correcting those enormous problems, they double down and push early childhood education. Remember, your children are “human capital” now and as such, the State must get them on a path to college and career as early as possible.   But is that path going to be successful and is it good for your children?

At a recent meeting with legislators, Spark NH and The PEW Center on the States made it clear, your children are “Human Capital” now.  This isn’t about doing what’s best for your children.

In my prior post on the Girard at Large Blog, “LET KIDS BE KIDS: Stop the political push for universal Pre-k & Full Day Kindergarten!” you can read my testimony before the House Education Committee on SB503-FN-A.  Notice all of the sponsors who advocate for early childhood education: Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Kelly, Dist 10; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Sen. Woodburn, Dist 1; Sen. Lasky, Dist 13; Sen. Feltes, Dist 15; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21; Rep. Ladd, Graf. 4; Rep. Gile, Merr. 27; Rep. Heath, Hills. 14; Rep. Mangipudi, Hills. 35; Rep. Grenier, Sull. 7, yet many of these same legislators fully support the dumbed down education reforms in New Hampshire’s public schools k-12.  I guess dumbing down k-12 isn’t enough for them.  They need to make sure your kids start the dumbed down program even earlier.

Ask these legislators to STOP the madness and focus on FIXING k-12 instead of expanding the dumbed down track to our youngest and most vulnerable children.

Ask them for peer reviewed/independent studies that show children who attend the Common Core dumbed down program in pre-k outperform children “LONG TERM,” compared to children who do not.   Good luck finding that.  Tell them to look at the latest report from ACT showing a smaller amount of high school students are prepared for college.   This is exactly what critics of the dumbed down Common Core Standards warned about.

Ask them if they read the recent study out of Stanford University that suggests we are sending children to school too early.  Did they know Danish kids who postponed kindergarten for up to one year showed dramatically higher levels of self-control?  Thomas Dee, one of the co-authoers said, “We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73% for an average child at age 11.

There are plenty of examples of how this push to early childhood education is harming young children.  However, you wont hear any of that from those who continue to push this political agenda.

Parents across the United States voluntarily send their children to Pre-k and full day kindergarten if they believe it will benefit their children.  They are the ones best equipped to make this important decision.  If they see that the program is killing the creativity or seeing a negative impact on their children, they can either withdraw or send them somewhere else.

Many of the current pre-k programs incorporate play time and fun activities for young children.  The focus isn’t on “college and career” training for a 3 year old, but that’s exactly what this reform agenda is intended to do. If politicians are concerned about a small minority of children who would benefit from early intervention, why not expand the current school choice program in NH?  The Children’s Scholarship Fund provides opportunities to parents who cannot afford the school of their choice.

There may be a few instances where early childhood education benefits some children, but there is no need to make it; universal, taxpayer funded or governed by the same reformers who are systematically dumbing down our k-12 model.

Since we know that early childhood education can be harmful to some children, why are they not looking to helping families stay home and raise their children?  Why not look at tax credits that help that mom or dad stay home a couple more years with their young children?  Why are the education reformers and organizations pushing early childhood education programs not promoting a nurturing environment for young children too?

It’s time to shift the conversation to helping parents do what they do best, nurture and raise their children.  If they believe pre-k benefits their kids in some way, they are the best ones to make that decision.  If there are parents who cannot afford it, there is a program in place that could be expanded to help those in need.

Unfortunately that’s not the goal of those pushing this political agenda.  Choice is removed, and the financial burden falls on the taxpayers. All of this with absolutely no proof this benefits these children long term.

Tell the candidates running for office in NH to look for creative ways that help young children.  Staying home with mom or dad and expanding the scholarship program is also good choice.  Both of these creative solutions help young children without the financial burden falling on the taxpayers. There is no need for candidates to work to facilitate the Obama political agenda.  There are better solutions if they just look for them.

Ann Marie Banfield began volunteering as Cornerstone’s Education Liaison in 2009. As an education researcher and activist she took her decade long research on education to Concord to lobby on behalf of parental rights and literacy. Working with experts in education from across the country, she offers valuable insight into problems and successes in education. She holds a B.A. in Business Management from Franklin University in Columbus Ohio. Ann Marie and her husband have three children and reside in Bedford, NH