Monday, March 21, 2005


(First in a series)

Something that’s going on with preschool and kindergarten in the public schools in North Platte and across the country reminds me of another one of my crazy education protest songs. I call it “Government Nannies”:

(to the tune of “Sixteen Tons”)

They’ve got to come to school ready and able
So government nannies rock the cradle.
Gave ‘em my babies; what a fool!
I sold my kids to the government school!

We gave ‘em K through 12, and what do we get?
A nation illiterate and deeper in debt.
Preschool, meals, latchkey, drug-testing, too:
Is there anything left for the home to do?

We give up our sweet kids and parental rights.
But kids need YOU, so put up a fight.
Don’t let ‘em fall into this cesspool:
Don’t sell your kids to the government school!

Well, it’s not THAT bad . . . but it’s bad. The more time and money we devote to public education, and the more young children are captured in the government-school system at earlier and earlier ages, the worse our kids seem to be doing, both academically and in terms of character development.

Not all kids, of course. But certainly enough to be very concerned.

I’m convinced that it is folly to extend the public school’s dominion over our kids to younger ages, before kindergarten, and after the 12th grade year, through what they’re now delicately calling “16th grade.”

I have children in both of those stages – one a college senior, and one who just turned 5. I’ve read and thought a lot about this issue. I’ve observed the long-term consequences of all-day kindergarten in two of my three older children and their peers. I’m familiar with what works best in preschool education for disadvantaged kids, based on reputable studies. And I have to conclude that parents and taxpayers need to blow the whistle on the increase in “government nannies” immediately.

Tomorrow, we’ll see how a mom in North Platte, Neb., did just that.

There’s a very good case being made for reducing time spent in government schools, not increasing it. And that goes double for the itty bitties.

Go Big Ed will cover this controversy this week with a five-part series on preschool and kindergarten in the public schools.

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