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Getting to Prekindergarten

October 27, 2013

Nick Kristof’s column today has a cliche for a title: “Do We Invest in Preschools or Prisons?”… and he trots out all the studies showing the power of preschool and early intervention, all the survey data showing how much Republican and Democrat voters love prekindergarten, and how much Obama and Duncan want to have early intervention and prekindergarten be part of their legacy. It omits one fact: early intervention and prekindergarten cost money and, THAT means higher taxes somewhere along the line.  That led me to go through the trouble of entering this comment on Kristof’s web page:

The political aphorism “everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die” applies here. OF COURSE everyone “supports” prekindergarten! But NO ONE wants to pay for it. We need to have Obama be forthright about where he will get the money and THEN we’ll see who is willing to support it. I would like to believe that there are enough compassionate voters out there who want to see everyone have an equal opportunity to succeed. But until Obama and Duncan advocate for more money and explain where it will come from we’ll be stuck.

At the most elemental level we are motivated by love or fear. When we answer surveys we draw on our love motivation— he answer with our heart. Alas, too often when we vote we are primed to base our decision on fear: someone wants to take our money from us and give it to the “other people” who don’t deserve it. Here’s my question to anyone who thinks that way: What 3 year old doesn’t deserve a chance for success?

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