From cradle to grave

Millions of dollars are being funneled into Minnesota and other states to promote universal, state-run (i.e., taxpayer funded) child care. This is not a new idea. Think No Child Left Behind for kids. Or worse.

Scholar just received this information in an e-mail from EdWatch:
Minnesota is one of the states targeted by a multi-state project, the National Build Initiative, that plans to "build a coordinated system of programs, policies and services" for children, birth through age five -- a state-run system of early care for our children. The Initiative is well-funded by 15 major foundations and endowments, including the W.K. McKnight Foundation , the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (dedicated "to promote universal, quality education and care for pre-kindergarten children), and the Kellogg Endowment (focuses on "policy reform," meaning, changes in state law). They have poured up to $350,000 into Ready 4 K to activate a network in Minnesota and promote their plan. It appears that wealthy foundations and corporations with an agenda are purchasing a state-run system of child care in Minnesota. Who will speak up for the families?

The Minnesota Early Learning Fund (SF 907 / HF 1419) is a bill that sets up a non-profit group (Early Learning Foundation) with state matching funds to create "strategies" for implementing the new system of child care in Minnesota effectively and efficiently -- the standards, the assessments, the rating system, the grants, and so on. This Fund will give Ready 4 K our tax money to fully implement their plan. Minnesota government will "partner" with the large corporations and foundations that are driving this agenda. The mission of the Fund is described as establishing "infrastructure supports and accountability measures." This puts unaccountable non-governmental organizations in charge of child care policy in Minnesota and is a major shift in governance.  It sounds a lot like No Child Left Behind for babies and toddlers.

It seems there is an unstoppable and infinitely funded effort to replace that old-fashioned notion called "parenting" with standards, assessements, and rating systems. Will this Baby Ed be optional? Or does "all children" mean "all children?" Will this system replace parenthood as we know it, leaving nothing for the biological parents to do except "breed 'em and feed 'em?" As No Child Left Behind takes the teacher out of the classroom, Baby Ed seeks to take the parent out of the nursery. (But don't worry, as the Department of Children, Families, and Learning once said, "Their minds are in our hands.")

This brings to mind three quotations from Scholar's quotation library. One was said by Marc Tucker of the National Center for Education and the Economy. The other was said by Dr. Robert Ley, head of the Labor Front, Nazi Germany. See if you can tell which is which:

A. "What is essential is that we create a seamless web of opportunities, to develop one's skills that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone..."

B. "Our state never releases the human being from the cradle to the grave...We do not let go of the human being...until he dies, whether he likes it or not."

And finally:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive...those who torment us 'for our own good' will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. —C.S. Lewis

Don't take the marketing langauge of this bill at face value. Ready 4 K is the same group that turned a Department of Education study on its head to claim that "Half of all Minnesota kids are left behind because they start kindergarten not fully prepared." Call your legislators and ask them whether the Minnesota Early Learning Fund bill (SF 907 / HF 1419) strengthens Minnesota families, or simply creates another gargantuan, insatiable bureaucracy with your tax money.