Minnesota: The Nanny $tate

In “All-day kindergarten funding overdue (April 25),” Sun Newspapers Minnetonka Community Editor Joe Kieser chastises the state of Minnesota for falling “behind states like Mississippi, Alabama and most of our neighboring states in funding all-day kindergarten.” He says that “Minnesota is also in need of more special education and early childhood funding. We are leaving our youngest and most vulnerable students behind.”

Kieser’s rhetoric of fear would grow the “nanny state” government by transferring evermore responsibility for childrearing from parents to the state. Proposals now at the Legislature would take all-day kindergarten to its logical extremes, advocating universal preschool and psychiatric screening, and infant home visitation programs that undermine parental autonomy and authority, while increasing the state payroll and budget to unsustainable levels.

Kieser says, “Studies have shown that kids who are enrolled in an all-day, every-day kindergarten program benefit academically and emotionally more so than their half-day counterparts.” He seems to imply that there is no controversy among these studies. How would the all-day, every-day kindergarteners stack up against their peers who stay at home with one of their parents?

“The Association of Metropolitan School Districts estimates,” says Kieser, “that it would cost the state $160 million annually to fully fund an all-day, every-day kindergarten program if every student enrolled. That is a lot of money, but can you think of a better way to spend it?”

As a matter of fact, I can. Reduce taxes on all Minnesotans to give parents the freedom to stay home and raise their young children as they see fit, instead of making them wards of the state from cradle to grave. Do you really think that the government would do a better job of raising your children than you could?