Cato Handbook for Congress: Policy Recommendations for the 106th Congress

By Edward H. Crane; David Boaz | Go to book overview
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30.
Early Education and Child Care

Congress should end all federal early education and child care subsidies and programs and return early education and child care to the state, local, or family level, as provided by the Constitution.

The care and education of young children are a perfect example of one major theme of this Handbook: that even many vitally important things in society are not the province of the federal government. No one questions the importance of the education and care of young children: just witness the strong bipartisan support for almost any program catering to young children. Yet the importance of children's welfare does not mean that caring for children is an important function of the federal government. In fact, the importance of child care is partly what makes it unsuited to government control.

Consider an equally important influence in many children's lives: religion. Few Americans believe government should decide whether a child becomes Protestant, Catholic, or atheist. That is not because religious choice isn't important but precisely because it is. We demand the separation of church and state, not solely because it is in the Constitution, but because religion is an important aspect of personal conscience and belief. Child rearing, and its components child care and early education, is no more or less personal. Like religion, it is a way we shape our children's hearts, minds, behavior, and values. It deserves the same respect and protection from government intrusion for the same reasons.


Good News about Preschoolers

Underlying moves for more government preschool programs is the mistaken idea that today's preschoolers aren't prepared for kindergarten. The truth is that 70 percent of preschool-aged children already attend preschools, and the gap in participation rates between preschoolers from

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