Obama's proposal for expansion of pre-school programs seems downright counter to logic.
If the DOE has determined, with both studies, that most advantages of Head Start are lost by the time kids are in 1st grade, and totally gone by 3rd grade, logic tells me that the Head Start program works UNTIL the kids get into their public school system! There does seem to be good things for the kids when they are still in the pre-school, but are not sustained when they leave those programs.
So, rather than expand the pre-school programs, shouldn't we start by spending that money (if, indeed, additional funds were available) to clean up what's wrong with the higher grades in public schools?
For starters, there are probably not a lot of pre-schoolers who bring knives or other weapons to school. Not many pre-schoolers could batter their teachers ... nor other students. I think that violence is a big part of it. We can see that many of the schools that have the poorest academic records are in inner cities where there is also the highest amount of violence. Just curbing the violence (that engenders fear in both the teachers and non-violent students) could go a long way to improving the academic standards in those schools.
I was always under the impression that all of our individual rights and/or privileges (like the privilege of a free, public education system) depended upon not interfering with the rights of someone else. If the most troublesome kids form into groups, how about putting these students into community service ... but not putting them in the same place for that service; i.e. break down the group/mob mentality of those troublesome students. They might actually learn more from their community service experience than in those schools. Obviously, "detention" is useless ... unless it requires those students to actually DO something; not just sit there with "free time" to indulge their whims.
Cost? Is it more expensive for the school system to run a bus to different community service assignments than it is to lose the futures of the non-violent students who could benefit from the education they are NOT getting in a violent school? If this stuff is more common in poorer neighborhoods, then if parents are collecting welfare because they are not working, how about doing some "work-fare" by using them to help in the neighborhood school? If using this additional "labor force" does not reduce the regular staff, how could the teachers union argue that it's costing union jobs? They could also do jobs like removing graffiti from walls, etc. That particular job would also be a good thing for "community service" assignments for those transported students. Not in their own school, but in another school where they don't have the support of their regular group.
There are so many things that could be done, for which costs would be minimal, that are common sense & logical, and nobody even suggests such changes!