Tag Archives: Daycare

Study: government-run pre-school programs fail to produce expected results

TNVPK data: pre-K program is in red, baseline is in blue
TNVPK data: pre-K program is in red, baseline is in blue

The Heritage Foundation talks about three recent studies on government-run pre-K programs.

The Head Start Impact Study. In late 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services released the Head Start Impact Study, a scientifically rigorous evaluation that tracked 5,000 three-year-old and four-year-old children through the end of third grade. The study found little to no impact on the parenting practices or the cognitive, social-emotional, and health outcomes of participants. Notably, on a few measures, access to Head Start had harmful effects on participating children.[7] For both the three-year-old and four-year-old cohorts, access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effects on any measure of cognitive ability, including reading, language, and math.[8] In other words, by the time they finished third grade, there was no difference between those children who attended Head Start and the control group of their peers who did not.

Vanderbilt Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Study. In 2015, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University released an evaluation of Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) Program, a state-subsidized preschool program open to low-income children in the state. Some 18,000 children participate in the program, which was introduced in 1996. Proponents have long claimed Tennessee’s VPK program is a model state-based preschool program, with standards aligned to the Obama Administration’s Preschool for All initiative.[9] Teachers must be licensed, the child-adult ratio is limited to 10:1, and a structured “age-appropriate” curriculum must be used in classrooms. The program is available first to children from low-income Tennessee families, and then, space permitting, to children with special needs and children with limited English proficiency, among other children deemed “at-risk.” An earlier evaluation found that gains made by participating four-year-olds had faded by kindergarten. In a follow-up evaluation released in September 2015, Mark Lipsey, Dale Farrar, and Kerry Hofer reported that there were no sustained benefits for the same children through the end of third grade.[10]

[…]The authors analyzed the VPK program’s impact on children’s math skills, emergent literacy, and language skills, as well as the program’s impact on non-cognitive measures, such as behavior. “By the end of kindergarten, the control children had caught up to the TN-VPK children and there were no longer significant differences between them on any achievement measures. The same result was obtained at the end of first grade using both composite achievement measures.” And notably, by second grade, “the groups began to diverge with the TN-VPK children scoring lower than the control children on most of the measures. The differences were significant on both achievement composite measures and on the math subtests.” “Pre-K was generally thought to be better than Head Start, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Tennessee,” stated University of California, Berkeley professor David L. Kirp in The New York Times.[11]

The findings of the TN-VPK program were not limited to academic outcomes. As Lipsey et al. explain:

In terms of behavioral effects, in the spring the first grade teachers reversed the fall kindergarten teacher ratings. First grade teachers rated the TN-VPK children as less well prepared for school, having poorer work skills in the classrooms, and feeling more negative about school. It is notable that these ratings preceded the downward achievement trend we found for VPK children in second and third grades.[12]

Quebec’s Negative Non-cognitive Results. The province of Quebec introduced universal low-cost day care for children through age four beginning in 1997. The program has had a large impact: privately funded child care arrangements have almost disappeared, and Quebec has the highest rate of subsidized child care in Canada, at 58 percent in 2011.[13] The program caused a 14.5 percent increase in the share of mothers of young children working outside the home.[14] The Quebec experience offers more guidance for the potential introduction of universal child care than small, targeted programs, because it implicitly includes indirect effects on non-participants and any general equilibrium effects due to the drastic shift in the way child care was funded and conducted.

Regrettably, new research has found that children who became eligible for the program in Quebec were more anxious as children and have committed more crimes as teenagers. The availability of day care clearly worsened children’s non-cognitive “soft” skills.

Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, and Kevin Milligan found that children exposed to the program were 4.6 percent more likely to be convicted of a crime and 17 percent more likely to commit a drug crime. Their health and life satisfaction were worse.

The programs are sold as a way of improving children’s abilities, but the studies show that it doesn’t work that way. So why do we have these programs?

Democrats like these programs because they transfer wealth from taxpayers to government, hire more government workers, and get children away from the “harmful” influence of their parents. It allows the government workers to push the agenda of the wealthy donors who back the Democrat politicians, e.g. – the abortion providers, the gay rights activists, the terrorism apologists, the global warming alarmists, the radical feminists, the socialist wealth redistributors, etc.

New study: Tennessee pre-K program provides no educational benefit over control group

This is the most thorough study that I have ever seen evaluating the effectiveness of pre-K programs. The study was done by researchers at Vanderbilt University.

The study was reported on by the well-respected but leftist Brookings Institute.

They write:

State investments in center-based school readiness programs for preschoolers (pre-K), whether targeted for poor children or universally implemented, have expanded more rapidly than evaluations of their effects. Given the current interest and continuing expansion of state funded pre-K, it is especially important to be clear about the nature of the available evidence for the effectiveness of such programs. Despite widespread claims about proven benefits from pre-K, there is actually strikingly little credible research about the effectiveness of public pre-K programs scaled for statewide implementation.

Like many states that became interested in scaling up a state funded pre-K program in the early 2000’s, voluntary pre-K (TNVPK) was introduced in Tennessee in 1996 as a way to provide academic enhancement to economically disadvantaged children. It expanded in 2005 to an $85 million-plus statewide investment serving 18,000 Tennessee income-eligible children in 935 classrooms across all 95 counties.

Launched in 2009, the TNVPK Effectiveness Study, a coordinated effort between Vanderbilt’s Peabody Research Institute and the Tennessee Department of Education, is a five-year evaluation study funded by the US Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences. It includes the first randomized control trial of a scaled up state funded pre-K program and the first well-controlled comparison group study of the effects of program participation as children progress through elementary school..

Policymakers and proponents often cite some of the famous early studies of pre-K programs that have shown long term benefits extending into adulthood for the participating children. But those were studies of especially complex programs that are unlike scaled-up public pre-K in many ways. The Vanderbilt study is the first rigorous controlled longitudinal study to be conducted on a large-scale state-funded pre-K program.

And here is a summary of the results:

Standard score results from pre-K through 3rd grade on a composite measure that averaged the six achievement subtests are presented from baseline forward in the graph below.

As is evident, pre-K and control children started the pre-K year at virtually identical levels. The TNVPK children were substantially ahead of the control group children at the end of the pre-K year (age 5 in the graph). By the end of kindergarten (age 6 in the graph), the control children had caught up to the TNVPK children, and there were no longer significant differences between them on any achievement measures. The same result was obtained at the end of first grade using two composite achievement measures (the second created with the addition of two more WJIII subtests appropriate for the later grades). In second grade, however, the groups began to diverge with the TNVPK children scoring lower than the control children on most of the measures. The differences were significant on both achievement composite measures and on the math subtests. Differences favoring the control persisted through the end of third grade.

In terms of behavioral effects, in the spring the first grade teachers reversed the fall kindergarten teacher ratings. First grade teachers rated the TNVPK children as less well prepared for school, having poorer work skills in the classrooms, and feeling more negative about school. It is notable that these ratings preceded the downward achievement trend we found for VPK children in second and third grades. The second and third grade teachers rated the behaviors and feelings of children in the two groups as the same; there was a small positive finding for peer relations favoring the TNVPK children by third grade teachers, which did not meet traditional levels of statistical significance.

Results graph:

TNVPK data: pre-K program is in red, baseline is in blue
TNVPK data: pre-K program is in red, baseline is in blue

We are already seeing that cheap daycare in high-tax, big government provinces like Quebec cost a lot, and produce negative results. And of course Hillary Clinton is a longstanding advocate of universal pre-K. As a Senator of New York, she introduced a universal pre-K plan that would cost $10 billion over 5 years. President Barack Obama’s own Preschool for All plan would cost $75 billion over 10 years. This Vanderbilt study should cause us to question whether the policies of the secular left, pushed largely because of emotions and ideology, are worth the tens of billions of dollars they want to take from us. And if you take tens of billions of dollars out of families, then families on the margin will have to give their children to the state to raise. And that includes Christian families, who would no longer be able to afford a stay-at-home mother.

Now, taking children away from parents so that their mothers can work is seen as a worthy goal by those on the secular left. First, communally raising the children is “good” because it removes inequalities between single mothers and traditional working-husband homes. Second, making it easier for women to “go fatherless” is “good” because fathers are not to be trusted to teach their children about morality and religion. That is best left to secular government workers. Third, mothers who choose to marry good providers pay less in taxes if they choose to stay home with their kids and not work. That is “bad” because the government wants more taxes, so they can spend it on vote-buying social programs. Fourth, children who form stable bonds with their parents are less likely to become dependent on the government, meaning their allegiance cannot be bought with government handouts. That is also “bad”. Fifth, it is also “bad” that children who grow up with stay-at-home mothers are more likely to develop empathy and morality, which gives them an independent standard by which to judge the government’s actions.

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Feminism triumphant: day care workers convicted of abusing children

Children need their mothers for at least two years after birth, and five years is best
Children need their mothers for at least two years after birth, and five years is best

Northern Virginia is one of the wealthiest areas of the country, because so many rich government workers live there and work in Washington, D.C.. Housing prices are high, and women often join their husbands in the workplace, in order to afford more and better things to show off to the neighbors.

But what happens to the young pre-school children? No problem, say Hillary Clinton and the radical feminists: we can just hand them off to strangers to raise, because children don’t really need a mother in the home in order to do well. After all, we have to make men and women identical, because feminism! No gender distinctions, because that would be sexism, and sexism is bad.

NBC News reports on what happened next:

Previously happy children became aggressive, were afraid of water and even stopped talking after they were abused at a day care center in Northern Virginia, emotional parents testified Monday in Manassas.

The trial of Sarah Jordan began Monday. Jordan is one of two women accused of abusing children age 16 months to 2 years old at Minnieland Academy at The Glen in Woodbridge. Jordan faces 37 charges in the alleged abuse of 13 toddlers.

Ten parents spoke Monday, some in tears, about seeing dramatic changes in their children after they joined Jordan’s classroom.

One after the other, parents testified about troubling behavior that emerged when their little ones were moved into Jordan’s class of toddlers, nicknamed “The Monkey Room.”

Parents said their children became aggressive at home, stomped on their parents toes and became afraid of water. Some refused to bathe, their parents said, and most cried when they were dropped off at the center.

Police say the behavior is the result of Jordan and Kierra Spriggs, who also is accused of abuse, spraying children with a hose and encouraging them to bite and fight each other.

One father, Adam Smith, testified that his daughter “completely stopped talking” once she was in Jordan’s care.

And there are updates on the trials of the two women  who were accused of abusing the children.

This one from the Washington Post:

A judge on Wednesday found a former day-care worker guilty of emotionally and physically abusing seven toddlers who were in her care at the Minnieland Academy in Woodbridge.

Sarah A. Jordan, 31, of Woodbridge, was convicted of seven felony counts of child cruelty and six misdemeanors in a bench trial before Prince William County Circuit Court Judge Tracy C. Hudson.

She faces a maximum sentence of 41 years and is being held without bail until her sentencing, set for May 6.

Jordan showed no emotion as the verdict was rendered. Parents of some of the children wept in the courtroom.

Jordan had pleaded not guilty and denied all accusations that she sprayed children full force with a hose and pitted some children against each other to fight, among other acts.

Jordan worked at the day-care center until August 2013 and was arrested three months later.

Here’s the latest news from NBC News:

A Virginia daycare teacher accused of turning her classroom of 2-year-olds into a “baby fight club” was knocked out by a jury on Thursday.

Kierra Spriggs was convicted of child cruelty and other abusive behavior charges after a two-week trial in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

She was found guilty of four felony counts of child cruelty and two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery, according to NBC Washington. She could get up to five years in prison on each of the felony count convictions and a year for each misdemeanor count.

[…]At trial, witnesses described how Spriggs forced twin sisters to fight each other. They said Spriggs regularly mistreated the kids by stomping on bares toes, dunking them in cold water, and throwing them on cots.

[…]Shanna Greisen said she pulled her 21-month-old son out of Minnieland because dreaded going to daycare.

“He would just cry,” she told NBC Washington. “He would throw himself on the floor, you know. Just, ‘No mommy, no mommy.'”

Ah, but the show must go on, mothers of young children, so no use crying about it. The important thing is that mothers of young children keep on paying taxes to big government. Big government needs their tax money to buy other people’s votes.

Christians on board with feminism

The Gospel Coalition, which has embraced radical feminism for some time, celebrates daycare for 3-month-old children:

After 12 weeks of glorious (and delirious) maternity leave, I returned to my job. I worked out a solution with my boss to return in a capacity my husband and I felt would be wise for our family. While my work may look different than some other moms, I believe I am serving God faithfully in it, by his grace.

Three months, then back to work. All you have to do is claim that God is leading you to do it, (through your feelings), and poof! Divine approval for radical feminism.

My friend McKenzie, who sent me that article, wondered if the Gospel Coalition was just becoming Salon.com for Christians. All you have to do is take an article from a radically leftist publication, add a few Bible verses, and you have something to post on the Gospel Coalition. That’s how far radical feminism has spread, I guess. Once upon a time, women used to value men who had good practical degrees, good resumes, and good jobs – so that they could be stay-at-home moms and meet their childrens’ needs. Now, it’s just follow your heart. There’s no planning for the needs of children.

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New study: government run child-care increases negative outcomes for kids

Canada Political Map
Canada Political Map

I’ve complained before about Quebec, the most liberal and secular province in Canada. Well, one of the things that makes them so crappy is their policy of encouraging women to abandon their young children to strangers in government-run daycare. The government takes a whole lot of taxpayer money, often from traditional single-earner homes, and uses it to subsidize government-run child care. Well, now we have a brand new fresh study to show how wrong this policy has been.

Canada’s radically leftist CTV News reports on the study.

Excerpt:

In a paper released Monday, a group of university researchers say that children exposed to the province’s child-care system were more likely to have higher crime rates, worse health and lower levels of life satisfaction as they have aged than their counterparts in other provinces who didn’t have access to the same type of system.

[…]In their paper made public Monday through the National Bureau of Economic Research, Kevin Milligan from the University of British Columbia, Michael Baker from the University of Toronto, and Jonathan Gruber from MIT in Cambridge, Mass., update work from 2008 to see if children in the Quebec care system kicked their troubling behaviours over time.

To do that, they analyzed four different data sets from Statistics Canada that touched on child outcomes, health and crime rates and scores from standardized tests that are connected to the national Council of Ministers of Education.

What the trio found instead was “striking evidence” that exposure to the program was associated with higher crime rates, with the effects most acutely seen in boys. Boys were more likely to have higher levels of hyperactivity and aggression, the researchers wrote, while girls showed declines in prosocial behaviour, which captures many altruistic activities like donating and volunteering. All of those behaviours fall under the heading of “non-cognitive” abilities, such as impulsiveness and emotional stability.

Exposure to the program was also associated with “worsened health and life satisfaction,” the study says.

There was no such lasting effects on math, science and reading abilities, the researchers write.

By the way, in case you are wondering – yes, that is the same Jonathan Gruber of MIT who was the architect of Obamacare. Surprising that he would be co-author on a study that dings big government.

Are these results unique to Canada? Let’s take a look at a recent study from the UK.

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Academics at Oxford University discovered that exposure to some forms of early education contributed to bad behaviour and could be linked to emotional problems.

[…]In the Oxford study, researchers recruited 991 families with children aged three months. Mothers had an average age of 30.

Researchers assessed children at the age of four through questionnaires about their behaviour and emotions completed by teachers and parents. They also observed care provided by mothers and observed non-parental care for at least 90 minutes for those children placed in formal childcare settings.

The report, published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development, said that “children who spent more time in group care, mainly nursery care, were more likely to have behavioural problems, particularly hyperactivity”.

The study, led by Prof Alan Stein, of Oxford’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that “spending more time in day care centres, over the total period was a predictor of total problem scores”.

“Children who spent more time in day care centres were more likely to be hyperactive,” it said. “Children receiving more care by childminders were more likely to have peer problems.”

The authors added: “The findings in relation to childminding suggest that it might be out of home care rather than group care that raises the risk of behavioural difficulties.”

Well, that’s only Canada and the UK. Maybe things are better in Sweden?

Here’s a second article from the National Post (one of Canada’s national newspapers) about Sweden’s government-run universal day care system.

Excerpt:

True, parental leave in Sweden is a generous 16 months. There are no babies in daycare. But when parental leave ends, practically the reverse is true: A full 92% of all children aged 18 months to five years are in daycare. Parents pay only a symbolic amount for this; tax subsidies for daycare are $20,000 per child, annually. Swedish taxes are among the highest in the world, and the tax system was designed to make both parents seek employment in the work force.

[…]Then there are the questions about the social toll Sweden’s childcare system is taking. Sweden has offered a comprehensive daycare system since 1975; since the early ‘90s, negative outcomes for children and adolescents are on the rise in areas of health and behaviour. While direct causation has been difficult to prove, many Swedish health-care professionals point to the lack of parent involvement beyond the first 16 months as a primary contributing factor. Psychosomatic disorders and mild psychological problems are escalating among Swedish youth at a faster rate than in any of 11 comparable European countries. Such disorders have tripled among girls over the last 25 years. Education outcomes in Swedish schools have fallen from the top position 30 years ago, to merely average amongst OECD nations today. Behaviour problems in Swedish classrooms are among the worst in Europe.

Now this idea of government taking children away from families is very popular on the left, because they want children to be “equal”, and that means getting them away from their parents so that the government can raise them “equally”. You can even see Hillary Clinton pushing for it when she talks about “universal pre-K”. Well, maybe it’s time that someone showed her the studies. Not that she strikes me as someone who cares a lot about children, given her support for born-alive abortions and organ harvesting.

New study: Tennessee pre-K program provides no educational benefit over control group

This is the most thorough study that I have ever seen evaluating the effectiveness of pre-K programs. The study was done by researchers at Vanderbilt University. (H/T Brad Wilcox tweet)

The study was reported on by the well-respected but leftist Brookings Institute.

They write:

State investments in center-based school readiness programs for preschoolers (pre-K), whether targeted for poor children or universally implemented, have expanded more rapidly than evaluations of their effects. Given the current interest and continuing expansion of state funded pre-K, it is especially important to be clear about the nature of the available evidence for the effectiveness of such programs. Despite widespread claims about proven benefits from pre-K, there is actually strikingly little credible research about the effectiveness of public pre-K programs scaled for statewide implementation.

Like many states that became interested in scaling up a state funded pre-K program in the early 2000’s, voluntary pre-K (TNVPK) was introduced in Tennessee in 1996 as a way to provide academic enhancement to economically disadvantaged children. It expanded in 2005 to an $85 million-plus statewide investment serving 18,000 Tennessee income-eligible children in 935 classrooms across all 95 counties.

Launched in 2009, the TNVPK Effectiveness Study, a coordinated effort between Vanderbilt’s Peabody Research Institute and the Tennessee Department of Education, is a five-year evaluation study funded by the US Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences. It includes the first randomized control trial of a scaled up state funded pre-K program and the first well-controlled comparison group study of the effects of program participation as children progress through elementary school..

Policymakers and proponents often cite some of the famous early studies of pre-K programs that have shown long term benefits extending into adulthood for the participating children. But those were studies of especially complex programs that are unlike scaled-up public pre-K in many ways. The Vanderbilt study is the first rigorous controlled longitudinal study to be conducted on a large-scale state-funded pre-K program.

And here is a summary of the results:

Standard score results from pre-K through 3rd grade on a composite measure that averaged the six achievement subtests are presented from baseline forward in the graph below.

As is evident, pre-K and control children started the pre-K year at virtually identical levels. The TNVPK children were substantially ahead of the control group children at the end of the pre-K year (age 5 in the graph). By the end of kindergarten (age 6 in the graph), the control children had caught up to the TNVPK children, and there were no longer significant differences between them on any achievement measures. The same result was obtained at the end of first grade using two composite achievement measures (the second created with the addition of two more WJIII subtests appropriate for the later grades). In second grade, however, the groups began to diverge with the TNVPK children scoring lower than the control children on most of the measures. The differences were significant on both achievement composite measures and on the math subtests. Differences favoring the control persisted through the end of third grade.

In terms of behavioral effects, in the spring the first grade teachers reversed the fall kindergarten teacher ratings. First grade teachers rated the TNVPK children as less well prepared for school, having poorer work skills in the classrooms, and feeling more negative about school. It is notable that these ratings preceded the downward achievement trend we found for VPK children in second and third grades. The second and third grade teachers rated the behaviors and feelings of children in the two groups as the same; there was a small positive finding for peer relations favoring the TNVPK children by third grade teachers, which did not meet traditional levels of statistical significance.

Results graph:

TNVPK data: pre-K program is in red, baseline is in blue
TNVPK data: pre-K program is in red, baseline is in blue

We are already seeing that cheap daycare in high-tax, big government provinces like Quebec cost a lot, and produce negative results. And of course Hillary Clinton is a longstanding advocate of universal pre-K. As a Senator of New York, she introduced a universal pre-K plan that would cost $10 billion over 5 years. President Barack Obama’s own Preschool for All plan would cost $75 billion over 10 years. This Vanderbilt study should cause us to question whether the policies of the secular left, pushed largely because of emotions and ideology, are worth the tens of billions of dollars they want to take from us. And if you take tens of billions of dollars out of families, then families on the margin will have to give their children to the state to raise. And that includes Christian families, who would no longer be able to afford a stay-at-home mother.

Now, taking children away from parents so that their mothers can work is seen as a worthy goal by those on the secular left. First, communally raising the children is “good” because it removes inequalities between single mothers and traditional working-husband homes. Second, making it easier for women to “go fatherless” is “good” because fathers are not to be trusted to teach their children about morality and religion. That is best left to secular government workers. Third, mothers who choose to marry good providers pay less in taxes if they choose to stay home with their kids and not work. That is “bad” because the government wants more taxes, so they can spend it on vote-buying social programs. Fourth, children who form stable bonds with their parents are less likely to become dependent on the government, meaning their allegiance cannot be bought with government handouts. That is also “bad”. Fifth, it is also “bad” that children who grow up with stay-at-home mothers are more likely to develop empathy and morality, which gives them an independent standard by which to judge the government’s actions.

Related posts