President Biden wants to add to his tab another $1.8 trillion for his “American Families Plan.” That sounds good. Who would dare be opposed to helping American families? The question, though, is whether this measure would help families or replace them with the federal government. Especially when it comes to raising children.
The proposal would create universal pre-kindergarten for 3 and 4 year-0lds. If states didn’t want to do this, the federal government would send money directly to the schools. And if that isn’t early enough for the government to take charge of children, the measure would also provide free child care for low-income parents and subsidize it so that middle class parents would have to pay no more than 7% of their income for that service. And on the other end, the American Families Plan also will provide for two years of free community college.
Read this for details.
The argument for extending public education to three-year-olds is that it will help children, especially poor children, do better in school. That would be more persuasive if the current educational establishment were not doing such a poor job educating the young children they already have. What evidence is there that they would do better educating them for even longer and at an even younger age? And what academic attainment are they expecting three-year-0lds to master?
Progressive education has devolved to the point that it is now focusing on a different goal than teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, and other kinds of knowledge and academic skills. Cutting edge curriculum is now all about teaching critical race theory, various sexual identities, and other left wing indoctrination.
Of course, the real motive of these measures in the American Families Plan–which is evident even in the sympathetic news stories about it, such as the one I’ve linked to above–is to make it easier for both parents, especially mothers, to work. There seems to be no consideration of what kind of arrangement would be better for children, or for their families, as a whole.
What if we were to take that $1.8 trillion and parcel it out to families so that the mother didn’t need to work? To allow a parent to stay home to take care of the kids?
I suspect that would be even more popular, that many families would like to at least be able to choose that option. But that would go against the interests of feminists, teachers’ unions, middle class professionals, and critics of the institution of the family.
The proposal has other provisions, such as government-paid family leave of up to $4000 per month and an extension of the child subsidy that was part of the COVID bailout, $300 per month per child to cover other expenses.
Would those be good to have? You tell me. Are they the business of the federal government? I am doubtful. Can the federal government afford them? I don’t think so.
In the meantime, the prospect of the government raising children from the cradle to adulthood reminds me of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, in which the government also breeds, reproduces (via in vitro “hatcheries”), and indoctrinates children in massive “nurseries.”
Characters in that novel recall with horror the old days in which sex was connected with conceiving children and thus with families. “For you must remember that in those days of gross viviparous re- production, children were always brought up by their parents and not in State Conditioning Centres.”
Today the curriculum in those State Conditioning Centres sounds disturbingly non-fictional:
“What’s the lesson this afternoon?” he asked.
“We had Elementary Sex for the first forty minutes,” she answered. “But now it’s switched over to Elementary Class Consciousness.
Illustration: “At School,” En L’An 2000 [French postcard from 1901, projecting what life will be like in 2000] by Jean Marc Cote (1901) http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/06/30/france-in-the-year-2000-1899-1910/ – A reproduction of the early 20th century, scan / Репродукция, скан бумажной карточки, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15852242