Monday, January 2, 2012

Dupery Under Nitwitery and in Government Mysticism We Trust: The Head Start Program.

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

- Alice in Wonderland.

Crony capitalism, economic rent seekers, and special interests are many times depicted as exogenous entities, exogenous from the mechanism of government, seeking politico enablers from within the mechanism of government. However, special interests can and do exist within the greater mechanism of government. Politicos rewarding politicos.

North Carolina governor Bev Perdue (D) issued a newsletter on 12/21/2011 with the lead story: NC Wins $70 Million Early Childhood Grant. The newsletter states:

Gov. Bev Perdue announced that North Carolina won a $70 million Race to the TopEarly Learning Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

North Carolina was among nine winners chosen from 37 applicants competing for a share of $500 million.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told McClatchy Newspapers that North Carolina's application was the best in the nation.

"It was literally the best application we received from any state in the country," Duncan told McClatchy.

North Carolinas grant will allow the state to strengthen efforts to ensure that all children are able to start kindergarten with a strong foundation for future learning.

"All children in a classroom benefit if everyone starts kindergarten ready to succeed," Gov. Perdue said. "North Carolinas early childhood system is a national leader, and this grant will allow us to take dramatic steps forward toward the goal I have set of assuring that every child has the chance to succeed in school and life."

Quality early childhood programs have proven to produce better education, health, family and economic outcomes. Effective early education from birth to age five correlates with school readiness, academic achievement, college graduation, good citizenship and a productive workforce.

North Carolinas application was based on rigorous requirements of the federal grant competition, and the grant will benefit children and families across the state. It cannot be used to simply increase capacity in existing services such as the NC Pre-K program but, rather, is designed to add value to those investments and increase their impact and effectiveness.

This summer, the General Assembly made extreme cuts to Smart Start and NC Pre-K. In the wake of those cuts, Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ordered the state to offer the NC Pre-K program to all eligible at-risk 4-year-olds who apply. Gov. Perdue has outlined a prudent and responsible first step for the General Assembly to fund 6,300 more slots in the program without raising taxes or cutting other vital services. The General Assembly leadership has not acted on that proposal.

"This grant shows how successful North Carolina has been in executing our vision for putting all of our children on a path to a bright future," Gov. Perdue said. "Its time for the General Assembly to follow the courts order and do the right thing for North Carolinas children." (1)

There you have it, a greater politico authority granting a secondary politico authority an economic rent seeking prize [taxpayer dollars]. The receiving politico notionally legitimizing the funds as needed, necessary and required. The “grant” is in no way framed in reality i.e. taxpayer funds [your tax dollars as well as others’ tax dollars]. The “grant” merely being magical pixie dust appearing from the heavens. Finally, the “grant” aka rent seeking prize will in this case be used for political constituency building exercises.

Why would the grant be considered rent seeking? Is the grant rent seeking through political constituency building? Isn’t early childhood education a noble cause directly benefiting and enhancing the human capital of young children?

One must keep in mind that early education initiatives is one of many, many notional propositions brought to you through “The Great Society” of Lyndon B. Johnson. Yes, early education is among other "winning" propositions such as model cities, the war on poverty, Medicaid and Medicare and many other absolute losing propositions of “The Great Society”.

Empirical evidence of early education dating back to the Westinghouse Study of 1969, the 1987 study of the University of Delaware and the 1987 study of Copple, Cline, and Smith, to the 1990 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources [Sharon McGroder study]….which took studies from all over the nation and analysed the studies as a group…the result of the afore mentioned studies and especially the McGroder study is: early education either has no benefit or a small benefit that fades out by the third grade. (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources initiated yet another study: The Head Start Impact Study. The Head Start Impact Study final executive report, dated January 2010 concluded $150 billion of taxpayer dollars have been “invested” in Head Start since 1965 yielding no lasting benefits for participating children. (9)

Why continue spending taxpayer money on a program with massive costs and little if any benefit? Why does a politico such as Perdue trumpet a $70 million dollar grant? The answer likely is found in the program continuing not based upon economics, rather the program continues as it’s a political creation. Politicos through the mechanism of government build a constituency of Head Start workers, Head Start suppliers, and associated Head Start special interest groups through the use of taxpayer dollars ($150 billion to be exact).

Hence we have politicos rewarding politicos who then use taxpayer dollars as political constituency building exercises regarding a known cost-benefit loser. The cost-benefit, being a clear loser as defined by the same mechanism of government being manipulated [The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources multiple studies], must be depicted as necessary, needed, and required by other rent seeking enablers. That is, dupery must have its nitwitery.

An excellent example of dupery having its special nitwitery to cover up the known cost-benefit loser and consequential political constituency building exercises appears here:

GREENSBORO -- The Guilford Education Alliance released its 2011 School Readiness Report Card, Tuesday. The Alliance called it a snapshot of the status of the county's young children and the community's progress in preparing them for school.

The report card draws several conclusions. The organization's executive director said the primary finding was that children needed appropriate nurturing, nutrition and stimulation in their first years to succeed in life.

"That is forever the foundation,” said Margaret Arbuckle. “And the road map of children's brain development is founded in those first years of life."

Arbuckle said some children weren't receiving the attention they needed, but the county had made progress since the alliance's first report in 2007.

"So, the importance of having well trained, educated early childhood professionals in our childcare programs and our preschool programs, that's critically important,” she said. “And our universities and colleges have responded to that."

Another key to the school readiness equation, said Arbuckle, was Guilford County Schools, which called early education an investment.

"We know that our pre-K program is for children who are at risk of not succeeding on the first day of kindergarten and so by them being able to participate in the pre-kindergarten program they have an opportunity to have those building blocks in place," said Kelly Hales, executive director of federal and special programs.

The report's conclusions were drawn from information assembled by the Guilford County Partnership for Children. The partnership said it takes money to pay for programs and services for pre-school children, to be sure. It also takes commitment.

"The other thing is just the community will, but the resources will be there when the community has the will to pull it all together," said Jean Goodman. (10)

Hence Head Start covers all the bases: the notional proposition supported by the do-gooder, a cost-benefit loser perpetuated by the politico for political constituency building hence functioning as the internal rent seekers of yet other politicos, the supposed beneficiary of the notional proposition gaining nothing….all done at taxpayer expense. Dupery Under Nitwitery and in Government Mysticism We Trust!


(1)NC Wins $70M Early Childhood Grant, Office of Governor Bev Perdue.

(2) Massive Study Finds Pre-School and Early Child Education Initiatives Show No Benefit, Free Republic, 08/31/2007.

(3) Early Education Shows No Benefit, HSLDA, 02/04/2008

(4) Head Start: What Do We Know About What Works? Sharon McGroder, US Dept. of HHS, 03/29/1990.

(5) Expanding Head Start: Is the Obama Administration Serious about Using Empirical Evidence to Inform Policymaking? 10/27/2010, The Heritage Foundation.

(6) Does Head Start Make a Difference, ULCA Department of Economics, 06/1995.

(7) Head Start Earns an F: No Lasting Impact for Children by First Grade, By David Muhlhausen, Ph.D. and Dan Lips, 01/21/2011.

(8) Head Start Impact Study Final Report, executive summary, 01/2010, U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.

(9) Does Head Start Make a Difference? Stalking The Wild Taboo.

(10) Group issues school readiness report card for Guilford County, 09/13/2011, News 14 Carolina

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