The Left Marches on Part II: Universal Pre-K: The Governmentalization of Nursery School

The liberal left wing administration of Governor Jon Corzine and the NJEA Teacher’s Union have leveled their sights on the private nursery school business and have it squarely in their crosshairs, itchin’ to squeeze the trigger. A bull’s eye scores a 20% increase in the membership of the most powerful political cartel in the state and a cost to taxpayers so devastating it will be necessary to pawn off the Turnpike and Parkway to jump start the take-over. They call it “Universal Pre-K,” the biggest expansion of the government school system in over a hundred years.

Taxpayer funded nursery school began in 1998 when the state’s liberal activist supreme court “ordered” the funding of nursery school programs in the Abbott Districts. Armed with the court’s mandate, the central planners began plotting the expansion of this social engineering scheme into suburban school systems. Last year, the cost of these programs in Abbott Districts exceeded twelve thousand dollars per student, funded by the redistribution of income from suburban taxpayers. The inevitable expansion of these programs into the suburban school systems was apparent from the beginning.

The corrupt School Construction Corporation promoted the incorporation of nursery school facilities in suburban schools that managed to grab a piece of the pie. The steady progress of this dangerous scheme was crystallized in Governor Jon Corzine’s transition team report on education dated January 10, 2006 that calls for a “lifting of all local spending caps so all suburban school districts can expand nursery programs.”

This agenda stems from the core socialist dogma that government must provide all possible services for the “benefit”of the “common good.” Financially, the taxpayers of New Jersey cannot afford this costly expansion. Hence, Governor Corzine’s comment during his budget address that, “If we want Universal Pre K, Universal Health care… we must asset monetize our toll roads.” The irresponsible consequence of this statement is that once the proceeds from the pawning of our toll roads is squandered in a few years, the entire cost of the Central Planner’s new program will be born on the backs of property taxpayers.

The social impact of this Central Planner’s wet dream is disturbingly more destructive. Hundreds of parishes, synagogues and other non profit community based organizations rely on Pre-K programs for financial survival. The government’s hostile takeover of this private business segment will result in the loss of many community based entities that provide irreplaceable social benefits. Parents who once chose voluntarily to send their kids to a nursery school will be saddled with the additional tax burden and forced to give up even more of their personal income, as will the legendary “seniors losing their homes.” It will be only a short time before voluntary enrollment into government Pre-K will become compulsory. Remember, you heard it here first.

Families across the state are suffering the consequences of high taxes and should not be forced under the yoke of this expansionist agenda. The catch 22 is that more pressure will force mothers and fathers to work harder to pay the Taxman, pushing their children into the government nursery schools, while they are marched off to work to harvest more revenue for the Planners.

As has been the pattern of the Social Engineers in laying the groundwork for these expanded entitlement programs, the left will introduce a series of half baked studies by liberal academicians or government bureaucrats masquerading as academics. They will “demonstrate conclusively,” at least in their small minds, the “success” of government Pre- K in improving test scores later on in Kindergarten. They will fail to tell you that after one or two years into elementary school, test scores equalize. Just an inconvenient truth.

Their strategy will be as follows. Across suburban communities, public schools will roll out taxpayer subsidized Pre-K programs that will undersell the private sector. It is happening already. This is no less than taxpayer subsidized predatory pricing practices designed to drive the private sector out of business. There are over 250,000 nursery age children in this state. At an average cost of $12,000 per student, the impact on taxpayers will be overwhelming. The consequence of a 20% increase in the ranks of the NJEA Teachers Union will have the effect of creating a political power second to none.

This profoundly destructive social engineering initiative should be a rallying cry for taxpayers and anyone who believes in limited government, freedom, and liberty. The family is the cornerstone of any stable society. This government intrusion into the most formative years of a child’s life is another left wing attack on the family unit.

Indoctrination of our children into an education system designed by nameless, faceless bureaucrats using manipulated child psychology studies as the premise of their doctrinaire social experiment is unacceptable. With the Democrat leadership in lock step with the left wing extremist’s puppeteers and most Republican legislators frightened silly of the NJEA, citizens will be left on their own to see this insidious program doesn’t come to fruition.

Steve Lonegan is the Mayor of Bogota, NJ, and Executive Director of Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) are committed to educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing those citizens as advocates in the public policy process. He is a prolific writer, having been published in newspapers and blogs. He currently has a book in pre-publication on the impact of New Jersey state government on the well being of the taxpayers of the state, where he offers solid and workable solutions.