- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Christmas has come early for teacher unions (not that they believe in religious holiday traditions).

President Obama’s education plans give them almost all of their long wish list, and here it is only March. He is increasing teacher salaries. He is eliminating a voucher system for poor D.C. residents so that the District of Columbia’s wonderful public school system can be protected from any competition (what D.C. parents would want to send their children to the private school that Barack and Michelle Obama are sending their own children to?). He has increasing the demand for unionized teachers by expanding public schooling for pre-kindergarten and increasing the length of the school day and school year.

For all of Mr. Obama’s talk about improving American education, there is one fact that he is completely ignoring: American children do well compared to children in other countries when they are young, but do more poorly the longer that they are in public schools. Might the solution instead be to expand what our children are doing when they are doing well, and reduce the time they are exposed to influences that are not proving helpful?

Research shows that the countries with the earliest school starting age are the most totalitarian and socialist countries. Time after time, totalitarian governments found that they can best instill the views and values that the governments wanted by taking the children away from the parents’ influence as soon as possible. The same relationship also holds for longer school days.

The notion that unionized teachers are more liberal, more in favor of increasing government size and regulation, than the average parent seems beyond debate. After all, 96 percent of teacher union donations from 1990 through 2008 have been to Democrats, according to Opensecrets.org.

At the very least, Herr Obama’s plans of removing children from their parents will further weaken families, causing greater separation in later years between parents and their children.

These are among many dramatic social changes being pushed through these days with very little recognition or understanding. At their most benign, Mr.Obama’s plans will have a lot of unintended consequences on families and society’s political views. At worst, government control of the forming of children’s views from such an early age is a dangerous weapon.

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