Alaska’s Senate Republicans understandably want to address the state’s embarrassing record of teaching public school students how to read. Basically, Alaska’s government run schools are abject failures at ensuring children have this most fundamental of all academic skills.
In passing Senate Bill 111, however, Republicans created a disastrous political marriage – coupling universal voluntary pre-kindergarten (essentially free government daycare) with a plan to improve reading scores among elementary age students.
The only reason to meld these two very different ideas together was to build bi-partisan support. Conservatives don’t go in for government daycare (a.k.a. pre-K “education”), nor should they. For parents who choose this service there are already ample private programs available.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
But the government shouldn’t be incentivizing the separation of young children from their mom or dad by offering vastly expanded state-funded parenting during the day.
Hopefully the Alaska House takes its time with SB 111, which is unlikely given the fact that Democrats are in control. Ultimately, the two elements of the bill should be divided and voted on separately.
Yes, it is unacceptable that Alaska’s public schools are among the very worst at teaching kids to read, but that is no reason to encourage parents to turn their little ones over to the state at an even earlier age.