Friday, August 14, 2009

Competition should play a role in early education

Friday, a weekly newspaper in Oklahoma City, recently ran a house editorial entitled "What price saving children?" I submitted a letter to the editor, which I have posted here.
Dear Editor:

Thank you for your July 31 editorial, "What price saving children?" Though I don't fully share your confidence in the salvific powers of "early childhood education," I think it's important to note something Dr. James Heckman mentioned at the recent early-childhood summit in Oklahoma City: School choice is important.

"Competition plays a role" in good education policy, said Dr. Heckman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. In early childhood education, there ought to be "multiple, diverse modes of delivery." He said such programs can and should accommodate the interests of "Orthodox Jews, Mormons, Southern Baptists, you name it."

Fortunately, some Oklahoma school districts already collaborate with daycare centers to serve a share of Oklahoma's preschool children. Policymakers should now provide Oklahoma parents a tax credit for educational expenses incurred in private preschool programs or home schools.


Brandon Dutcher
Vice President for Policy
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Inc.

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