Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) shot down President Obama’s proposal for universal pre-school education during an appearance on CSPAN’s Washington Journal on Friday, complaining that the plan — first unveiled during last week’s State of the Union address — would force teachers to fill out too much paperwork.
“You know, I had an email from a teacher as [Obama] was giving the speech, someone I’ve known for a long time and it was, ‘Are you kidding me? More paperwork?'” Blackburn said. She went on to argue that education should be handled by state and local governments:
BLACKBURN: And I think so many of our educators when they hear about these programs coming from the federal government, they’re just thinking, uh, that’s another book of paperwork that I’m going to have to do and teachers are so weighed down with that. The teachers I’m talking about, they want state and local control…They would just like the states with control of education.
Obama’s proposal to expand preschool education to all American children will be financed in partnership with the states and is based on successful models in Georgia and Oklahoma. The U.S. Department of Education “will allocate dollars to states based their share of four-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and funds would be distributed to local school districts and other partner providers to implement the program,” a White House fact sheet on the initiative states.
Preschool substantially reduces the likelihood that a child will later drop out of high school, become a teen parent, or be arrested for a violent crime. Studies have determined universal preschool programs generate roughly $7 in savings per child and increases human capital.