ED.gov: $500 Million for Race-to-the-Top Early Learning Challenge
Social engineering is doomed to fail. It does not matter how early you start or how much money you spend. Genetics goes hand-in-hand with nurturing and individual enculturation in the development of personality over the course of a person's life. There is no human way to control all of the many variables that determine what kind of personality any given individual will wind up with. Efforts aimed at perfecting human society are doomed to fail because the human animal cannot be perfected and it is precisely this aspect of humanity that has allowed us to rise from the muck and mire into sentience. Imperfection is a natural and necessary byproduct of genuine sentience and freedom of choice. It is our imperfections that make us human.
I understand the dream of so many educators to have classrooms filled with bright, eager minds ready and willing to absorb the knowledge they are imparting. I have taught English to all age groups from pre-school to post-retirement. I have taught leadership to young men and women starting out on their first real career as well as the middle-aged managers who would be supervising them. I know what it means to teach and I have some very strong opinions about the difference between a good teacher and a bad one. Nonetheless, the only correct assumption in the "No Child Left Behind" program is that the most important element in the learning equation is always the student. This new program by the Obama administration (first proposed in 2009) will do nothing but line the pockets of Marxist social engineers attempting to bring about their humanist utopia by indoctrinating young children.
They are coaching it in terms of helping children, but that is not how the program is outlined. The outline of the program is clearly a desire to create an unrealistic situation where every child in a classroom is a star pupil. It simply cannot happen. Science cannot perfect the human animal, regardless of how much money you throw around and how many people get rich trying. Not only it is impossible, it is completely undesirable because it is in fact our very individuality that gives our species as a whole it's unique position in our world.
A key quote from Secretary Sebelius is this:
"Our collective health and financial security as a nation will depend on high quality investments during the critical early years of a child's life."
Collectivism assumes, without any basis in reality, that every individual is exactly the same and is born with exactly the same potential. Any individual that cannot respond to the collectivist's well-intentioned desire to help them reach that potential is defective and is therefore less than human. The only real-world result of this "scientific" initiative will be even more broken children committing suicide and killing their playmates than we have now. This program will make all of the problems with drugs, violence, and bullying that infect our current education system even worse.
The Japanese have had a centralized, "scientific childhood development" program in place since long before World War Two. The program was "improved" after World War Two. The net result: Japan now has the highest pre-teen and adolescent suicide rates in the entire world. Instead of drug gangs they have mothers killing their kindergarten-age children's playmates because they are prettier, ten year-olds chopping the heads off younger children just for the fun of it, and teachers who justify lethal physical abuse on the basis of poor socialization skills. Is that really the direction we want our schools to move in?