Bill to Fund Pre-K Means More Government Influence

A bill currently before Congress is threatening to shift even more control over your children to government bureaucrats.

The current multi-trillion-dollar budget bill that President Biden named the “American Families Plan” includes a “universal pre-k” early education program that will give the government more influence over children as young as 3.

In the immediate, the plan provides billions of dollars in subsidies to government-approved pre-k programs for 3- and 4-year-olds. And while there’s nothing that says your local pre-k has to become “government approved,” most of them will do so for a slice of that money. 

That’s why it’s there: Politicians are using our tax dollars to bribe the schools to become what the government wants them to be, whether or not it’s what the parents want or the children need.

The plan also provides subsidies for parents who put their children in a pre-k program —but, again, it has to be a government-approved program. This money won’t be available for parents whose beliefs compel them to put their children in a religious or other school that won’t jump through the right hoops. 

And of course it won’t be available for families taking care of, teaching, and training their own children at home.

These are the immediate effects of the bill, which will lead to a greater influence by bureaucrats over the next generation, whether that includes your children or not.

Starting out, “government approved” may just require having an appropriate student-to-teacher ratio and the right number of fire exits. But ask parents in Loudoun County, Virginia, how far “government approved” can go.

Let me put it this way: government, whether state or national, has a tendency to start programs as experimental or “pilot” programs, then to make them universal (pre-k would be at this step now), then finally mandatory. 

There is no guarantee that pre-k for 3-year-olds will become mandatory. That’s a provision that is not included in this bill. But this bill certainly paves the way for a mandate further down the line.

We oppose bills like this that will increase the role of government in your children’s lives. We believe that when it comes to your child, you know better than the bureaucrats.

That’s why we helped secure a Parents’ Bill of Rights in Florida this year (and another in Oklahoma a few years back). And it’s why we secured a parental rights bill in Virginia in 2013 that has been getting attention in that state’s gubernatorial race.

“A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.” That’s the entire “meat” of the Virginia law. It is short, sweet, simple, and apparently still a point of much debate.

This is the ideological battleground: Are children better cared for by their parents, who know them best and can raise them in accordance with their family’s beliefs and values? Or are they better off under experts and professionals who have studied children, curricula, and the theories of early childhood education?

Although the leadership and platform of one particular political party seem to be aligned with this latter view—that bureaucrats and government experts know best—it is not simply a partisan issue.

We are allied with Independents, Republicans, and Democrats who soundly believe that families are vital building blocks of society, and that parents—not government agents—are best suited to know and do what is best for their child.

So whatever party usually gets your vote, they need to know you stand with parents. They need to know you support the “fundamental right” of parents “to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of [their] child.”

Funding government involvement in the lives and minds of our little ones at younger and younger ages is not just a bad idea. It’s a threat to our families and to our futures.

Standing together, we can push back and make both parties take notice that parents must be respected.

Thank you for standing with us as we gear up to send this message loudly and clearly in the upcoming legislative session!


Michael Ramey
Executive Director