Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 15, 2013 at 8:05 AM

President Obama’s new education plan

The money won’t actually reach children

Due largely to the federal government’s involvement, the United States spends more money per student on education than all but three other nations, yet we barely make the top 20 in reading and math literacy. The results are nothing short of dismal given the investment.

Lynn K. Varner writes that the best part of Obama’s recent budget proposal is the idea of spending $66 billion on the preschool education of 3- and 4-year-olds [“President Obama’s education plan resonates in the Northwest,” Opinion, April 12].

She’s probably right that it’s the best part of his budget, and early-childhood education is a laudable goal. But having the federal government fund and administer such a program is roughly equivalent to driving down the street and throwing bushels of $50 bills out the window. The same proportion of the money will actually reach 3- and 4-year-olds, and a lot of adults will get to line their pockets.

Mark Stratton, Bothell

High-quality pre-K will benefit us in the long run

Our leaders in Washington, D.C., face tough budget issues. But one proposal we should all agree on is targeted investments in local prekindergarten learning [“President Obama’s education plan resonates in the Northwest,” Opinion, April 12].

As a grandfather, I support giving America’s children a better educational start. As a retired army general, I see this as a sound investment in making our next generation more competitive and contributing to our national security.

The Defense Department estimates that 75 percent of all Americans age 17 to 24 are unable to join the military. Obstacles include health, obesity and criminal or mental issues.

Poor educational achievement is a key disqualifier. One in five students nationwide fails to graduate on time. Among those who do, more than 20 percent cannot score high enough on the military’s math, literacy and problem-solving exams. We must reverse this alarming trend.

High-quality prekindergarten can increase graduation rates, cut crime and reduce childhood obesity. Research studies show that these programs average a net return of $15,000 for each child served.

The 350 retired generals and admirals of Mission: Readiness support quality early-learning to help children succeed in reaching their dreams: college, business, or a career in our all-volunteer military.

This isn’t a conservative or liberal debate. It’s plain common sense.

Mark Hertling, former lieutenant general, U.S. Army, former commander, U.S. Army, Europe

Comments | More in Education

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►