Saturday, September 27, 2014

Star's Tim Swarens Starting To Like Pence Because He's For Pre-K Education

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Pence consistently opposed funding for Head Start, a federal program that provides early childhood education for children who come from low-income families as a member of Congress. Not unlike Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, Gov. Mike Pence had a change of heart and now thinks the state should become involved in funding pre-K education for low-income children. The Indianapolis Star's opinion editor, Tim Swarens, now has glowing things to say about Pence, in sharp contrast to his threats to unleash a brutal public assault on any member of Indianapolis' City-County Council who dares to stand in the way of supporting Mayor Greg Ballard's plan to match funds being provided to Marion County under a pilot program by raising property taxes through the elimination of the homestead property tax credit. In a column titled, "The Evolution of Mike Pence," Swarens talks about Gov. Pence "at his best."
Indiana’s first-term governor stood before a couple of hundred educators, lawmakers and policy wonks in a state government center auditorium Wednesday morning to reinforce the critical importance of early childhood education, what he described as “the antidote for the toxin of poverty.”
He spoke with passion about the value of “unleashing the potential in one little boy, one little girl” and closed with a personal story: the journey of one at-risk child who landed in his wife Karen’s classroom years ago and later became a teacher herself. “She calls Karen her ‘other Mom’ today,” Pence said.
It was a surprising talk to mark the launch of a surprising policy achievement — a preschool pilot program designed to serve hundreds of low-income children in five counties, including Marion.
Surprising because, as Pence acknowledged later in an hour-long conversation, early childhood education didn’t make his otherwise exhaustive list of 2012 campaign proposals, which he called, incessantly, his “Roadmap for Indiana.”
Surprising also because Pence started with a bias against public-funded preschool.
“I came from the mindset that federal Head Start doesn’t work. That it doesn’t achieve lasting results,” Pence said after the speech, as we strolled from the government center to his Statehouse office. “But it was a learning experience for me as I traveled the state in 2013. I sat on the carpet with the kids, and I talked to people like Ted Maple at Day Nursery. I began to understand the importance of early childhood education in overcoming the effects of poverty.”
Swarens describes in his column a former congressman who was "predictably ideological and partisan, an affable knife-wielder for the party who could sit before the Fox News cameras and slice up Democratic opponents without breaking his smile." Swarens likes the new Mike Pence because he's now "for the common good" and wields an ideological knife the "edges [of which] aren't as sharp these days." Swarens assures us that Pence is still "a proud conservative" who is "no longer hemmed in by a rigid ideology that is the enemy of practicality." Words of praise for Pence all because of his support for pre-K education, eh?  Very strange.

Meanwhile, across town at a radio station, talk show host Amos Brown interviewed some people yesterday who run Family Development Services ("FDS"), a nonprofit organization that administers the Head Start program in Marion County. You mean there is already an early childhood education program in Marion County for children growing up in low-income households? There sure is. It's funded entirely by the federal government, and it's been around since the late 1960s. According to FDS's annual report, it spends close to $16 million a year providing early childhood education to about 2,500 children at nine community learning centers across the city. That comes to about $6,400 per child.

Mayor Ballard's plan to provide about $5 million a year to match the state's contribution will supposedly reach about 1,500, or 25% of the estimated 6,000 children living in poverty, with early childhood education opportunities. Ballard wants to give the money to the United Way to direct to providers of early childhood education, presumably preschools like the Day Nursery favored by the elites. Supposedly the wrap on FDS' pre-K education is that it doesn't provide higher level education to the children enrolled in the full-time and part-time programs, a fact disputed by the representatives of FDS who appeared on Brown's radio show. Their annual report says their education programs align with the state Department of Education's School Readiness Goals, along with nationally-recognized assessment tools.

By eliminating the homestead credit to fund the Pence/Ballard pre-K education program, the City of Indianapolis will collect more than $8 million a year in additional property taxes, while the City's public schools will lose a little more than $5 million a year in property tax revenues used to pay for buildings and transportation. It is peculiar that the Pence/Ballard pre-K education plan is by design intended to compete against the existing, 100% federally-funded Head Start program that has been around for decades at the same time it threatens to take away money from our public schools and other local governments. It gives one the impression that it has nothing to do with ensuring that low-income children receive early childhood education opportunities; rather, it's all about which organizations are the recipients of scarce public resources, particularly when education is not even the constitutional or statutory obligation of municipal government, which seems to be doing a pretty lousy job as it is taking care of basic services to the vast majority of residents who reside outside the mile square that encompasses downtown.


Anonymous said...

Mike Pence’s support that Indiana taxpayers should have an additional tax burden to pay for baby-sitting services (a more honest and accurate name for “pre-K ed”) for low-income children in light of his previous opposition to federal programs such as Head Start again vividly substantiates the politician is an intellectual light-weight. As equally a lightweight thinker flip flopping his earlier rhetorical daggers at any opponent to this issue is Mr. Tim Swarens- the opinion editor of the highly esteemed and much beloved Indianapolis Star whose readership and online subscriptions soar with each passing month.

Pence wants us to believe he was wrong before he was right about taxpayer paid programs of which research and the literature clearly indicated do not provide measurable results in the Utopian goal of “overcoming the effects of poverty”. Mr. Swarens, and now comes Mr. Pence, wish us to believe that only “government” can raise a child out of the misery of low income and poor circumstances.

Call my crazy, call me old-school, call me a clear thinker but isn’t that the job of something called “parents”? True, not all parents are imbued with the ability to instill in their progeny the tools to rise about any challenge life tosses but fools like Pence and Swarens wish us to believe “government” can and must.

I look back on the huge measurable success of The Great Society Program- for which taxpayers continue to toss millions at to this very day with yet about zero program success- and the numerous expensive social programs (most of them rife with fraud) both the Democrats and its wing the Establishment Republican Party enacted since the 1960’s- and well, I am just filled with certainty that this time another government program is the answer and will be as effective as proponents Swarens and establishment RINO Pence say it will.

Pete Boggs said...

Faux-gressives are simplistic in what they call "thinking" by defining wealth & poverty in material terms, confusing it as a cause rather than a result; of self determined lifestyle.

Words like rich & poor belong to the PC'd terminology of condescension; wink & nod political scheming that claims to identify but never solves any "problem." Wealth & poverty are more spiritual than material conditions or socialized "consensus" thereof.

Having descended into what they prefer to call a brand, "republicans" at the establishment level, are experiencing poverty of principle, intellect & spirit. Those in or who formerly identified themselves as the republican base, no longer consider branding over principle to be an investment grade idea (GOP donations), as Karl Rove is beginning to acknowledge, however witting.

Given what's really illogic, expect faux-gressives to continue backing up, attempting to fund the virtues of in vitro education...

Anonymous said...

On the probability that Pence will at least be in the conversation for the 2016 ballot in some capacity the Star needs to keep him on speaking terms with its reporters, because there's going to be a lot of page inches there. Truth be told, how these folks on the right adopt plausibly moderate positions, while saying they're consistent with the positions they took to get elected at home is pretty interesting, as will be the flip back to the right for those who don't make the ticket andstill have to run back in Mayberry.

Guest said...

The fact that Ballard tried for various reasons to eliminate the local homestead credit before dreaming up the Pre-K idea shows that this is about money that they can play with. I asked what the status is of HeadStart and what the results of that program has been and cost only to be ignored. We are supposed to forget that it even exits. Even though Pence has included Marion County in this it was met with a snippy -the state funds 800 children while his plan funds 1300. So, the state uses all taxpayer dollars while the city uses the select property tax payers. Lest they forget the uprising over excessive property taxation. It is not the job of the City Council to instigate school programs nor to get around property tax reform.
They are still pushing this which makes me realize that it is not about pre-k it is about wresting more money out of stressed citizens budgets. I am still waiting for the glorious report on HeadStart. So all you movers and shakers pushing this, backing this, maybe profiting from it, you fund it and leave us out of it. We are tapped out.

Anonymous said...

Pre-K is really nothing but state-funded daycare that attacks the family core by luring women who should be at home raising children into the workplace.