Propaganda and the sudden urgency of pre-school education

propagandaTwo weeks before the election, apparently spooked by his weak debate performances, President Obama felt compelled to finally release a second term agenda. His campaign quickly printed 3.5 million copies of the Orwellian and simplistically titled, “The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security”.  The plan included a section on education, famously called for hiring 100,000 (not 79,000, not 100,001) new math and science teachers, and (of course) more spending on college. One item that didn’t even receive a mention? “High quality pre-school”.

Yet at this past Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, suddenly the previously ignored issue of Pre-K education required two full paragraphs worth of attention in a nationally broadcast speech.

What changed?

As Hillary might say, “What difference does it make?” The One has spoken, we must follow his lead. And that’s just what David Brooks does:

Today millions of American children grow up in homes where they don’t learn the skills they need to succeed in life… Enter President Obama. This week he announced the most ambitious early childhood education expansion in decades.

Analyzing David Brooks’ writing is not something I particularly enjoy, but he’s a frustrating case. The NY Times house conservative, he was a clever and thoughtful writer capable of persuading those on both sides of the aisle. Yet ever since he fell in love with Obama’s pant crease, he’s used that power for administration propaganda.

On this latest issue of federal pre-school expansion, he begins by feigning skepticism:

But, on this subject, it’s best to be hardheaded. So I spent Wednesday and Thursday talking with experts and administration officials, trying to be skeptical. Does the president’s plan merely expand the failing federal effort or does it focus on quality and reform? Is the president trying to organize a bloated centralized program or is he trying to be a catalyst for local experimentation?

Let me guess… the answer is going to end up being Continue reading