Bullock’s pre-K boondoggle: $37M for questionable outcomes


GLOBAL CLASSROOM: Gov. Bullock presses for universal pre-k in Montana at a cost of $37 million.

By Michael Mattson | WatchdogWire.com

Gov. Steve Bullock continues to press for universal pre-kindergarten in Montana, at a cost of $37 million, as reported by the Billings Gazette.

In a press release from July, the governor laid the rhetorical groundwork:

“Montana children deserve every opportunity to succeed, that begins with ensuring that they come to kindergarten ready to learn,” Bullock said. ““Students who participate in high quality pre-Kindergarten programs as kids see improved academic performance in school, higher graduation rates, and increased earning potential as adults. Despite all of these benefits, Montana remains in the minority of states who don’t provide our youngest learners with a pre-K option available for all. It’s time that we change that.”

Currently, educator licensure endorsements in Montana are only issued for grades K-12… The new rule will propose an early childhood educator licensure endorsement for “age three to grade three,” as well as a middle school endorsement for grades four through eight.

The Gazette article linked above presents one opposing view, that of state Rep. Matt Rosendale:

…the rules would “choke out” current providers, which he said have been operating effectively for years. “It’s a whole host of licensing and certifications that these private institutions are not going to be in a position to provide,” Rosendale said.

Pre-K Fadeout

A major question not often addressed is the factual basis, or lack thereof, for Bullock’s assertions regarding the benefits of universal pre-K. The assertions made are derived from data related to “at risk” children, but that fairly relevant bit of information never seems to make it into his talking points.

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