ShareThis Page

Fight crime? A dubious program

| Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Use of evidence that's selective at best, discredited at worst, makes worthless a law-enforcement group's case for President Obama's 10-year, $75 billion universal preschool proposal.

Consisting of more than 5,000 police officers, sheriffs and prosecutors, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids just released a study that claims Mr. Obama's proposal would result in long-term savings equal to its cost by reducing future incarcerations, The Daily Caller reports.

Grover Whitehurst, director of the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy, says the group's claims rely on at least one “seriously flawed” prior study. There's “no reason to believe that the treatment and control” groups of children in the Chicago study that concerned a pre-kindergarten program “were similar to begin with.” Yet that Chicago study is the “primary resource used for the estimates in the Fight Crime report.”

Mr. Whitehurst also says that even if early education does cut future “incarceration rates among disadvantaged kids, there is no reason to expect that expanding the program to children from middle-class families would have the same effect.” Yet that's essentially what Obama wants to do.

The federal government itself says Head Start, costing $8 billion annually, hasn't produced lasting benefits for disadvantaged kids — a far better argument against nearly doubling preschool spending for 10 years than any that the Fight Crime study makes for Obama's plan.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.