Shikha and Mrs TWC nailed that Meathead guy once again this morning in the Wall Street Journal. If you're a subscriber you can read it online here. If you're not, Mrs TWC has it on her blog, Education Weak.
LOS ANGELES -- Celebrities with a social conscience are a growing breed in Hollywood. But it would be nice if they'd stick to whales and landmines and leave our children alone.
Unfortunately, California parents have no such luck. Movie-director-turned-child-advocate Rob Reiner recently acquired a million signatures to put his Preschool for All initiative on the California ballot next June, his second attempt to launch a "universal" preschool program.
If enacted, it will bump the state's top tax rate to 12% in exchange for offering three hours a day of child care for 36 weeks a year. Frankly, I don't see how that justifies spending billions of dollars on a new program that only stay-at-home moms needing some downtime can avail themselves of. Most working people need child care all day, all year. More here.
But the people most dreading Mr. Reiner's latest foray are not the super-rich, who would no doubt find ways to dodge -- by moving out of the state if necessary -- what would effectively be a 19% increase in their tax rate. The real victims would be low- to middle-income women who run nearly all private early-care centers that comprise 70% of California's child-care industry.
Beyond that, it would hand over the state's pre-schoolers to the governmental educational establishment that is...
...run by teachers with precisely the kind of fancy education degrees drawing union wages that Mr. Reiner wants in preschools. California's fourth graders' reading and math scores are 47th among the 50 states on national tests. Furthermore, a study by the Rand Corporation this year found California's children trailing on every objective measurement of student achievement -- even after controlling for its disproportionate number of low-income, minority kids.
Lots more to say, but TWC is dangerously close to straying away from the primary tax analysis of this measure, which justifies this screed in the first place. Okay so I'm so far off the beaten path I'll need a sack lunch and a sleeping bag to get back over there. I'm sorry, but the coming wholesale decimation of an entire private sector industry that was largely created by entrepreneurial women, many of whom are minorities that found a market niche, and many who also serve minority communities, leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.