In a moment of rare candor, former New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey once called the teachers’ lobby the most powerful single lobby in the United States. It may not be that powerful, but it certainly is resourceful. It has just devised a plan for dealing with the problem of empty classrooms and teacher unemployment caused by the severe decline in the American birth rate. The idea is to put every child in school at age three instead of at age five or six; in other words, to create a multi-billion dollar Federal baby-sitting service.
The first step in this radical and costly proposal to establish universal Federal supervision over three and four-year olds is to push for passage of the Child and Family Services Bill of 1975. Sponsored by Representative John Brademas and Senator Walter Mondale, this bill would create a new Federal Office of Child and Family Ser vices to supervise a network of Federal day care centers for children.
If you think that the Department of Health, Education and Welfare is already interfering too much in local education, just wait until it gets its hands on this new office with extra billions to spend!
The dictionary defines “parent” as a “father” or a “mother.” The Brademas-Mondale bill, however, defines “parent” as “any person who has primary day-to-day responsibility for any child.” This would transfer your rights as parents of your own children into the hands of HEW bureaucrats, social workers, or teachers who have supervision over the children put into their care.
The theory behind the Brademas-Mondale bill is the assumption of the Behaviorists and the Humanists that parents are incapable of raising their own children, and that their development will be enhanced if they are turned over at an early age to government and welfare workers or to academic and psychological experts.
The bill states that “it is essential” that childrearing be done by a “partnership” of Federal, state, local governments, and parents and community agencies. This erodes the parental role and sets the precedent of the child as a ward of the state. The Congressional hearings since 1970 raise genuine doubts about the mental and psycho logical manipulation likely to be practiced in the child care centers set up under this bill.
A price tag of $1.85 billion has been put on this scheme for the first three years. Past experience with other Federal programs indicates that this will surely escalate to billions of dollars a year. Federal aid for child care is already available from more than 50 other Federal programs. The growing, healthy private day care/nursery school movement would be ultimately forced out of business by the Federal control authorized under the Brademas-Mondale bill.
It all boils down to two issues: Do we want to transfer the responsibility for the care of pre-school children from the family to the Federal Government? And can we afford to give HEW billions of dollars to create a giant laboratory to tinker with the minds of very young children? If your answer is no, you should let your voice be heard against the Child and Family Services Bill.