Commentary

Preschool Hype: National Security Edition

Retired officers push early childhood benefits to help national security

A bipartisan group of retired military officers says without more educational and health investments in children the country will face a growing “national security threat.”

Now, the group is pushing for significant investments in early childhood education, parenting guidance as well as mental and nutrition services.

“The safety of our country demands urgent and intelligent action,” the group says in its mission statement. “We call on all policymakers to ensure America’s national security by supporting interventions that will prepare young people for a life of military service and productive citizenship.”

Congress is considering legislation for a new initiative called the “Early Learning Challenge Fund” designed to help states improve their early education programs and expand access to include more at-risk kids. The House already passed its version of the bill, which would fund $1 billion annually for eight years in competitive grants to states. The Senate has yet to vote on that bill.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.