Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., unveiled Tuesday a proposal to subsidize universal early education and child care through federal subsidies.
According to The Huffington Post, “no family would have to spend more than 7 percent of its household income on child care, no matter the number of kids.” Providers would have to meet safety and curriculum standards, and the proposal would be financed through a “tax on wealth.”
But the fact is that a new large-scale federal subsidy day care is unlikely to improve educational outcomes for children. It will cost billions—according to one estimate, $700 billion over 10 years for the Warren plan—and furthermore, it may not reflect the preferences of families when it comes to their children’s care in their formative years.
Although the Warren plan talks about day care subsidies rather than “preschool” subsidies, the reference to “curriculum standards” suggests the effort will be about more than child care for parents.
Warren’s plan reportedly calls for “requiring child care providers that receive federal funds [to] meet standards similar to those that now apply to Head Start.”
Well, Head Start is far from a success story when it comes to participant outcomes.