If John Edwards' presidential campaign promises haven't already given you an overdose of socialist nonsense, you'll gag on a proposal from three Georgia lawmakers.
State Reps. Mary Margaret Oliver, Stephanie Benefield and Kathy Ashe, all Atlanta-area Democrats, this past week offered legislation to study expanding Georgia's pre-kindergarten program to 3-year-olds.
Yep. They actually want to load 3-year-olds on buses and send 'em to public schools.
Never mind that the current 4-year-old pre-K, which is wildly popular because socialism is as addictive as shopping with someone else's credit card, isn't even available to all 4-year-olds.
Remember, a year ago Columbia County got snarled up in controversy over pre-K because of allegations of rigged drawings for the program's limited slots. So, before expanding pre-K to another age group, shouldn't the natural inclination first be to expand it to cover the group it already has?
In any event, Oliver says, "All experts say the earlier you prepare children for school the better they do so why shouldn't the state of Georgia expand Pre-K?"
Miz Oliver? May I answer that? Because enough is enough, that's why not.
I support public education, though that can be an unpopular stance among conservatives who sneer at "government schools."
Providing taxpayer-funded education of citizens is not only a time-tested and accepted government function; it is as important as providing taxpayer-funded protection of those citizens through law enforcement.
Still, the fact that taxpayers pay to put cops on the street doesn't absolve me from duties required for my own family's safety and security. I'm expected to lock my doors on my home and vehicle, to not leave valuables lying about and generally to behave myself and obey the rules.
Likewise, the parents of children in public schools still are expected to raise them. Schools are there primarily to provide formal education beyond the expertise of those parents.
At least, that's what we had in mind when they were created. We have long since slid down a slippery slope in which we not only provide public schools for everyone - illegals included - but also transportation to get them there. Children once brought their own lunches; we now feed them lunch and breakfast.
For decades we agreed on 12 as the number of years required for public-school education, until we decided to take children away from their parents a year earlier and call it kindergarten. Then, Georgia created pre-K, and took them away a year sooner.
Now Oliver, Benefield and Ashe want to add a 15th year in which the taxpayers would provide education - or daycare. And Gov. Sonny Perdue says he wants to put surrogate parents in the worst schools to make sure children show up every day.
What is there left for parents to do, except birthing and potty-training and providing a place for kids to sleep at night and on weekends? Why not have the government provide all that, too, like orphanages?
Then, freed from the burden of raising our own children, we could take a second job to pay for all the taxes required to support the socialist state.
Or we could just quit and let the government take care of us, too.
Nope. Having failed to draw the line prior to the creation of the 4-year-old pre-K entitlement, we must not allow that entitlement to expand to 3-year-olds.
Just as I am confident our local lawmakers, state Reps. Ben Harbin, Barry Fleming and Barbara Sims and state Sen. Bill Jackson, do not support John Edwards or Mary Margaret Oliver or similar leftists, so I am I confident they will never vote for such creeping socialism.
At least they'd better not, comrades.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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