"My long-held belief … is that ALL families receiving our tax dollars for imprisonment, welfare-to-work, or Medicaid should be forced by law to have their children in publicly funded day care. And, if the family does not get the child to the day care, the child should be put in foster care, where he/she would be brought to day care … The time has come for the United States to take a TRUE stand for our poor children, starting at age 3 months." -Phyllis Albritton, Montgomery County, Virginia School Board Member

I wish I made this quote up, but unfortunately it’s as real as the day is long. This quote is from Ms. Albritton’s summary of her “Early Pre-K for At-Risk Children” breakout session at The 27th Annual Governor’s Conference on Education held yesterday in Richmond.

Allow me some liberty to translate Ms. Albritton’s quote: “Many parents are not capable of raising their children ages 3 months and older; therefore if the government does not approve of the way you are raising your child, they should take your child from you and do it themselves.”

To provide some context, prior to becoming a school board member, Ms. Albritton founded a pre-K program for 5-year-olds in Charlottesville and helped establish a pre-K program for children 3 months and older in Blacksburg. It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots between her theory of mandatory preschool starting at 3 months to her founding of preschools and guess at a possible conflict of interest.

Going back to Ms. Albritton’s statement, my mind is racing with all the problems it contains:

  1. This quote comes from a school board member, elected by citizens (i.e. parents). This quote isn’t from some wild-eyed activist; this is from someone whom parents have elected to represent them. And worse yet, in her position, she makes educational policy decisions.
  2. Parents (not the government as Ms. Albritton recommends) should be ultimately responsible for their children.
  3. Imagine the taxpayers’ cost of not only paying for social welfare programs, but also day care for every child whose parent receives social welfare. Impossible.
  4. The government is already struggling and falling behind on placing children currently in the foster care system. Does the foster system have enough room for the additional foster children this policy would create?
  5. What exactly would the government be able to do for a child at three months to better their current situation other than changing diapers, feeding bottles, and scheduling naps?
  6. Is the lack of day care alone a good enough reason to strip parental rights and guardianship from a child’s parents?

I hope those who attended Ms. Albritton’s breakout session yesterday left concerned & unconvinced. If not, I’m even more concerned now than I was at the start of this post.