17 April 2014

Universal Pre-K In The Big Apple: Cui Bono?

If you are a pharmaceutical company executive, you should be jumping with joy.

And you have New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio--and, to a lesser degree, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo--for the pot of gold that's about to come your way.

You see, Mayor de Blasio has guaranteed that all four-year-olds in the Big Apple will have access to pre-Kindergarten, regardless of their families' income and resources.   Although the Mayor didn't get the tax increase on wealthy New Yorkers he proposed, Governor Cuomo has guaranteed a way to fund it.

But do you want to know something?  Even if you'd been hit with a tax increase, the fact that tens of thousands of four-year-olds will be entering pre-K will put far more money into your pockets (or Versace bags or Swiss accounts) than you would have had to pay.

That's because putting all of those four-year-olds into the care of a complete stranger, with other kids who may also be strangers, all but guarantees that some of them will be diagnosed with Attention Defecit Disorder (ADD) or other "learning disabilities" by the time they're in second grade.

And--you guessed it--almost any time a kid is diagnosed with ADD, he or she is prescribed one of your company's fine products. Best of all, he or she will be on it for a long time, and taking it will probably create the need for another item in your company's lineup.  And maybe another.

But all of you drug dealers, I mean pharmaceutical executives, aren't the only ones who are going to benefit.  Some psychologists and other "specialists" are going to get lots of business, too.

Now don't get me wrong.  I understand why people--possibly even you or your spouses--want universal pre-K.  Given our current system, one or both of you wouldn't be able to work if it weren't available to you.  Then, of course, there are all of those single parents.  I know more than a few of them:  I've taught some and have made acquaintances and even friends with others.  The alternatives to pre-K include day-care centers that are often too expensive for such parents, and are often of questionable quality.  

Still, it's hard not to notice that the earlier in life kids are taken away from their parents (or whoever is raising them), the more likely they are to develop "learning disabilities" which, more often than not, are manifestations of fear, anxiety, anger and sadness kids naturally feel over being subjected to upheavals they did not choose.

Conversely, in Finland kids don't start school until they're seven years old.  They are consistently at or near the top of the world in educational achievement, along with  their neighbors in Sweden (who also don't start school until age 7) and their peers in Hong Kong.   

What's even more startling (at least to a drug company executive like you) is that a large part of your industry--namely, pediatric psychopharmacology--is all but nonexistent in Finland or Sweden.  So are the profession of school psychologist and such rackets that of "learning specialists".

Ahh, so that's the reason why your company doesn't have an office in Finland or Sweden.  I don't blame whoever made that decision.  All I can say is:  Enjoy the jackpot you're about to hit, courtesy of universal pre-K.