A wonderful piece in today’s NYTs fills my mind with metaphors:

  • A golf ball, struck 300 yards, starting off-course by only a degree…where does it wind up? What would happen if you corrected course after just 10 feet of flight? After 200 yards?
  • Demonstrators in the streets, decrying a paternalistic government that offers Starbucks-like early childhood care, for free, to the poor. Beautiful facilities, very low child-to-caregiver ratios, and accusations of stealing children away from their (often dysfunctional) family situations in an attempt to brainwash them
  • A driveway with a $70,000 SUV parked and a path that leads to a house that needs a new roof, that has plumbing issues, that isn’t that great to begin with.

Here is the article: http://nyti.ms/10nz6BI.

Basically, investments in childcare for the very young (basically from birth through five) have a huge impact on a person’s life. Invest in middle school, or high school, or college? You’re trying to affect the flight of the golf ball once it is 2/3 of its way to a destination.

Paternalistic? Sure. Are people golf balls? No.

What do our universities look like? I drove through UCSD recently. I didn’t see the campus up close, but the buildings I could see were impressive. Architects were involved. World-renowned, probably, in some cases.

What about your local daycare? Linoleum. Strip mall storefront. 30-to-1 ratios.

What if our education system was reimagined? Put the university kids in barracks, strip away the cable TV, rent out the posh buildings to businesses (if possible). Turn the pre-Ks into palaces. Pay teachers $70k a year. Bring down the ratios to 5-to-1. Once you hit 8th grade? Barracks. Broadband. Tablets.

America has a Range Rover parked in front of a trailer home. Why not put a Honda there and make the house a beautiful, self-fulfilling prophecy of hominess, love, and education.