Doug Besharov is flummoxed. He was going to rebut the broader/bolder manifesto by going left...but Edelman just went SO FAR LEFT that it's going to be tough!
His question: In a stimulus package, or in the federal budget, where does the last dollar go? Should it go to the schools or to these other social services?
Consider pre-school programs, he urges. Head Start, serving 900,000 kids, makes almost no difference in the lives of these children according to serious evaluations. Same with after-school programs. In fact, the evaluations of these show that the after-school programs as implemented do more harm than good.
Let's ask the question: how can we make social service programs at least as effective as the average school?
Besharov: Do we need a broader/bolder approach? Of course we do.
But a program that doesn't address family and race issues head on has a problem.
What about the difference between boys and girls? Girls are doing LOADS better. There must be SOMETHING in the mix that has to do with the experience of low-skilled boys in our society that is a bigger problem than poverty.
If you're going to be bolder...