FEW people would dispute the merit of Proposition 82’s goals: offering preschool to every 4-year-old in California, helping kids to learn to read by third grade, decreasing dropout rates. The problem is that, if passed, Proposition 82 is unlikely to achieve these goals, and very likely to expand government bureaucracy. Why? Because at its core, the Rob Reiner-backed Preschool for All measure is just an expansion of a already-troubled educational system. The measure would raise approximately $2.4 billion a year by levying a 1.7 percent tax on wealthy Californians who earn upward of $400,000 a year. Much of that money would go toward building an entire new bureaucracy that could end up strangling many of the state’s existing, successful pre-school programs with red tape. For the sake of context, let’s revisit the last Reiner-backed initiative, and see how well that worked for California. Back in 1998, Reiner sponsored Proposition 10, which targeted another unpopular California minority smokers with a tax hike to pay for early childhood education programs. Some 20 percent of Proposition 10 revenues ended up falling under the control of the First 5 California Children and Families Commission, headed by none other than Reiner himself. So what did Team Reiner do with all that cash? Well, out of $800 million, some $230 million was blown on advertising and PR. The commission also spent $23 million touting the value of preschool programs at the very time Reiner was trying to get Proposition 82 on the ballot which is grossly inappropriate, if not technically illegal. With that track record, it takes some gall for Reiner to now come looking for yet more money for childhood education. Because most California 4-year-olds are already in a pre-school program of some kind, Proposition 82 would have the effect of providing a subsidy for a great many families who don’t need it. That would be fine if Sacramento had unlimited money and no other educational concerns, but it doesn’t. Before expanding California’s deeply troubled public-school system, we ought to fix the problems already endemic in the existing K-12 program. Smaller class sizes, better teachers and parental empowerment as well as higher academic standards would all seem more pressing priorities than a massive, unnecessary subsidy and a new bureaucracy. Good intentions aren’t enough to save Proposition 82 from its overwhelming flaws. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!