“China today is investing heavily in early childhood education,” Murray said at the 2014 Fiscal Summit hosted by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which was also attended by former President Bill Clinton and Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
“This is actually a no-brainer. Fifty years of study shows that investing in early childhood education means we have a workforce who has the skills that they need, that can grow the economy, we have fewer people in jail, we are much more secure,” Murray said.
But human rights activists such as Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, say that China’s population control policies actually deny an education to some children, and that millions more never have a chance to be educated at all because of forced abortions.
“It is ironic that Sen. Murray would hold up China as a shining example of early childhood education while ignoring the fact that China has prevented 400 million children from being born—too often by forced abortion under China’s one-child policy,” Littlejohn told CNSNews.com.
“In addition, the Chinese government has denied countless millions of children the right to an education and healthcare if they are born without birth permits.
“Children born without official permission are denied hukou, or household registration. They become illegal aliens in their own country,” Littlejohn continued. “In addition, the Chinese government will deny the children of dissidents the right to education.”
China’s “one-child” population control policy” first went into effect in 1979. A 2005 article from Reproductive Health, “Illegal births and legal abortions—the case of China,” describes "illegal pregnancies" and the economic incentives used to promote conformity with the policy—including giving the only child of compliant parents “highest priority in education and health care.”
At the 2014 Fiscal Summit, entitled “Our Economic Future,” CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes asked Murray to explain her thoughts on education spending and its role within the American economy. After singling out China as an economic competitor that America should emulate, Murray emphasized the positive effect that investment in early childhood education has on a nation’s economic wellbeing.
”We are doing the exact opposite as China and some of our other future competitors, by undermining all of our education system today by using it to help solve our fiscal problem,” Murray said.
“That has created an education deficit where we are going to be unable to compete in the future, and the economy in the future will be much more fragile.”