Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The real cost of 'early childhood education'

During Question Period yesterday, Ken Dryden said that the 'real cost of daycare per child is $8,000/year'.

Statistics Canada says there were approximately 1.7 million children under age 5 in Canada in 2004.

Assuming that just half of these children are in some sort of childcare arrangement (that would be 850,000 - a modest estimate) and assuming that all of the children in daycare were only there part-time --- that would still bring the yearly cost of 'universal' childcare to $3.4 billion/year. Daycare and government experts say that about 70% of children under five are in daycare.

The government has made a committment of just $5.1 billion over five years.

The Liberals continue to evade the real issue. Given the choice of being at home with their children, or leaving them to be raised by strangers, most parents would choose for one parent to be at home with the kids.

Given the choice between staying at home with the kids and having government workers at government facilities raise their children, my guess is even more families would have one parent at home.

The current Liberal plan takes into account today's reality, without addressing the fact that most parents are dissatisfied with this reality. Most new parents want one of them (usually the mother) to stay home with baby. Most parents of babies and school age children agree that even as the kids grow up and enter their teen years, a parent's presence in the home before and after school is just as important. Most parents have to work anyway.

Childcare is not a choice for most people; it is a necessity. It has become a necessity not because parents want to leave their babies with other people, but because punitive tax laws, over-taxation and other anti-family policies make it that way.

The government should be making it easier for parents to take the primary role of teaching and nurturing their children, rather than mandating a 'universal system' whereby parents have to make a financial sacrifice to stay home with their kids -- all parents know they will be sacrificing that extra paycheque --- but it shouldn't cost them more in taxes to make that choice.

I know that often one parent can't stay home with the kids -- sometimes there is only one parent. Yes, make daycare affordable for single parents and for low income families. But if a family chooses for one parent to stay home with their children, whenever possible -- it should be financially feasible -- not punished through higher taxation.

In todays high-tech, fast-paced, pop culture world, our children are only little for such a short time. Their tender years are fleeting and we already miss so much with the frenetic pace of everyday life. They'll have so many years to learn, to work, to become 'socialized'.

I want my children to learn their values at home -- not government values in an institutional setting.
I want them to remember summertime the way I had it. Rolling out of bed, throwing on some shorts and playing outside until we were hungry, then going back outside 'til the streetlights came on.
I want to know my kids better than some 'caregiver' does.
When my kids need a hug, I want them to reach for me.

Whatever the government does or doesn't do about daycare doesn't affect me because my kids are tweens and teens, but when they are old enough, I want them to have the option for one parent to stay at home with their kids.

Life is so short and nobody ever died wishing their kids had spent more time at daycare.

I resent the government trying to take those baby years from us, rather than helping to find a way to give them back.



Ruth said...

I would only half agree that childcare is not a choice for most people. I totally agree that it's not a choice for single parents. However, in the case of two parent families it often is a choice... it's just a choice that a lot of people don't realize they are making.
Let me give an example to illustrate what I mean. My cousin is about to have another baby. She would dearly love to stay at home when the second baby comes. However, she and her husband "can't afford it." Now, their house is huge, both parents make excellent money and they live a more extravagant lifestyle than I and my husband do. If they were to cut a lot of the excess out of their lives, she would be able to afford to stay home. Due to social and extended family pressure, they won't be able to do that.
The government's plan for child care is only going to facilitate that pressure, and I think this is wrong. What would be a better idea is to increase the baby bonus money parents get from the government. This would make it a lot easier for one parent to stay home.

Ruth said...

PS: But I do agree, most parent's are NOT happy with reality as it currently is. And, I don't think they should be.

Question Period said...

If the CPC really had a plan that would allow my family to have one parent stay home, I'd vote for them, every parent I know would vote for them, Ken Dryden would vote for them.

Until I hear it, I'll look for a plan that gives my children better care outside the home.

W.L. Mackenzie Redux said...

The real cost of state run ECE will be extracted in your child's development.

I already spend a couple of hours a day deprogramming my boy from the toxic politics he's exposed to in state run indoctrination centers ( public schools) I wonder what will be the political infusion level at state run preschool?

10 bucks sez we have toddlers and young-un's retuned to us with tales about teacher reading "sarah's 2 mommies" to them.

Les Mackenzie said...

I want to send my kids to disgruntled unionized child care workers for care. I totally agree with this program :|

Linda said...

Hey Canadi-anna -- you speak for many of us. I've been involved with family rights advocacy groups for years on this issue and it's been next to impossible to turn things around in favour of parental rights. Why not? My experience has been that the radical feminism that permeates the bureaucracy of the Lib regime is inimical to anything that would take women out of the workforce, despite the fact that it might actually be what many women want. Now, in fairness, I did come across a feminist mothers group in Ottawa that was advocating for stay-at-home-parent tax equity, but by definition, they would not be considered 'radical,' in that they were not threatened by women 'breaking ranks.' Most government-sponsored feminist groups I've encountered are awfully selective when it comes to what 'choices' they truly want women to have. The agenda is everything.

macbeth said...

I agree that the Liberal child care plan is a bunch of BS. I don't have kids myself, and probably won't for a long time, but if/when I do, staying home with them is definitely an option that I want to be open. It's a lot better for the kids.
My mom didn't stay home, but my sister and I had about the most caring babysitter you could imagine. In our own home. She was almost as good as a parent, because it was the same woman there everyday, and since she only looked after the two of us, we got lots of individual attention. That is the next best thing. I'd would never send any child of mine to government-run daycare unless I had no other choice.

Debris Trail said...

I'm a teacher. I now spend my time teaching children, teens, and adults how to avoid dangerous people. ( www.keepsafe.ca ) I can tell you, without any reservation, that if government funded daycare reaches the proportions that the libs hope it will, we will drastically increase the number of damaged kids.

There are enough damaged kids as it is; damaged from violent or neglectful parents. I'd put my reputation on it, that government daycare will produce what they have in Russia; a population of completely disenfranchised kids. I can hear it now... "why doesn't johnny love us?" Pre-school or kindergarten children are incredibly young and fragile, imagine millions of 2's and 3's spending their days in unionized, socialist, un-loving, play camps.

I think Canada needs to look at othe options... for the sake of the kids.

Linda said...

Here's a great editorial to accompany your post. (H/T The Black Kettle -- IMO, he's giving Nealenews a run for his money!)

Candace said...

Very well said. My daughter was first in a home-care situation (a dear friend raising her two, mine and a few others so she could stay home with them), then when she returned to the workforce, another one that wasn't so hot. I moved her into a larger, 'regulated' one and she thrived, but that had more to do with the people running the program. Quality care needs to be available for single parents, but no one can argue the value of a parent at home at the end of the school day.

The "gov't run" daycare idea is just plain scary. I think I even heard the word "registry" in the same sentence as "daycare program" in QP today, but started choking on my coffee so can't confirm that.

As for the "militant" feminists - I thought (silly me) that the point of the feminist movement was equality - in pay, in CHOICES available - not to make it mandatory that everyone work outside of the home. sheesh

Cyrano said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your post, Canadianna. To QP, the CPC policy is lower taxes - and in the case of childcare, some form of tax deduction that parents can apply towards childcare, or to help keep a parent home if that's their decision. I'd like to see them cut even more central government to lower taxes more, but it's a start.

bob said...

Go back into the Western Standard archives. Dryden did an interview w/ them that, if you pulled stuff from there, would be a terrific followup to this post.

Judy_Satin said...

Canadianna wrote, "Life is so short and nobody ever died wishing their kids had spent more time at daycare.

I think this anti-daycare website has a lot of reasons why this is so...

Canadi-anna said...

Thanks for the link Judy. And thanks too, Bob. I've checked out the site and I'm taking notes.

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