Oh, look! An excellent oped in today’s Ottawa Citizen by one A. Mrozek, about the new all-day “learning” program being somewhat less flexible than people were led to believe. Here’s the, ah, money quote:
So how exactly is the Ontario Ministry of Education legislating choice out of existence?
For starters, simply by introducing a monolithic taxpayer funded plan — legitimate and regulated child care providers can’t compete. When the government subsidizes a service, it means others are put out of business.
All-day kindergarten also takes five-year-olds out of existing centres. These children are a day-care’s bread and butter. Care of five-year-olds is substantially cheaper than infant care, which runs into the tens of thousands of dollars annually. Since no child-care centre could possibly charge parents the true infant price, they have balanced their businesses by charging less than the real cost for younger kids and more for older ones. The older ones who will now enter the “free” state centres.
Families with a spouse who stays home are, as usual, totally pooched. Their taxes will rise for a service they don’t ever choose to use. Pascal-plan advocates swear up and down the block we can fund the new system, parents at home and everything in between. The problem is they haven’t told anyone where the money tree is growing.
It bears repeating, again and again, just how expensive these programs are. Costed out, the full Pascal plan comes to $6.1 billion annually. All-day kindergarten rings in at a likely $1.8 billion annually. If money spent on all-day kindergarten went to parents instead, it would come out to more than $9,000 per child, annually.
Indeed. But Andrea, you forgot one thing: Parents wouldn’t know what to do with that money. Better let the government manage it.by