McGuinty gov’t to approve full-day Kindergarten

Can you believe it? Half-day kindergarten is fine the way it is. Very few parents are clammering for change. Yet, the Dalton McGuinty Liberals are pressing ahead with all-day junior and senior kindergarten in spite of a $25 BILLION dollar deficit. Check out this and this (H/T Jack’s Newswatch).

And, they are pressing ahead knowing full well there is a huge fight brewing with the teachers’ unions who are demanding that only qualified teachers teach the full-day. Well, as I have written before, during my career I have taught in both teacher education and Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs and I can say unequivocally that ECE instructors are very well qualified to do what they do. Teachers can be in charge of the formal curriculum (half the day) and ECE instructors the other half — involving resting, play and social interaction.

The very idea that qualified teachers are needed the whole day is simply silly — four and five-year olds can’t sit still and learn all day long. They need rest periods and it doesn’t make sense that staff are paid teachers salaries while all the children are sleeping on their mats. Not that I don’t think ECE teachers shouldn’t be paid a decent wage. They should!

However, this is the real world. We are just coming out of a recession. We can’t afford a new program like this. And, for what? So that the Ontario Liberals can fight the October 2011 election on their largess — with our money!

And, make no mistake, their largess is going to hit the taxpayers hard and increase the deficit that much more. Estimates are, for example, that implementation will be between $500 million and $1 BILLION dollars.

Yet, the crux of the matter is that no one is talking about the elephant in the room — that this decision is not about education at all. It is simply a sneaky way of providing Ontarians with fully subsidized day care.

Welcome to Ontario — yours to discover — the nanny state!

C/P Jack’s Newswatch.

Update: So now we know “the rest of the story.” The McGuinty government knuckled under and we, the Ontario taxpayers, will pay double or nearly double the costs. Why? Read this Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario (ETFO) news release.  The McGuinty government will have qualified teachers on a full-day basis PLUS early childhood worker support. Unbelievable. All because the McGuinty crew give the teachers’ unions everything they ask for. No wonder Ontario now has such a large deficit, a deficit that is growing by the day. (H/T Mark-Alan)

16 thoughts on “McGuinty gov’t to approve full-day Kindergarten

  1. Pingback: Jack’s Newswatch » Blog Archive » Sandy: McGuinty gov’t to approve full-day Kindergarten

    • I just put an update thanks for regular reader Mark-Alan. The McGuinty gov’t solved their dilemma by totally giving in to the teachers’ union — giving Ontario taxpayers double the costs. They will now have qualified teachers all day PLUS early childhood worker support for all or part of that day. And, the deficit just keeps getting bigger.

      Over to Tim Hudak with this one. Essentially a subsidized day care program, how will any government be able to cancel this option? They won’t.

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  2. With each one of these posts on the Ontario teachers’ union, it seems to be getting clearer and clearer who actually runs the Province of Ontario.
    As another election looms in a couple of years, is this their bargaining tool for that unprecedented mass support for the McGuinty Liberals? Or one of many?

    How much deeper can the hole get in a couple of years? Youch!

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    • Actually Bec, you are more right than you realize. With the teachers’ unions onside paying for third party advertising and working for the McGuinty Liberal campaign (some actually went on leave last time to work in the campaign — at the unions expense), anything the opposition PC’s or NDP will recommend, will be trashed. Remember, that is how the Ernie Eves government lost. That is how the John Tory PC team lost — making hay over the faith-based school funding issue. One hopes the Ontario public are a little more informed next time.

      Think about it. Would faith-based funding of some private schools have been as expensive as the E-Health boondoggle? Not even close. Yet, voters allowed themselves to be hookwicked.

      The good news is that Ontario polls are “finally” beginning to drop for McGuinty and are now in minority territory. Will they continue to decline or will a boondoggle like this full-day JK/SK turn things around.

      If I could move to Alberta I would, because I have a brother and two sisters and their families there. But, my own kids are here in Southern Ontario — including a son and daughter-in-law with special needs. As such, I visit AB as often as I can but stay here to be close to my own.

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  3. Children need time to play and do not need structured playtime will full time kindergarten. Imaginations need to bloom, there is no creativity in teacher driven “fun”. Glad my boys are way past school age – they would have been banned from school for their busy minds and hands. I actually had a teacher tell me at a parent-teacher meet and greet (when my son was in grade 2) that he played in his desk and she found it annoying. And parents should subject their children to more of this educational conformity? Duh! Boys already have a tough time in school – why subject them to more of this insane nanny statism. And oh yeah, because they were “busy” the system wanted them on drugs. Didn’t do it and fought the system tooth and nail. Challenge them, inspire them and allow children to play and run off the excess energy. Cheers.

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  4. Dalton McGuinty’s background, I believe, is in school board politics. Ontarians will have decades to bemoan the fact that he didn’t remain as a board trustee, rather than rise to the Premiereship and bankrupt the whole province. This is a classic case of the Peter principle in action. We cannot afford two more years of his mismanagement.

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  5. Our kids in Huron County have always had all day-every other day-kindergarten.
    I presume this is what they are talking about. Can someone explain why this costs more than to send kids every morning or afternoon 5 days a week. My kids and now grandchildren were at school 2 days one week and 3 the next. Has to be that way for the buses in a rural area.

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    • Ruth — It will be all-day EVERY day Kindergarten in both JK and SK. They will also have qualified teachers ALL day, as well as ECE specialists as support staff. Meaning that the costs will now double or more to what you have at present.

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  6. some kids are only 3 years old starting JK, and they cannot handle all day every day, plus the ride on the bus to and from. I can’t see a lot of rural parents chosing to send their kids to this. Sounds like it’s now government run daycare in Ontario.

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    • Ruth — You said “sounds like it’s now government run daycare in Ontario.” Exactly! And, regarding those 3 and a half year olds, no doubt the ECE worker will be the one to deal with those who are not yet fully potty trained, so the “teachers” won’t have to. 😉

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  7. Sounds like working families will finally be getting a break on some of their day care costs with this program. That federal tax credit doesn’t come close to paying for the true cost of day care. The research is clear: every dollar invested in children in early learning brings an $11 return as an adult. Research also indicates that problem solving skills, as well as language, literacy and socio-emotional development are enhanced in children who are enrolled in full-day Kindergarten.

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    • The problem is Chris, it’s not being called what it is — a daycare program. And, there is plenty of research to prove the opposite of what you quote. I was a researcher and I know only too well that you can “prove” just about anything. In fact, there is research that can even prove that homeschooling is better for some children. While I sent my kids to daycare, lots of people prefer to take care of their young children themselves or send them to grandparents half the day or a neighbour with a similar aged child. There is no one right way.

      In terms of cognitive development, four and five year olds are between pre-operational and concrete operations and so don’t learn problem solving skills until they can think abstractly – and that is not until age eight or later. If a child is good looking and popular they learn positive socio-emotional development. If they have a special need, however, full-day options just reinforce their difficulties and they may not develop as well as you suggest.

      It’s complicated and to simply make “assumptions” that “research indicates” gets my shackles up.

      The other problem is this is NOT the time to be implementing a “free” program like this, similar to one in which even Quebecers have to pay a small share — when we already have a $25 billion deficit. This Liberal crew is going to bankrupt Ontario for the same children who will take part in this program, even more so than the Rae NDP did — and that’s quite an accomplishment!

      But, since it is going to be a reality, I might as well as see the upside. So, I am glad you will be getting a break with your day care costs — money that can be used to further stimulate the economy — like buying a vehicle, a larger house, new furniture or save for hockey equipment or the orthodontist as your kids getting older. 😉

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  8. Pingback: Why McGuinty all-day Kindergarten is flawed « Crux of the Matter

  9. Well, I don’t see the problem with having subsidized day care. Time to move forward. Both parents are now working full-days. Full-day kindergarten gets everyone an equal chance in the workforce, even parents who can’t afford daycare. On top of that, full-day kindergarden builds the social and learning capacity of our future. So I don’t know what everyone’s problem is! American states have implemented full-day kindergarden. Its about time we got back to the more socialized programming in this country and stop following the neo-liberal direction.

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    • The problem Elizabeth is that Ontario can’t afford such a program right now. Maybe never. And, if it is day care, we should call it that and not hire elementary teachers to do what ECE instructors are trained to do. Even the Province of Quebec has a day care program, but all parents contribute something like $7.00 a day. Now, in Ontario, the private nursery schools/day care services will not be able to compete. In other words, I don’t support a full socialist view of having children and then expecting the state to bring them up. Yes, I was a working mother, a single parent for some of the time, but I paid my own way.

      We’ll have to agree to disagree I guess.

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