What do we stand for? Our Kids and Our Future as a Society

Angie asked me to be more clear about what we stand for. We stand for our children and we stand for making their chance at being all that they can be be our priority. We have asked the Government to take a time out and hold off piecemeal change. We have asked them to look at the complete picture that is our children – how they are doing and what kind of result we need and why.

We have said that we will only have trouble and even tragedy if we continue to try and accommodate the competing and irreconcilable interests of the people who earn their living in the sector. We are saying that if we put what our children and our society needs first – then we can fit the suppliers into that picture.

I am sure that I may be upsetting you as I make these statements – so please look at the current reality: please have a look at Teresa Wright’s excellent piece in the Guardian today and ask yourself – how would any person reconcile the competing needs of the stakeholders – the owners, the ECE’s and the Teachers?

  • A small inner group of daycare owners and kindergarten who are worried about new competition or worse – universal Kindergarten – that would threaten their living.
  • ECE’s who are worried that Teachers will take their jobs
  • Teachers who are worried about declining enrollment and see Kindergarten as an opportunity to protect their jobs

This is only human – the livelihoods and the place in society that all hold dear are threatened by any change.

For each of these parties to WIN – means a loss for the others. More daycares and kindergartens of a higher quality than the existing ones, threaten the establishment. So the needs for parents to find more quality and more choice in blocked.

This need to protect the current owners is behind the existence of the Board and behind the attempt to change the act to give the board discretion. It is not about qulaity but protection.

Because we have the system we have, we don’t have quality care available to all children and we don’t even talk about them. Because our system is not universal – very large numbers of children have no access to quality care of any kind – their interests are never given voice.

The people who have the voice are those that have a stake. Owners, ECE’s and Teachers circle each other like packs of wild animals staking out their territory.

Where in all of this bitter life and death contest are the interests of children?

If we stay at this level of debate – the interests cannot be reconciled and the certain losers will be our kids and hence all of us.

For there is another layer of context fro all of this. We will have very few young when we are old. PEI will have amongst the least. Currently about 70% of the young who emerge from high school have neither the skills or the wherewithal to cope in society. We face a terrible crisis. Unless we can shift this so that many more can cope, can work, can be relied on to act as fully fledged adults and citizens – we are doomed.

The only place that we have a hope in acting that might give us a chance is in the early years – before our kids get to school. This is the time of greatest leverage where lifetime trajectories are set.

So if we cannot do a much much better job here soon, it’s all over folks.

No one and no interest group can put their immediate needs ahead of this – this being all our future.

So when we say that we stand for all out kids – we also mean that we stand for having a future here on PEI.

Stepping back and looking at what the real potential is and looking at how many are applying best practices in other places is our only chance

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7 Responses to What do we stand for? Our Kids and Our Future as a Society

  1. Mandy says:

    Rob

    I’m sorry that you feel that the children are nto being thought of. As an ECE who WANTS kindergarten to remain where it is, I do so because I believe that is the BEST place for the children. Not just because I want a job…. don’t just assume we’re all out to think for ourselves.

    And as for the article, we’re not all so lucky like Smart Start to be funded by big dollars and cents…but that’s a whole other can of worms..

  2. robpatrob says:

    Mandy
    I know how passionate you feel about kids.

    What I am saying is that so long as the debate is between Teachers, ECE’s and Owners – no matter what is right – nothing can be settled. That is where it is at right now – all say that they are for kids and then all claim that what they have is the way. As all compete – they can’t all be right.

    No one is making the case for kids.

    I am also saying that we need to look at the ENTIRE situation for kids on PEI – remember many have no access to anything – no one is doing that now and no one has done that before. Surely we ned to have a universal system that helps all parents do the best that they can? I am sure that this will involve some daycare and K but it will surely include more.

    I am also looking at outcomes that have to be measurable. We know how many kids enter the formal system in Grade 1 already damaged. We know that most kids leave school not able to cope in the society and the economy that we have. With so few young, we cannot survive this.

    What we are doing now is not working. It is not ensuring that most of our kids can grow up to be the kind of capable flexible and coping citizens that we will need.

    So unless we wish to give up, we surely have to think about what we need and how to get it and how t get it fast. The only place we can work to get a result in time in from 0-6 and with parents as well as institutions.

    It is not enough to care – we have to know what to do to offer the best and then we have to apply this knowledge to what we do.

    Lastly on the Smart Start situation – there was no outside investment in that.

  3. Mandy says:

    Thanks for the input Rob. I know you and I have had many chats about the future of children and we certainly agree on many things. I think I may have just read your post wrong, as I just seemed like it said ECEs do not care. And I know for me and many others that is tru;ly not the case.

    I do agree with you though… this “fight” could get out of control if people loose sight of what really matters.

    and no, I didn’t mean smart start had outside investors. It just is in a different situation to most licensed childcare centres. It’s a sore spot for some centres, and not for others. It certainly gets people talking..

  4. robpatrob says:

    I am sorry Mandy if I implied that ECE’s don’t care – I know they do and I know hoe much you care.

    Yes what I meant to say more clearly is that we have to get above the “fight”
    Hugs Rob

  5. Mandy says:

    thank you Rob 🙂

  6. …And thus illustrates the difficulty in being understood.

    As long as there are factions, there will be division. We must all start to open our doors to each other’s ideas and agree to sit around the same table. Acknowledging a stale mate is half the battle.

  7. […] It outlines the position of Parents for Choice & Quality.  This past weekend, Rob further defined what our group is envisioning for the future of the early years in […]

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