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