Thursday, April 8, 2010

Changes to 242?

Read this post over at Full Day Early Learning with some interest. The authors suggest one of the amendments to Bill 242 (the enabling legislation for full-day learning / full-day kindergarten) will be to allow for partnerships between boards and community partners on the delivery of before- and after-school programs.
The committee is set to do its clause-by-clause review of the bill Monday. It faced testimony supporting and speaking against the bill and (to-date) government's insistence that this program be offered exclusively by school boards.
The testimony itself got some good media hits across the province as different local papers picked up on the concern and localized it -- perhaps my bias, but I noticed the Y's concerns got a lot of play. Even in today's Ottawa Citizen, the CEO of the National Capital Region YM-YWCA (disclosure: where I worked from 1997-2000) had an op-ed piece.
When I spoke with Minister Leona Dombrowsky after the grants release, I asked some specific q's about capital and other funding for the Early Learning Program. My notes aren't at the desk I'm typing this from in Ottawa, but recollection of the conversation and the ensuing article shows a willingness to keep talking to school boards, keep talking with the childcare sector and muddle through implementation as best possible.
If time and opportunity allows, I'll post something once the Hansard is updated on the clause-by-clause committee meeting this coming week.


Anonymous said...

"will allow partnership between boards and community partners on the deliver of before and after school programs."

Oh my gosh! I can say with confidence that most effective and savvy school boards have been doing this for years. That the province will now "allow" it through legislation isn't just rich it's seeming more and more that this may yet to turn out to be one huge boondoggle.

For the province to hand keep shoving this down the throats of school boards will back fire on them big time I predict.

Sometimes it pays to have gov't stop trying to help communities in this way because many were doing just find thanks very much.


RetDir said...

I also have seen the amendments, and the choice will likely be time limited, with boards having to operate them by the end of the implementation period.

Education Reporter said...

CC and Retdir:

I've always figured some sort of middle ground would be logical. Childcare operators are screaming because they're about to lose their profit centres. Me and my naïveté again.

The ministry is insistent school board operate the full-day learning program in its entirety from morning until night.

Many children's agencies already run before- and after-care programs in school for all elementary aged children.

Yet instead of retaining their 6-13 (well, more likely 6-10 or 11) age groups for before and after care the response has been to simply say there would be no more programs if the boards run before and after care for 4-5yo.

Seems to me those 4-5yo are probably (guessing) not the majority of students participating in the existing before and after care programs. These could still be profit (or at least revenue) centres for those already running the full gamut of non-school programs in school buildings.

There will be some pain here, but I think this process will also force us (society) to have a discussion about funding for infant, toddler and preschool care— so the true costs are either being better subsidized or reflected in fees. You force a 5-1 ratio and then put providers in a corner on fees and no wonder they're all hurting over the pending loss of the part-time 4-5yo kids that have been helping them break even.