Thursday, April 15, 2021

Be Careful What you wish for ll

More discussions in an ECE group today around new role of the CECE in advocating for ECE and universal childcare and why do we have to pay to two different organizations to get both regulatory oversight and advocacy.

So my take is that when the CECE was being formed I swear I remember there being talk about amalgamating it with the already existing AECEO infrastructure ... however apparently the government rules for regulatory Colleges doesn’t allow for it under some sort of conflict of interest if memory serves. Regulatory colleges and unions/professional associations are required to be kept separate because those who have to critically review the profession conduct and discipline of its members misconduct should not also be the same ones who are advocating for their rights and better pay/working conditions. 

The Ontario Teachers College  doesn’t actively advocate for teachers either that’s their two unions doing that. Just as ours doesn’t do it it’s the AECEO our professional association or for those ECE who are actually unionized their unions job. 

In regulated professionals were members all work for separate employers they tend to have “professional associations” they join to form a collective voice because a collective union can only be formed by workers under single employer and small business that have less than a dozen employees total well often a union wouldn’t have much collective power like auto industry. In that industry all Ford workers regardless of different plants are employees of Ford Corporation and locally each individual plant OR like teachers in Ontario where they are all employees of the MOE and than locally individual school boards. They bargain collectively at BOTH those levels. 

We may be licensed under the MOE but we are NOT employed by them we are employed by individual companies- we can not all be unionized under the same union as a result. You can attempt to unionize your individual centre and pay a union the dues to try to advocate for you - but they likely won’t be able to have any better luck at changing the status quo at a government level needed to create ACTUAL change under our model of childcare than the AECEO or OCBCC has.

Teachers are also required to engage in mandatory PD - the difference is that because they are all employed by the same employer aka the government and provided employer offered PD that’s tracked and so forth they don’t have to do their own “proof” cause the teachers college trust schools boards to be offering PD and so forth.

CECE doesn’t have that same relationship with our employers unfortunately as centres are all individual operated/owned - so some childcare employers are awesome at supporting PD and others suck donkey balls and offer nothing  - so therefore to ensure that all CECE members are engaging in PD we get the standardized CPL and its 3 components  .... and it should be noted it was the LIBERAL GOVERNMENT that required that of the CECE under the Early Childhood Education Act 2007 the Liberals created as part of their FDK initiative ECE working in school boards needed to be regulated and  it is that Act that oversaw the creation of a College of ECE, brought the CECE into existence in first place and mana dated what the CPL for ECE had to contain. 

Making change in the funding model for licensed childcare at a government level is going to have to take a HUGE paradigm shift in how VOTERS see the role of childcare and value in it being offered by a third party. 

Right now Baby boomers still make up the majority of voters and they not only view childcare as a family responsibility they are long past NEEDING childcare so aren’t gonna vote to spend trillions on it when the services they  do need such as LTC and health care are so poorly funded they don’t want money taken away from those to be diverted to childcare.

There is also the challenge that the stats for those who choose “formal licensed childcare” VS those who choose “informal unregulated childcare” is consistently seeing licensed childcare in a MINORITY role that sits between 20-30% of us across ALL provinces except Quebec which sees 47% of 0-4 in their universal programs and 10% of the 4-12 age group. So only 20-30% of Provincial and Federal voters USE licensed childcare so why are the 70-80% of the others gonna vote for Universal Childcare system that they feel won’t benefit their needs - and this is why every politician whose attempted to run on a universal childcare platform lost cause enough voters aren’t wanting to invest their vote in that area - and highly doubt that unionizing centres under our current funding model is gonna change individual voters minds to get a party in power that could actually pull it off 🤷‍♀️ 

So the question is how do ECE change the minds of the 70-80% to a value childcare model they do not use in order to get them to vote to invest trillions of tax dollars into it?

To which ECE pointed out all the studies that show the benefits when children have access to a attentive/responsive primary caregiver in their early years.

While I  agree that studies show that young children who have access to an attentive/responsive  primary caregiver in low ratio settings during those early years show long term benefits - my concern is would that happen in a universal childcare program with the values our culture has? A culture that, based on historical attempts of our past governments, keeps raising ratios to create new spaces and balance budgets without having it invest more money in childcare that instead we would end up like Spain and have 1 adult trying to care for 9 infants under a year old and the ratios just going UP from there and IMO there’s no way that model produces the same shiny positive results for the children raised in them 😞 

Even in Quebec model here in Canada, with ratios of 1:5 for infants/toddlers under 17 months  higher than our current 1:3 and and their toddler ratio is 1:8 for 18 months and up and as a result the research based on the last 25 years from that model is not producing the positive results for social emotional development and mental health quite contrary to  the Nordic countries have where the focus was on forming a healthy parental/familial attachment between 0-3 and waiting until 3 to introduce universal 3rd party childcare. 

I am just NOT an advocate that a universal childcare for infants and toddlers is gonna result in positive outcomes for the children  - I would love to see a Nordic approach where the value of a parent/family  being the best option in the first 3 years and support a longer properly funded parental leave and expand more EarlyON programming to support all parents to be that BEST option while also offering early learning programming for the littles while parents are there providing the care would be much more manageable fiscally over the model of the Quebec one that our country would mostly copy. Quebec universal childcare is still NOT universal after quarter of a century and still sees educators low paid and in tiers of low pay with home based  providers despite being unionized being paid much lower and facing higher ratios than their centre counterparts.

I just feel ECE need to look long and hard at countries that provide universal care for infants and toddlers and what those programs ratios look like and look historically at how our government and the voting tax payer has reacted to childcare sector and ask if possible being paid a bit more will be worth it if that comes at the huge likelihood of the risk that you will also be asked to care for 2-3x the amount of children you currently do in order to fund it and is that outcome going to make our job better, more rewarding and easier? 

We need to look long and deep at institutional childcare and the whys behind the challenges we face in licensed childcare and to be mindful/careful what the true cost and risks might be in advocating for universal childcare 😞 

Look at how flawed our public education system is do we really trust our government to do better adding the 0-4 age group to that model? 

So sure teachers get paid better than we do, get prep time and benefits and a pension but they also face so many challenges with increasing class sizes, decreasing support for children of differing needs, as a result they are being asked to do so much more than just teach but to be therapists, nurses, family counsellors and so forth while also balancing all the teaching requirements that the job is so stressful many end up on sick leave due to mental stress AND if we look even closer at teachers work conditions and pay MANY new teachers to the field are not paid much more than ECE are working in FDK, they can work for a DECADE or longer before they are able to move out of “SUPPLY/LTO contract” teaching into having any actual job security of a full time permanent position and it can than take a decade or so more to move up to the top tier in teaching salaries that are always quoted for teachers. 

Call me skeptical but I just don’t have faith in our leaders or with our cultures value system  that a ‘universal childcare’ would be any sort of positive utopian thing when they cannot properly manage the social services we already provide - health care and public education are a mess and we cannot properly fund the current model of childcare without constantly seeing ratios being pushed up and threats that our operating grants will shrink or WEG might not be renewed 😞

 I find it very hard to trust any promises they might make to get elected will look anything like the reality of what it would become! FDK a prime example - promised Ontarian’s a “stemless day of education and care with a ratio of 1:10” and we got anything but that - it’s not seamless, it’s not low ratio and it still came with a budget to taxpayers that ended up being triple what they said it needed and it drove the cost of before and after school as well as childcare in general up - so now taxpayers are paying more TWICE - once via taxes for the 9-3 portion of the program and than again with before and after school care now costing as much as a full day of preschool use to preFDK 😞 

I prefer to advocate for CHOICE in childcare - fund parents directly let them choose it they want to use that money to remain home with their littles or outsource to another model so they can work! 

I think there’s no easy solution but some I would advice for more wholeheartedly are:

Since we already have a UCCB which they seemed to be voter supported because it provided “choice” for everyone - so if they built on that as a start and than passed Employment laws to extend how long a persons position could be saved - the UCCB approach would also allow for parents better flexibly to to “share” parental leave so each could work part time and use the UCCB (if properly increased) to augment the other household financial coverage needed. 

We also already have FDK publicly funded so we could look at growing that to serve children 3-6.

Therefore if families were financially supported to have a parent/family member home for the first 3 years or they could choose to use that to fund a 3rd party option and work if they wanted and than amended publicly funded FDK to cover 3-6. Formal school starts at six. 

We already have EarlyON programs build on those to support families who choose to remain home the first 3 years - adapt current childcare programs to house EarlyON programs instead perhaps with “relief childcare” for short periods while parents attend workshops/support groups/mental break but still on site if needed to help them manage at home better and do a way better job to promote attendance at them to get relief, resources and other things needed to ensure all children have an amazing first 3 years of life with short from trained RECE working in them. Amazed how many new parents have no clue those resources even exist 😞 

Another option is to look closer at the UBI concept where it’s just one income replacement programs that covers ALL the ways that someone might need to be out of the workforce temporarily or permanently we already have - stream lining to a UBI would greatly cut way down on the overall expense to taxpayers of funding multiple different organizations with redundant management and fancy buildings and so forth  and funnel that savings into increasing the support of those programs to actually BE an income replacement instead if a bandaid - so combine EI for job loss, maternity leave/parental leaves, short term sick leaves, Permanent Disability leave, Ontario Works, CPP and all those payment support systems into ONE organization that funds any persons who need to access it for the same “UBI” amount and support programs in place that they return to work as soon as possible based on each scenario they went on it. 

There are countries around the world that are getting it right - we need to look you those 💕 Our current childcare system is not a financially  sustainable option as it is and trying to put even more money into a broken system that’s got way too much infrastructure overhead that takes away from resources on the front line is just not the answer!  

My two cents today! 


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