Socializing the Missing Link
Maybe it’s just my sense of the underlying humor of humanity, but I had to chuckle when reading a recent article about an RI Kids Count event. The piece starts out with RI Federation of Teachers and Allied Health Professionals head Marcia Reback advocating for a massive wave of unionized public-sector early-childhood workers. Then it moves through Ed. Commissioner Deborah Gist and others talking about the need for “serious money” devoted to younger children… because (I guess) the serious money that we’re allocating for children over five years old hasn’t been able to produce the desired results. With all of the pining for taxpayer dollars, the last paragraph seems to come from out of nowhere:
Everyone agreed that parents are the missing link in early childhood education. Community groups need to do a better job of explaining the importance of getting their children to school no matter how nasty the weather. Educators also need to offer literacy-rich summer programs so children do not lose ground between June and September.
Actually, it seems as if everyone agreed that the missing link is more money and more union jobs. The rejoinder, of course, would be that uninvolved parents come first and the need for public resources is a response to that, but the nuance leads in a different direction than the assessment.
That is to say that draining money from the private sector to filter through the government in order to purchase union-inflated child care will weigh down the economy and make it even more difficult for parents to afford time with their children (much less to foster one-income households). Moreover, removing the burden of child care from parents will lower the pay rate that they require before both working makes financial sense, thus expanding the workforce, suppressing wages, and adding yet more difficulty for those who’d like to be more involved with their children.
Of course, the alternative path requires more work to be done, culturally — encouraging marriage and the self-sacrifice of gadgets and modern life’s trappings as part of parenthood. Even those who oppose further government intervention in citizens’ lives bristle when a conservative, like me, so much as suggests considering whether the Freedom of Perpetual Adolescence oughtn’t be reevaluated and adjusted in the social sphere.