The Record Off The Record: Education Policy Development Committee Feb4/13: The $10 A Day Child Care Plan

“Following international trends, it integrates child care into our education system in a way that builds on the strengths of both our public school system and quality, community-based child care. The Plan extends the universality, public funding and democratic governance of the public school system to services for children under the age of five on a voluntary basis …. The Plan is not about standardized curriculum or academic achievement for young children. Children will still start school at age five but their early care and learning programs will be strong and equal partners with the K-12 system. Child care will be an expected and accepted part of neighbourhoods, and, with time, may well be a positive influence on all levels of the education system. “

The Record Off The Record is my own record of public meetings in School District 61 Greater Victoria  (5 municipalities). “Official” approved minutes are posted on the SD61 website  generally one month after the meeting. Trustees  are referred to by last name only for brevity; in motions, “the Board of Education of SD No. 61 (Greater Victoria”) is referred to as “the Board [etc]”. No Board audio recordings are made of Standing Committee meetings, only of Board meetings. [This decision to record / not record was made by someone at some point but no record of debate or a vote on proposed uses of and storage of the record appears to exist.]

$10/Day Child Care Plan
$10/Day Child Care Plan

No In Camera meeting before the public meeting.

Education Policy meetings are generally held at schools in Greater Victoria School District 61. This one was held at the Tolmie Building. (Canada’s Historic Places lists the building incorrectly as the home of the Saanich School Board. The overlap of the School District and municipal boundaries can be confusing.)

Absent: Leonard, Orcherton

Recognition of Songhees and Esquimalt Nations’ traditional territories.

Education Policy Development Committee: Chair Alpha

1. Approval of Agenda: Approved.
2. Approval of Minutes: Approved with revision: Education Policy minutes January 7, 2013: Discussion re the content of Section 3 of the minutes (Business Arising). As Trustees have been told on several occasions when asking for comments or points to be included in minutes that “the Board does not take verbatim minutes”, with the request being denied, it was noted that although the content of this section is not verbatim, it is very close, and for consistency, should not be included.

McNally: That the content be struck from “Trustee” to “meeting” (3 paragraphs).Carried: unanimous.

3. Business Arising Out of the Minutes : None.
4. Public Request to the Committee: None.
5. Correspondence Referred to the Committee: None.
6. General Announcements: None.
7. New Business:

A.Community Plan For a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning ($10/Day Child Care Plan)

  • (Referred from the November 19, 2012 Board Meeting in order to consider additional information.)

Chair Alpha introduced Toni Hoyland, Early Learning and Care Program Instructor at Camosun College and Camosun Child Care Services Manager Lisa Stekelenburg, who both  made an informative presentation to the Board.

Rita Chudnovsky of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives explains the  issue: Parent fees are too high, staff wages are too low, there are nowhere near enough spaces and public funding is almost non-existent….The Plan moves child care from the current patchwork to a democratically governed public system. Following international trends, it integrates child care into our education system in a way that builds on the strengths of both our public school system and quality, community-based child care. The Plan extends the universality, public funding and democratic governance of the public school system to services for children under the age of five on a voluntary basis …. The Plan is not about standardized curriculum or academic achievement for young children. Children will still start school at age five but their early care and learning programs will be strong and equal partners with the K-12 system. Child care will be an expected and accepted part of neighbourhoods, and, with time, may well be a positive influence on all levels of the education system. 

If and when government puts the Plan in place, child care will cost families $10 a day for a full-time program, $7 a day for part-time, and will be free for families who have an annual income of under $40,000. Every young child will have the right to participate in quality early care and learning programs that meet their needs. It will be up to families to choose what services work for them…..With new investments from the province, locally elected school boards will provide early care and learning programs in their communities with the operating funds they need to deliver quality programs. Early childhood educators will receive the respect and remuneration they deserve.”

  • [ Let’s hope that when this goal is achieved, public tax dollars aren’t siphoned off to subsidize private higher-fee early child care enterprises as they are now with public money subsidizing fee-charging private schools.]

Alpha and McNally spoke about their own experiences with child care as single parents when their children were young. Alpha  had the positive experience of child care at Camosun College, which provided high quality affordable and predictable care for students.  McNally had the “popsicles and tv”  experience that was all that was available for low income single parents using the welfare subsidy at the time and which was unsatisfactory, delaying a return to work.

Alpha pointed out that Quebec, which has a comprehensive child care program, experienced a net gain in provincial GDP as a result of the program, and that  the program pays for itself. The TD Bank notes in a CBC news release (November 27, 2012) that the economic return to society for every dollar spent on early childhood education is between $1.50 and $3.

Loring-Kuhanga spoke to the need to make room in the Plan for child care based on Aboriginal cultural traditions and practices.

The Community Plan offers a concrete, innovative ‘made in BC’ solution to the child care crisis facing families with young children. More information is available on the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC website.

School District 61 has six Strong Start programs at present. Strong Start is not the same as a child care plan, but this free program offers valuable learning for children from birth to five, and connections and learning for parents and caregivers. Each Strong Start group is led by a qualified Early Childhood Educator. Strong Start BC Early Learning Centres are located in school facilities and operate five days per week, for a minimum of three hours per day.

8. Motions Referred to the Committee:

Nohr amended the wording of her original motion as presented on the agenda, which was accepted by all. The final motion read:

A. Nohr: That the Board [etc] write a letter of endorsement supporting a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning, otherwise known as the $10/Day Child Care Plan.
Carried. Unanimous.

B. Nohr: That the Board [etc] encourage awareness of the $10/Day Child Care Plan among our partner groups and request that they endorse the program as well.
Carried. Unanimous.

9. Superintendent’s Report

A. ERASE Presentation http://www.erasebullying.ca/index.php

Every school  has an ERASE link on the school website now, and there is one on the SD61 home page:  “Everyone should be safe from bullying. Don’t let them control you and keep you down. Help eRase bullying starting now. eRase is a private and anonymous online reporting tool for targets of bullying or those that witness it taking place.”   

10. Adjournment: 9:40 pm

Next meeting:
Operations Planning and Policy Standing Committee
7:30 pm Tuesday February 12, 2013 Tolmie Building
In Camera Meeting (not public) : 6:15 pm

FYI: Budget Planning in SD61: http://sd61.bc.ca/budget.aspx

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