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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Childcare war of words in Winnipeg 
(en francais)

Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck continues with his challenge of the spin issued by daycare lobbyists.

Apparently University of Manitoba Professor Susan Prentice had an article published in yesterday's Winnipeg Sun, responding to a column Brodbeck wrote last Friday - Child-care lobby's numbers are a joke. I did a search, but was unable to find the article he mentions.
Phoney child-care stats
If Prentice -- a PhD in sociology -- doesn't know how to do this kind of research, she should get somebody else who does. What I take exception to is academics shopping around shoddy studies and passing them off as real academic research.

It's intellectually dishonest.
Not only is Professor Prentice an academic, she is one of the founders of the Child Care Coaltion of Manitoba. Their goal?

Our goal is a fully accessible, publicly-funded, non-profit system of comprehensive and high quality child care, with worthy wages and good working conditions for childcare staff.

We want a coordinated and integrated system of services, including licensed full and part-time group and family child care, parent-child drop-in centres, nursery schools, resource and toylending libraries and other childcare supports for children and their parents.

If you want to see the danger of accepting research such as Professor Prentice's without question, take a look at some quotes from an April 6th Winnipeg article
Day care use on the rise
Pros preferred over relatives

Susan Prentice, spokeswoman for the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba and a professor at the University of Manitoba, said there's still a large unmet demand for quality day-care spots in the province.

"Most of the time when parents have real choice, they choose to use child care by trained professionals in a reliable, licensed child-care setting," said Prentice, noting the province still only has enough day-care spots for one in seven children.

There are about 26,000 licensed day-care spots in Manitoba. Prentice said the waiting list to get one of those spots exceeds the number of children currently in day care.

"We've got a long way to go," she said.

I'm sure if questioned, Professor Prentice would cite her recent research as qualification for her comments. Here's the original press release for that research, posted where else but the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba. One thing you never see in some of these stories is the 'background' noted at the bottom of the release:
BACKGROUND: 27 of Winnipeg’s 321 facilities (8.4 percent of the total) refused to answer questions about their wait lists. Centres were contacted between February 27 and March 3. The survey was not able to identify if any names were on more than one waiting list. Licensed family child care homes were not included in the study
I guess "licensed family child care homes" don't qualify as "child care by trained professionals in a reliable, licensed child-care setting".

Just to round things off from Winnipeg we have the report that the Province is looking to pay ex-childcare workers a $3,000 dollar bonus to lure them back into the industry. With the Province looking to fill 200 spots - that's $600,000 dollars for recruiting.
Wooed back to day care
Bonus for ex-workers

The province is hoping to fill about 200 vacant positions.

Last July, a significant increase in funding was promised to the child-care workforce to improve wages for child-care workers.

The minimum starting salary for early childhood educators was increased and now falls between $27,000 to $30,000 per year, the province confirmed.

Much of the money to support the increased wages was to flow from Ottawa, but this year's change in government in Ottawa has put future funding commitments in a state of flux.

Paul Synnott at 9:00 AM    | en francais | Go to Top|


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