By ARPA Canada (www.ARPACanada.ca):
BC independent schools are once again facing the reality that partial government funding comes with strings attached. Although not confirmed, indications from the government so far are that the province’s independent schools have to go along with the move to make kindergarten full time in 2011 or loose their partial funding for kindergarten students. A conversation with a BC Ministry of Education spokesperson also affirmed that the province is considering taking this a step further and extending it to four-year-olds down the road.
Parents are right to be concerned about these developments. The push toward these so-called “early-learning” programs comes in part from special interest groups and labour unions who don’t seem to have the children’s best interests in mind. Getting more mothers into the workforce and increasing the student population in the wake of a declining birth rate seem to be the driving forces behind this push. It is one thing for a family to choose to send their child to a full-day kindergarten or to preschool based on what they believe is best for their child. It is another for provinces to spend hundreds of millions on early-learning programs that seem to be driven by ideologies that are more concerned about getting women into the workforce then promoting family stability and the health of the child.
It should be noted that kindergarten remains completely optional. Nobody has to send their children and schools don’t have to provide it. But this latest push from the provincial government means that if schools want to provide kindergarten education and continue getting a government subsidy, it has to be full time, starting next year. Will schools follow the funding or will they move in the direction of Ontario, where independent schools receive no government funds?
There is still time to express your concerns to the Minister of Education. Click here for her contact information. Click here for some helpful articles on this topic and click here for a quality article from BV ARPA.