You may recall my recent blog posting about a struggle that some parents in PEI are having with the the current kindergarten funding policy. I also wrote about this issue this past summer. Well it would seem that this issue is still not resolved; even after a recent meeting with the Premier and key Education officials this group of parents are still waiting for a workable solution to the situation.
April Ennis provides an update here:
So, some of you may have been wondering how the meeting on October 1, 2008 went with the Premier. I had been told that the Deputy Minister of Education would be attending alongside of the Premier, but we were surprised to also see Education Minister Gerald Greenan and Carolyn Simpson, Provincial Kindergarten Administrator in attendance. I sat quietly and patiently in the lobby while six concerned parents attended on behalf of our group. The meeting took approximately 30 minutes and no commitments were made by government in response to our letter that was sent on August 26, 2008. (Over six weeks ago.)
Each parent explained their own personal reasons for choosing CHANCES for their kindergarten program, and how their child would be impacted if they had decided to move their child.
It was noted by government that there was an active human rights complaint regarding Kindergarten (The one I filed back in March 2008 on behalf of my son Brandon) and that they would see what was taking place with it before making a decision regarding our group request.
My question is: Why is the Premier waiting for the human rights complaint to play out? Is waiting in the best interest of the children and families? I know my own family could use the $476 to date to put food on our table, gas in our car or heat our home. Kindergarten funding should follow a child and not be tied to the child care centre. This takes away parental choice, and the current kindergarten funding policy does not have any legislative backing. It is pretty clear to us……what is taking the Government so long to do what is right in the best interests of our children?
The parents exited the meeting satisfied by the way the discussion played out even though no promises were made. No follow-up date was given by Government, and we are awaiting a formal response so I emailed the Premier’s Office last week to ask when we can expect a decision to be made. No feedback on the email so I will keep you all posted as the story progresses.
I wonder how long these parents will have to wait? It is now mid October and these families are continuing to have to pay out of pocket every month for their children to attend this quality Kindergarten program. Why does this seem to be yet another example of government bureaucracy and policy getting in the way of the best interests of PEI children and their families?
Can someone please tell me this…when will PEI start putting the needs of CHILDREN before government policies and key stakeholder groups? Quite frankly, this Kindergarten funding issue is only the tip of the iceberg. It is time that PEI children and families were put first through the development of a broad based early childhood development strategy.