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Self-serving Early Childhood Options luncheon

From the 10/3/10 Summit Daily News, let’s take a rundown of the self-serving presentation by Dr. Richard N. Brandon of the Human Services Policy Center at U of W.

First, “…the importance of having it growing and healthy because of its interactions with the rest of the economy”. Can someone tell me what sector of our economy is unimportant because it does not interact with the rest of the economy?

Second, “…make 31 percent less money…means the candidates for these positions will become less and less qualified unless wages…increase”. Wow! Good thing Mr. B. is not an economist. Does he understand the laws of supply and demand? Is he aware of the alternative’s that are available to parents like Gma/Gpa, friends, or mom/dad staying home with the kiddos? Given the country’s unemployment situation, this is more likely the option chosen by many families. Is he aware that middle class incomes have declined over the past 10+ years and that at some price point (ie wages), the service is too expensive and demand for such services will decline thus lowering wages back to equilibrium?

Third, “offered a combination of solutions including increasing early childhood staff qualifications, pay for performance….raising venture capital…”. Those are bold suggestions. So the “solution” to low pay is to increase qualifications. This must mean he’s in favor of making it more difficult to fill open positions thereby increasing wages for the remaining child care workers. Does “pay for performance” mean that if the child care worker gets paid more if they feed the kids on time or make sure the kids are in a good mood when mommy/daddy comes to get them? I mean really. Finally, I’m sure there are a lot of VC’s just dying to get in on the money to be made funding childhood education centers!

Per Lucinda Burns, executive director of Early Childhood Options in Summit County, “the timing of his presentation could not have been better”. Not really sure what this means but perhaps something bold and realistic would have been more appropriate. Like, “Increasing wages in the early childhood sector is not realistic given the economic climate faced by low/middle class families.”