Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stamping on the fingers of the poor

I've snarked before that National thinks that ECE is about babysitting, rather than education. Anyone looking for a graphic demonstration of this only has to look at their funding priorities: while they're slashing $100 million a year in subsidies for centres with highly qualified staff, and instead channeling that money into playgroups:

“The $91.8 million made available in Budget 2010 will see an extra 3500 children gain access to ECE in areas of the highest need.

“This includes five intensive community-led projects, starting in Waitakere and Northland in October 2010, with three other areas to be announced next year.”


The new programmes in Waitakere and Northland will build on the experience of the Counties Manukau participation project, which has placed hundreds of extra children into new, quality ECE services. It involves building new services and funding supported playgroups, street side playgroups and play days in local communities, to attract families into ECE.

As Labour says, playgroups have their place - but they're not education, and they won't help eliminate inequality and disadvantage, or result in the enormous benefits (better health, higher educational achievement, higher wages and less crime) that flow from high-quality ECE. but National doesn't care about that. Instead, like their welfare policies, this is aimed at entrenching disadvantage, not eliminating it. The government of the rich is stamping on the fingers of those who are trying to climb the ladder of opportunity. And that is simply immoral.