The Ontario Provincial Government is hinting at big changes to junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten. The programs will stay the same for the next school year but after that is unknown.
The changes to autism funding include stopping funds presently going directly to organizations like Kidsability (3 million) and instead giving the money directly to parents.
What does this have to do with junior and senior kindergarten? Childcare research shows that direct funding to daycares, rather than tax credits and funding to parents, works best. Especially in provinces like Quebec where parents pay a token amount of fees.
Junior and Senior kindergarten have worked well in Ontario, increasing children’s social skills and academic skills. Parents, particularly women, are able to increase family income by being in the work force.
Why change something that isn’t broken? A cost of 1.5 billion is used as an excuse but it must also be noted that public education is also expensive. Most of us would think it is worth the dollars.
So back to parents receiving funding to use as they feel best. This is a method long loved by those who home school or send their children to private, charter or religious schools. This type of finding starves an excellent system of direct funding. Will most children go to the classrooms already set up in their neighbourhood? Probably. Now the public school secretary or some bureaucrat is going to have to charge parents for what is now free. That charge will include money coming directly from the parental pocket, over and above the taxes they pay.
For those who can afford to send their children to private school, this will be a boon, but it will be a disaster for our public school system. I sincerely hope this is not what the Ford government is thinking of doing.