You Can End this Folly, Governor Northam!

Children at the Virginia Tech Graduate School Child Play Group

At the Annandale Cooperative Preschool, parents volunteer three to six hours a month to serve as teachers and class assistants. One big benefit is the pleasure of watching their toddlers mature. Another is more affordable tuition.

Now comes a proposal from the Virginia Department of Social Services that would require school staff, including the parent volunteers, to take up to 30 hours of training. The purpose of the requirement is to align preschool standards with federal requirements for providers receiving money under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. Here’s the kicker: Cooperative preschools don’t receive block-grant funds.

Reports the Washington Post:

Parents and school directors say the training commitment would be disproportionate to the amount of time parents spend helping in classrooms, which administrators said equals about three to six hours a month.

Working families would be hard-pressed to find time to complete the training, said Marie Sloane, director of education at the Annandale school.

Without enough parents, the school would have to hire four assistant teachers for part-time slots that Sloane said are already difficult to fill — nearly doubling her six-teacher staff and probably increasing tuition. Cooperative preschools, she said, generally cost less than comparable schools because of parental participation. Monthly tuition at the Annandale Cooperative Preschool ranges from $233 to $416.

Bacon’s bottom line: What madness is this? There is a shortage of daycare workers and daycare facilities in Virginia, and even when the service is available, paying for it is financially burdensome for many families. Cooperatives that tap the volunteer labor of parents are a fantastic way to make daycare more affordable.

Regulators want to regulate. Bureaucrats want to expand their power. To borrow a phrase from GEICO, that’s what they do. Once in a while, when public safety and health is at stake, regulations are justified. But this is not one of those instances. There are 35 to 40 cooperative preschools in Virginia, a type of collaborative that has existed for at least 70 years. Parents undergo background checks and must meet health requirements, including tuberculosis testing. Social Services has proffered no evidence whatsoever that the children in these cooperatives are at any additional risk. What possible benefit can come from this?

Does Ralph Northam want to be known as the governor who presided over the demise of cooperative daycare in Virginia? Does he approve of the relentless advance of the administrative state into every sphere of our lives? I can’t imagine that he does. He needs to shut down this initiative right now.

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7 responses to “You Can End this Folly, Governor Northam!

  1. Contact the Institute for Justice in Arlington. They fight this kind of nonsense.

  2. Bleaaugggh! [get a mop]

  3. Need to understand what the training is for and why we’re seeing more of this. see more of this nowadays with a lot of volunteer jobs turns out people need to understand how the job is supposed to be done there are ethics and there are background checks that need to be done

  4. HAs anybody seen or heard from Gov Northam in the past few months? Somebody needs to check that private Caribbean island that Tim Kaine used to frequent. Maybe Ralphie is down there.

  5. My wife had to do some training, perhaps 2 hours, to volunteer in a nearby public school (and she has 39 years in the classroom, her license is still valid and she has a teaching master’s degree.) I think some level of training might be reasonable, but that is plainly intended as a barrier to volunteers designed to force the hiring of more paid personnel. With some encouragement I suspect DSS can be persuaded to reconsider at least for the programs outside the grant umbrella. Worth a try.

  6. From the WP article:

    “A spokeswoman for the agency said the proposed updates were drawn to align standards in the state with federal requirements for providers receiving money from the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014.

    But cooperative preschools don’t receive block grant money, said Nancy Renner, incoming president of the Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council. Lovelace did not respond immediately to a request for comment about Renner’s assertion.”

    Seems like all of them are outside the grant umbrella…?

  7. In this day and time – if a school of any flavor or any entity handles kids… does not do a background check and insure that the volunteers know how to properly deal with kids – they are wide open for a disaster.

    Even the Episcopal Church now requires background checks and training for anyone who volunteers to handle kids. It’s not only to protect the kids, it’s to protect the caretakers One accusation that a volunteer did something improper with a child – can lead to a criminal charge against them that actually stems from a child being abused by a family member or someone else.

    We hate to think that it has come to this – but folks, it has – that’s a reality and we have to deal with it. It would be grossly irresponsible for the State or other similar agency to not have a process – to ensure that both the kids and their caretakers cannot be harmed.

    And if you think this is bad – check the news items about elder care and abuse.

    Unfortunately – this is “who” – “we” are – collectively .. many good folks ..some not so good and a few that should never been allowed to volunteer in the first place.

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