LOG CABIN CHRONICLES

Single-parenting, early education
Posted 6.17.21
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | We are learning more than expected from the pandemic -- from scientific insights to generalizations about well-being and good mental health. As we slog through levels of lockdown, mental health problems seem only to grow. Our kids, for example, feel isolated and stressed, struggling to focus on their on-line lessons.

We're also viewing how interconnected and inter-dependent we all are. The lone-wolf ideal of older days is failing us, as Covid-19 demands more community-mindedness from everyone.

Add to this our newfound appreciation for frontline heath care, for the medical profession as a whole, and for "essential workers" of all types. We show our appreciation with auto-parades through town celebrating these folks, posters in windows, mandatory appreciation-gestures in every political speech or announcement. But there's a big exception.

The exception is a career on the "essential" list, a career that is unsupported in any formal way, and a career that is a guaranteed money-pit: single parents.

These are largely, but not entirely, mothers; in the best of circumstances, mothers earn less, have fewer options and routes of advancement -- but generate most of the home economy and provide most of the chores and child-care.

This is an editorial topic because we soon will be facing elections. Municipal are this fall, then come provincial ... plus federal. Each jurisdiction has huge responsibilities/opportunities in most facets of childcare and early education.

Recognizing the value of healthy and educated future neighbours, we have to rouse ourselves to, first, make early education & child care an issue in each election cycle and, second, insist on measurable results, not just more promises.

The federal Liberals promised $30 billion for national child care this spring! So far it's one more promise, stacked up on the woodpile of promises we have from our politicians.

We can't by-pass child care, early education -- and single-parent support. A recent OCED study found Canada down at Number 19 on the "Raising a Family Index".

We voters have a duty to insist on actions, actual targets and time-frames, and all of it publicly audited. Even in municipal and provincial elections, shouldn't we insist on upgrading early-childhood education: providing credentials, systematic training with local cultural guidelines?

Nations above Number 19 put child-care into their education system, not in heath/family, most guarantee a place for every child who wants one (not mandatory under age 6) -- so can't our municipalities license more daycares? (Avoiding more bureaucracy, please!)

Educating our kids asks for a well-thought-out, common curriculum -- plus incentivized training for all new parents. It asks that child-care workers and care-givers be even better trained -- and better paid.

Mental health resources, real help for single-parent families ... our kids and future generations deserve every improvement we make to all these services.

Write out your own priorities and us that list to guide your vote -- starting this November.

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Copyright © 2021 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles 6.17.21