Doing the shopping with two children in tow is usually a challenge in itself but if I add increasing inflation I can see bumpy times ahead. What is of more concern is what is going to happen to good early childhood education. I’ve been talking to a couple of parents and so far all are of the view that any tax cut they receive will quickly be eaten up by rising fees. Why am I concerned? According to the NZEI:
Overall the Budget threatens to dumb down the early childhood by punishing the services most committed to improving quality. The $280 million removed from funding for centres with 80% or more qualified teachers will mean centres will have to absorb an extra cost of around $1.50 an hour per child, or pass it on to the parents of young children. This decision will impact 92,000 children in 2000 ECE centres.
It’s important to understand the difference between child-care and early childhood education. As a working parent, knowing my children are getting the best possible care while I am away makes a real difference. As the NZEI point out:
NZEI says recognising primary teacher qualifications for ECE is an acknowledgement that ‘a teacher is a teacher is a teacher”.
I was horrified to read this from the NZ Childcare Association:
The removal of the top two early childhood education funding bands for services with 80 -100% qualified teachers in today’s budget is a brutal blow to children and families says NZ Childcare Association Chief Executive Nancy Bell. ‘The announcement in today’s budget of 5-13% decreases in early childhood funding affects more than 2 000 teacher-led ECE services enrolling around 93,000 children. This affects two-thirds of all teacher-led services.’
This shouldn’t just be for the people who can afford to pay more by investing in good early childhood education now we all benefit tomorrow.