ELP in 900 more schools McGuinty’s gift to teachers’ unions!

Ontario has a huge $18+ BILLION dollar deficit and is now a “HAVE-NOT” province. Yet, you would never guess it given the decisions coming out of the McGuinty Liberal government. Yesterday, for example, we found out that the full-day “Early Learning Program” (ELP) for four and five-year olds that was rolled out last September in selected schools, would add another 900 schools in September 2011. I will repeat that. 

NINE HUNDRED more schools!

So, how many more early childhood and elementary school teachers do you think will  be needed to staff ELP programs in 900 more schools —  which by the way are scheduled to start exactly one month before the 2011 Ontario election? Even if there were only one extra classroom in each of those 900 schools, there would need to be at least one qualified teacher and one “Early Childhood Educator.” Meaning, we are looking at the public school boards in Ontario hiring upwards to 1800 more employees, at a very minimum!

So, if the first part of the program involved $1.5 billion, then we are likely looking at another similar amount, in spite of the many problems being experienced now. For instance:

  • We know that some communities don’t want the program; 
  • We also know that some communities are experiencing conflicts and logistics problems between existing non-profit and private day care operators and the before and after day care programs — which is why McGuinty gave up on that idea;
  • Then, there are dozens of infrastructure-related problems, such as no capital funding to build more classrooms or to increase parking spaces for the increased numbers of teachers and parents at existing schools.
  • And, of course, there really isn’t any parent choice, other than send your child for a full-day or keep them at home until they are six years old.

So, what does it all mean? Well, Premier Dalton McGuinty and the McGuinty caucus are hoping that young parents will suddenly forget how high their hydro bills are and that all the wasted money on wind farms and green energy boondoggles will be forgotten. They also likely hope that the teachers’ unions and their members will support the Liberals for all the largess they are going to receive on behalf of the Ontario taxpayer.

Well, I don’t think so! There is an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. In other words, we will not be fooled a third time.

Will the Ontario PCs and its leader Tim Hudak cancel the ELP? Not likely.  As PC MPP Jim Wilson says in this CTV article, they simply would not expand it any further.  Why would they not cancel it? First of all, because some kids in some communities will benefit from a head start.  Secondly, because no one is going to take away a program young parents have gotten used to and for the most part, like.

However, will the extension of the ELP into 900 more schools be a gift to the teachers’ unions? Absolutely!

19 thoughts on “ELP in 900 more schools McGuinty’s gift to teachers’ unions!

  1. I think this was pretty much a given from the very beginning!

    No sooner had Charles Pascal released his model of how the ELP should look than the teacher unions started claiming that while they agreed with the plan he messed up the staffing aspect.

    What does annoy me is that just about nobody in the media aksed him why he tossed aside what the creator of the plan proposed as the best model in favour of one bound to costt more, put fewer trained educators in the system and shortchange various other parts of the plan.

    Spending hundreds of millions, if not billions, simply to placate the teacher unions is something that cries out for public scrutiny.

    As an added bonus he now lectures public employees on the need for fiscal restraint.


  2. And McGuinty said that vouchers or a tax break for parents who choose to send their kids to a private, faith-based school would take money away from the public school system. This “man” can’t be gotten rid of soon enough. Who knows what kind of damage he can yet do before the fall.


  3. More and more studies every year demonstrate that ECE and ELP are the way to go to improve educational results.

    Yes I favour:

    Give it to the poor first.
    Boards that don’t want the free money don’t have to take it but they cannot have it for other purposes. They would need to pass a motion that said “We here at XDSB don’t want the money or the JK.” No problem.
    Most kids are FAR better off socializing in high quality child care with other children than they are with their own parents.

    More and more studies prove this point every year. The program is, overall, very popular which is why Hudak will not touch it. He will, in fact slowly epand it to all communities. If he does not promise to do this, he will lose the election for sure.


  4. Vouchers or tax breaks given to parents who don’t use the public system would also require less resources of the public system which, we’re told, is hardpressed to meet its obligations anyway.

    Put another way there’d be fewer kids for the public system to accomodate so it’d be a bit of a wash.

    I suspect part of the problem is a real unwillingness on the part of the public system to adjust itself to accomodate fewer kids.


  5. “Free money”? Actually there’s nothing free about it, rather its been taken from taxpayers to pay for a program even McGuinty can’t cost out.

    As to whether kids are better off with strangers than their own parents that sounds more a justification at social engineering than reality.

    As to improving “educational results” not long ago we were told reducing poverty was the main issue in improving outcomes.

    If ECE and ELP are a top priority then the answer is simple; redeploy spending in school budgets to those areas.


  6. You live in a dream world Doug. Putting a freeze on the ELP will actually help the PCs to win the next election. Particularly, as long as every public board has a choice of schools where parents can access the full-day program. Kids don’t learn as much with their parents? What an absolutely disgusting thing to say — like day cares do a better job of bringing up their kids. Surely, you are kidding. But, I rather doubt it. Yes, my kids went to day care and kindergarten all day. But, I know other kids who spent more time at home with stay-at-home parents. That is what feminism is supposed to be about. Not one way, but giving women a choice as to what they want to do — full-time homemaker or a career woman. I came of age in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. It is as though we have gone from one extreme to another.

    So, “if he [Hudak] does not promise to do this, he will lose the election for sure?” Not going to happen because there is much more at stake in this year’s election than education — much more and you know it. Health taxes, the HST, Eco taxes, e-Health boondoggles, Green energy boondoggles, wind farm boondoggles, major increases in hydro rates, over-spending by local health networks, and on and on and on.

    Doug, on October 7th, 2011 there will be a Progressive Conservative government in Ontario and Tim Hudak will be the Premier. Mark that date! The transition will be two weeks after that. I can hardly wait!!!


  7. Re the PMB to levy taxes at the local level again, I will write about that in the late summer closer to the October 6th election date. People will forget if we do it too early. And, therein lies the problem with the PCs. The McGuinty Liberals want to be able to hammer away at something like the FB funding issue. Well, they are not going to get it this time because they are going to have to start defending their eight year record of spending, tax increases and green energy boondoggles.


  8. To John.

    There have been a number of state wide votes on the voucher system in the USA. The voucher system has not won one yet and they are usually voted down in conservative states.

    If in some way Mr Hudak were to win an election, (he better get a majority or he will not be allowed to govern) then he would really have two choices.

    1) Not do much in education. He has already said “no Wisconsin needed here” and “we will keep the ELP and just review it”, weasel words.

    2) He does try to do something serious in education like Harris in which case we are back to the school wars. We have not really recovered from the last time.

    Yes, I have never met a child or family where I did not feel that the child would be better off in good ECE at toilet training than a home with a parent or parents. I’m with Maria Montessori, get those kids into organized education as soon as possible to take full advantage of the sponge like mind of the very young child. The years from 2-5 are far to precious to waste at home when they could be learning.


  9. Doug — And you don’t think kids are learning at home? That’s ridiculous. I was at home until aged 5 and still managed to do very well in life as did my brother. My mother took us on trips (during the war) and the museum regularly. In fact, I did so well at home that I went from SK to Grade 2 in one year! Give me a break.


  10. Actually, Doug, I know it is aging me to say so, but I was at the end of Grade one, after starting the year in SK, the day WWII ended. We were on the yard at recess and the principal was at the upper floor window. “Children, children, go home. The war is over.” And, at that point people were running out their houses and running into the school yard. I met my mother half way home. Everyone was crying. So, yes, none of us had “Montissori or day care” and we all did very well, thank you very much by experiencing real life and paving the way for you baby boomers.


  11. Oh, and Doug, while I’m at it, I would remind you that during the second world war, everyone was poor and deprived, with little vegetables or milk, because they were rationed. And, yes, most of the fathers were gone away so we all had single mothers, some who worked in war plants like mine did. It was our grandparents who took care of us, or neighbours.

    I’m getting really sick and tired of the anti-family views that you are spouting because it is insulting for those of us who made it possible for you to spout such nonsense. Poor has nothing to do with attitude and motivation and the ability to learn new and wonderful things. Being loved and cared for is, in fact, a far better foundation, than having someone else bring us up — if that is what parents choose to do. Choice means parents have more than one choice. To say otherwise is pure progressive political correct B.S.


  12. You would all have done even better if you were in quality government run child care. Sandy, most schools in Toronto had child care during WW2 so that the women could work in the factories. The women fought like heck to keep them after the war but the men dismantled them so that women would be forced home and men could have the jobs.

    Take the very best family situation you can possibly think of. Child care is better for the child than that situation. They have the resources, the training, the program and most of all the other kids so that children can learn to socialize.

    The program is very popular as you can see like medicare. Hudak would be committing suicide to cancell it and guess what? He knows that. The most that will happenis that he will slow the growth of it across Ontario.


  13. Here’s a novel idea….DON’T have kids if your first instinct is how the Govt can raise them for you.

    Governments should be there to fill cracks and assist families, NOT be the head of the household.


  14. My kids are in their 40’s now, I have grandchildren in their teens.
    There are school closures all over Canada.
    Full time baysitting service is what I see here, didn’t ask for it, don’t need it.
    Just another progressive money sucking taxhole.
    Gee would I be being somewhat cynical saying the primary beneficary would be the teachers Union, and of course the Politicans giving away that “free” money.
    I would further say that getting the little ones under the influence of the Teachers sooner is not in their or our best interest. Mom always knew best, don’t mess with Mom.


  15. Appreciate the comments from Bubba and Bec. It is true. I had never thought of it quite that way. Why would anyone want children if it is expected of them that they give them up to the state when they are still in diapers. Doug has actually made that suggestion before, that toddlers should be sent to pre-school ASAP. Of course, he is a union man and it does make sense if all you are worried about are teacher jobs. I mean, to the point, where there is the argument that ECE are not as well trained as “qualified teachers.” Which is bull because I taught them both. The ECE folks are the ones who are better trained to teach and supervise pre-aged 6 children (unless the teacher also has ECE training, which some do).


  16. It makes Doug’s argument ripe with that sense of union entitlement speak that’s got many an Ontarian fuming these days.

    The Moira McD. column simple lays proof to the sentiments we’ve heard many times that the ELP was and is an idea parceled and regifted to appease the urban parent and snag McGuinty some votes.

    I’m betting that Ontarians see past the hype again send Dalton packing because parents believe themselves to be their child’s true care-giver and first teacher of many things.


  17. Then why not cancel the ELP sandy? Hudak has the polling numbers that says that option is Faith Based schools all over again. Over 60% of the population wants the program and Hudak knows that. He is caught between PC activists who say “you must kill the ELP” and an electorate that says “if you kill the ELP you will go down with it.” Hudak knows this. PC activists are putting TH in a position where he cannot win.


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