April 11, 2014 Print
    

Parents Needed for DEL Brainstorming

Are you a parent with children receiving services from a day care or early learning provider? The Department of Early Learning (DEL) is seeking input from parents and providers at a brainstorming session on the evening of April 21 and part of the day April 22. It looks like they would pay for accommodations and perhaps travel for those outside of the Puget Sound area.

This opportunity is important for two reasons.

First, because free-market values are rarely reflected in these government advisory groups. Most people who get excited to participate in a government talk-session are unsurprisingly pro-government. The discussions are often dominated by those who are glad to rely on government programs and frequently by residents of just a few of the largest cities. You can see in the chart below the damaging impact DEL has had on areas outside of King County.

Second, I am growing more and more alarmed by the direction of the DEL. Their regulatory squeeze on providers of services for young children is getting almost Orwellian. 

I've heard from more than a few providers who have first-hand accounts of private businesses (who receive no public funds) being told who they may and may not hire as their executive director, required to change the pictures on their walls, ordered to have musical instruments visible to infants, and generally harassed on a host of subjective values capriciously enforced. 

The result is that our widely diverse child care and pre-school sector is being pressed into the mold of state orthodoxy with a few bureaucrats deciding what is "best" for children. After just a few years of DEL efforts, they have significantly decreased the number of providers, decreased the number of slots available, increased the price, and decreased the diversity of options for families. (Source: Child Care Aware 2013 Data Report pages 14-17, 21-22)

In other words, they are making it more like a government-run monopoly.

So if you are affected by the nature of state regulations on early childhood services, consider joining DEL's advisory group.

Get the rest of the information about how to participate here.

Author

Jami Lund

Senior Policy Analyst

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