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Free DayCare For Poor In Works
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Post Free DayCare For Poor In Works 
http://www.startribune.com/587/story/970596.html

Both MN DFLers and Gov Pawlenty are proposing allowances for free preschool programs for needy families in 2007.

This is perplexing. Clearly behavior in inner city schools points out a desperate need to socialize children from chaotic homes in order to prepare them for formal education. But considering that the human race has managed to live and learn for millenea without pre-school programs, what need are they filling that functional families could never handle before in our history? It appears that the state is taking one more step to relieve the parental duties of people who take no responsibility for their lives as it is- and billing the taxpayer for it.

And as an added bonus, the program manages to line the pockets of daycare providers. Sharon Henry Blythe of the Minneapolis School Board is on the board of directors of Ready4K, the lobbying group that is pushing this legislation. She is also the past president of a daycare provider's organization. Obviously she had enough foresight to realize that a fortune could be made by mandating tax supported preschool programs, and got in on the ground floor of this lucrative growth industry. Can you say "Poverty Pimp", kids?

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Post Re: Free DayCare For Poor In Works 
thrice wrote:
mandating tax supported preschool programs,


OK, I haven't read the article yet, but it sounds from your post like they are providing "free preschool for needy families" as an option, not mandating that everyone's children go to the same tax-supported programs.

As for what purpose this might serve, I can think of a couple right off the bat:

1) Your previously stated goal of socializing young children from poor families in a healthy, constructive, developmentally-oriented environment. We ALL win when kids begin their growth and development in a healthy environment.

2) Taking care of the problem of ever more expensive daycare, so that poverty-level parents can safely go to work, trusting their children are being looked after, and be the "contributing members of society" that conservatives like to talk about.


And now I'll actually read the article. Wink

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I've read it now. I think it sounds like a fabulous plan, in which everyone wins.

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Dora-
I'm not suggesting that the plan mandates daycare. I'm pointing out that it mandates the taxpayer to pay for it.

I agree that there is much public benefit to assisting low income WORKING parents in meeting daycare costs- even though we already do that on both the state and federal level through generous tax credits. It is one of many ways that low income workers receive "in lieu of cash" benefits that significantly but quietly raise their effective income. Giving people tax refunds and other benefits is an effective way of assisting them financially, but unfortunately the rest of the public is not aware of those many benefits and are deceived into thinking they are living at a much lower economic level than they are.

My major problem with the daycare/preschool program is the manner in which it was lobbied for and who it benefits. What would you think of a free public clinic program lobbied for and created by the Commissioner of Health, if you found out that the Commissioner personally owned the clinics and would be receiving the tax dollars? What would you think of a city councilmember that pushed for a major road repair initiative- to be performed by their own private road repair company? That's exactly what we have here. Sharon Henry Blythe was the head of a daycare provider's association, and sits on the board of Ready4K, who were the main lobbying group on this legislation. It's clear from their website that they want to incorporate free preschool into the overall educational structure. What blows me away is the certainty that a) this lobbying is doubtless being done on time and resources paid for by the taxpayers of the Minneapolis School District, and b) SHB stands to make a personal fortune from the pre-existing businesses in the inner city that will be the primary beneficiaries of this taxpayer funded windfall, and c) that windfall will only get larger as such programs expand.

Guess the major point is that most units of government have strict rules banning public officials from lobbying and doing business with government that results in personal profiteering- particularly on public work time. Apparently those ethical rules don't apply to Minneapolis School Board members. It would be fascinating to peel back the onion and find out how many other "concerned individuals" plan to line their own pockets with this and other "public good" programs.

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Post Through the looking glass 
Quote:

My major problem with the daycare/preschool program is the manner in which it was lobbied for and who it benefits. What would you think of a free public clinic program lobbied for and created by the Commissioner of Health, if you found out that the Commissioner personally owned the clinics and would be receiving the tax dollars? What would you think of a city councilmember that pushed for a major road repair initiative- to be performed by their own private road repair company? That's exactly what we have here. Sharon Henry Blythe was the head of a daycare provider's association, and sits on the board of Ready4K, who were the main lobbying group on this legislation. It's clear from their website that they want to incorporate free preschool into the overall educational structure. What blows me away is the certainty that a) this lobbying is doubtless being done on time and resources paid for by the taxpayers of the Minneapolis School District, and b) SHB stands to make a personal fortune from the pre-existing businesses in the inner city that will be the primary beneficiaries of this taxpayer funded windfall, and c) that windfall will only get larger as such programs expand.


How does SHB parlay being a boardmember of a non-profit and her past position as head of a daycare providers' association into personal riches if the non-profit is successful, and how is that "exactly" like your examples?

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Post Priorities in Daycare 
So do you have an alternative plan to make sure that low income parents have access to safe and accredited daycare that doesn't set them further behind financially than if they did not work at all?

I've noticed a lot of concern over who will benefit from tax dollars, but little comment about;

1) how expensive daycare has become in relation to low paying jobs
2) how hard good, safe daycare can be to find in some neighborhoods
3) the haphzards of leaving children with "friends" or unlicensed daycare providers


Does anyone have suggestions on how to solve the problem?

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Well, LadyM, just to qualify things a bit...the major concern I expressed was that a highly paid elected public official is working to lobby the legislature for a program that provides substantial personal financial gain to her. That would be a rather large legal and ethical concern in most circles. In fact, it would be blatantly illegal in most offices.

As for the proposed measure, it is referred to as an "early childhood education program", and there is no reference as to the employment status of the parents. Under those circumstances, it would appear to allow unemployed parents on public assistance to put their children in the program as well.

As to the cost of daycare- yes, it is frankly ridiculous, in my opinion. My ideal solution would be to combine a core of professionals with two other sources of low cost employees: university students in social work programs seeking work-study opportunities, and screened public assistance recipients seeking job training. Those large pools of potential employees would allow expansion of affordable daycare in urban areas geometrically, and there are plenty of non profit community centers that could provide them free space to operate them.

As for overall affordability, yes, it's a problem. I will try to work out a hypothetical simple tax return for a $25,000 income married couple with two daycare age children, and generate the numbers for the amount of state and federal assistance they will receive to defray those expenses for the 2006 tax year- under existing tax law. In just a quick glance, it appears that the couple would get about 60% of their daycare costs refunded to them in childcare tax credits, which are only available up to the $35,000 income level. The federal credit can completely wipe out tax liability, and the state is "fully refundable"- in other words, cash in hand as an additional refund. In just a superficial look at the tax credits and rebates available to a low income worker with children, nearly none should pay any taxes at all, and most should at least get a few thousand back to them in addition to full refund of everything they have paid in. It does not make a low income job any easier, but it's one helluva better deal than you get.

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Post Daycare and tax refunds 
but...just to play devil's advocate...a tax refund does not help at the time the money needs to be paid. I worked with a single mom making $24000/yr. She lived with her parents to save money on rent, drove an older car, but in the end, between groceries, health insurance, car insurance, daycare and paying off student loans she was in the red. I know she didn't spend money on luxuries or nightlife.

Tax credits work great at tax time, and if you have all your bills paid off, but on a "day to day" budget basis, they don't do that much for individuals unless they have the option to set that money aside in a savings account for the following year's expenses. And most people don't have the mindset and financial literacy to realize that a big tax refund is also a bad thing...but that's another topic entirely. Very Happy

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Post Perfect Example 
"Bridging Gaps Early On in Oklahoma"


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/07/education/07leonhardt.html?ex=1171515600&en=9f54ca3f22c2c8a2&ei=5070

"James J. Heckman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Chicago, even argues that spending on preschool ultimately pays for itself. Early childhood education is so important that it makes workers more productive and reduces crime. No other form of education spending, certainly not the college financial-aid package passed recently by the House of Representatives, brings nearly the same bang for the buck."

This is a great story of how everybody benefits, tax-payers as well as low income families.

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