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More data needed on full-day learning

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Author: 
Marchese, Rosario
Publication Date: 
17 Apr 2010
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Full-day learning is set to be implemented in Ontario starting this
September. But even at this late date, we have almost no information on
how exactly this will happen.

This is a significant problem. Parents are already enrolling
their children in full-day kindergarten and expecting to enroll in
before and after-school programs. But they don't know how those
programs will be offered, or what they will cost. They don't know if
they will need to find care during summer holidays, or if the school
will provide that, as daycares do currently. They don't even know basic
things like how (or even if ) their children will be fed during the
school day.

Meanwhile, school boards have already signalled that they will
likely have to cut from other programs in order to bring in all-day
kindergarten.

And day care operators are warning that without transitional
funding to compensate for the loss of four-and five-year-olds, they
will be forced to cut spaces or raise fees -- neither of which parents
can afford.

Questions about the particulars of Bill 242 were raised in
committee hearings on the bill last Monday, by me and by others, but it
was clear the government members in committee felt these details were
more of a nuisance than a priority.

They repeated the same answer to almost all the questions, which
is that the questions were inappropriate, and clarity would come later
in the regulations.

But when pressed as to when the regulations would be defined, they were unable to provide a timeframe.

Instead of answering the questions, the government decided to
retreat into a calculated non-reply that absolves them of all
accountability, saying only it had full confidence in the school boards
to make the right decisions.

...

Having some clarity around how such a massive new program will
be implemented is not a triviality to be dealt with at some later point.

The new school year is less than five months away. Parents need answers now.

- reprinted from The Observer

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Entered Date: 
21 Apr 2010
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