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Op Ed: Child care on your nickel

  • Thursday, February 20, 2014

Common Core has been at the forefront of our local and state news recently, and by now you have probably formed an opinion as to whether or not it is a good thing. My only comment is that it possesses some strong similarities to the Hitler Youth programs that were most prevalent in Germany during the 1930s and into the 1940s. If you think this to be far-fetched, you havenít done your homework.

My more immediate concern is the Pre-School program that has been implemented in the Georgetown County School System. If you were not already aware of it, and if you pay any type of state or county taxes, the majority of the local revenue goes to the school system. A portion of that money, coming back from the state, is being used to fund the Pre-School program. I donít pretend to be an educator, but I do know that the tax payers began paying for my education when I entered the first grade about a hundred years ago. My generation seems to have done just fine being educated via public money for twelve years. When my kids came along, things had changed. I was paying for children to go to school from kindergarten, age five, through the twelfth grade. I was made aware of why the extra year was added, but I was too busy keeping the wolf away from my familyís door to take issue with paying for the extra year.

Fast forward to today. Now the federal and state governments have decided that we should be footing the bill to place toddlers in the public school system. These are children four years old and younger! I have done my due diligence this time and I can report that one can find evidence to support or refute the merits of this program. My position on this program has nothing to do with the merits or lack there of. I just donít want to pay for someone elseís child care. I have been there and done that. Both my wife and I worked, like many of the rest of you, and we had to pay for our kids to be taken care of in our absence. Some of you may still have canceled checks for payments to KinderCare somewhere in a dusty box.

There are those who will argue that there are folks out there who work but canít afford to pay for childcare. If that be the case, how did the parents of all the children that grew up in the generations before me, my generation, and my childrenís generation manage? They took personal responsibility and found a way. The government was not considered an option to solving the problem of what to do with the children when it was time to go to work and folks also understood the concept of Planned Parenthood.

We have lost ground in the world educationally, but it has nothing to do with the amount of money we throw at the problem. I view this program as nothing more than another example of redistribution of the wealth and, again, I donít want to pay for someone elseís childís daycare! And what about all of the folks in the private sector who make their living taking care of pre-school children? Have the federal and state governments given any thought to what will happen to these small businesses when the public sector displaces them with another government run program?

What I do want to spend my money on is Vocational Education. We used to do that. Remember shop, home economics, and agriculture classes, to name a few. Not everyone wants to go to college and not everyone needs to go to college to lead a productive life. We need to start letting kids know this and give them the tools to make them successful doing something they can enjoy and make a living doing. Who knows, some of the ďat riskĒ students might stay in school and graduate.

On a positive note, and as I have reported in the past, we are losing our working age population (age 18 thru 44); but the county and the school system are working hard collectively to attack our unemployment and economic development problems. We all understand the need for vocational education to help build a skilled work force which will, in turn, draw quality corporations to Georgetown County. If we are successful, we will have a more even age distribution in the county and also have a more even distribution of the tax burden.

Bob Anderson lives in Pawleys Island and represents District One on Georgetown County Council.

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