Academia, Government, and Malinvestment

In the real world, preschools and day care centers are plenteous. The market is one of near-perfect competition, where rates are competitive, competitors are always coming and going, and there isn’t a lot of quality variance: most preschools fundamentally suck, and the “better” ones are often lesser evils. Preschool workers–as a group–do not make a lot of money. If they pull above $10 per hour, it’s a bonanza.

And yet, there are colleges with entire education tracks–early childhood education–designed to prepare students for jobs with such economic limitations.

Making matters worse, we have a government that encourages this. Here’s a real-life example of how this has played out. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Let’s say that our federal government has $1 million in grant money available for initiatives in “early childhood education”.

Let’s say we have a university: BSU. The initials “BS” can mean whatever the reader wishes.

BSU decides to compete for the grant, proposing the development of an early childhood education center–i.e. a state licensed “preschool”–that will be staffed with faculty, highly-experienced teachers, and students. This will allow students to gain work experience as they work toward teacher certification, and will allow for a high-quality competitor to traditional day care and preschool centers.

BSU receives the grant, and spends the $1 million to build the complex, hire the director, train staff, and ensure that the facilities comply with state licensing requirements. The workers are supposedly the best of the best: they have a minimum of 5 years of experience, and they are paid $12 per hour.

The center at BSU opens on April 1. Their rates average about $50 per week more than the average preschool in the area.

After a month of being open, the number of children enrolled: ZERO!

So let’s get this straight, folks: We, the taxpayers, have provided $1 million in funding to a college, so they can hire overpaid workers and staff, price their services out of the market, and encourage students to accrue a mountain of debt as they enter a profession that–after 5 years of experience–they will pull down $12 per hour if they get a really good break. Making matters worse, they have NO CHILDREN ENROLLED after being open for a month.

When you consider that this is what college education–with few exceptions (such as the STEM fields)–has devolved into, the reality becomes all the more sobering.

4 thoughts on “Academia, Government, and Malinvestment

  1. as a momma, my heart breaks for daycare kids. after all the expenses taken into account, mom usually isn’t bringing home that much, so mom will shop around for the best-priced day care to increase her final net income. all those kids dumped into small spaces, unable to receive individual attention like they need from momma, parents taking them even when sick b/c they don’t have enough sick days. and put in a child who is even slightly introverted, or has even slight special needs, ugh.

    there is no way the government can spin day care to make it in the best interest of children with very few exceptions. period.

    everytime i see a daycare bus, i see kids of all ages, staring out the windows, sullen, sad, withdrawn, enduring what they have no choice to endure. they’re dropped off early and picked up late. my heart breaks.

    and yes, it is shocking that they require college degrees for such meager wages. there is negative return on their investment. parents are choosing to place their kids in the care of people who are receiving negative return on their investment.

    so much sadness all around in that system. so much sadness. i have kept kids in my home, and while i dearly love those kids, i can tell you that i don’t love them anything like the way i love my own children. kids need their mommas.

    we also have decided, for those mothers who stay home until their kids start school, that kids no longer need their momma’s after they start kindergarten, so mom is free to dive back into full-time career. nothing could be farther from the truth. kids know their mom is unavailable. when i worked full time, i watched parents fighting on the phone during the day over who would pick up the sick kid from school. GRRR. and don’t think kids don’t know their parents are fighting over who *has* to pick them up. kids know.

    there are families who make dual income/careers work, but i believe they’re more the exception than the rule.

    the truth is that kids need their parents. the lie is that moms can have it all and kids don’t need them so they are free to pursue that great and wonderful career that will fulfill all their needs and desires as a woman. the truth is those needs and desires a woman has will not be fulfilled by careers or kids or husbands … those needs will only be fulfilled by God and through those God brings into her life. this does not mean kids or careers are meaningless … it means they will not fulfill all a woman’s needs or desires.

    the truth is having kids requires a long-term and often life-long sacrifice of you, the parent .. of who your are, of your time, of your heart. the lie is that kids’ needs will be fulfilled in activities and sports and schools and everything away from home. the truth is that nothing can replace mommy and daddy.

    • At this point, it is hard to blame families for moving to the 2-income model. There was a time when I would have said that, in large part, it’s a choice. But I’ve also seen the landscape fundamentally change in ways that put everyone behind the 8-ball.

      The crazy part of this is that government–by screwing with the money supply, creating malinvestment with “stimulus” efforts, and the inequities of the health care system–is creating a situation wherein it has become pretty darn difficult for families to make it on one income.

      Doing it on one income is possible, but it requires that (a) both parties incur little or no debt, (b) both parties insist on a near-shoestring budget, (c) when children arrive, they are good enough at networking and dealing that they can get health care for a reasonable price, (d) inflation does not suck the life out of your earning power, and (e) no medical disasters happen.

      (d) or (e)–usually (e)–can break a family financially in very quick order, or, that the very least, put them in a very dire situation. I have seen it happen.

      Personally, I am not a fan of day care or preschool. At the same time, I see where it can be a necessary evil.

      I think that, within a community (i.e. Church), there should be an equitable alternative to preschool/day care. Perhaps families within churches can come together and pool resources and create that alternative.

      The problem, however, is government: at X number of children–it varies from state to state–you have to tango with the state licensing departments.

      As President Reagan said in his inaugural address 32 years ago, “Government is the problem.”

    • Until we fix the health care system–and the larger inflation problem–as well as undergo a massive degree of deleveraging (debt-reduction), I don’t see this situation materially improving.

      Health care costs have grown at a compounded rate of 9% over the past 30 years. Take that away, and we don’t have a problem.

      Thanks to inflation, that gallon of gasoline–that once ran for $0.89 not even 15 years ago–now goes for about $3.50. MrsLarijani and I spend at least $350 on fuel whereas without the inflation it would be less than $100. That adds up to over $3,000 per year we get screwed out of.

      Health insurance runs us over $4,000 per year, and we are in the least-expensive plan. And that number will go up, thanks to ObamaCare.

      Don’t get me wrong. MrsLarijani and I do okay–we have more at the end of the month than we take in. I have a mortgage, but it’s fairly modest with respect to my income and at a low, fixed rate. I carry no credit card debt: I have two credit cards that stay paid off every month.

      But if we had kids, I’d probably have to get another job, or get a second job.

      And if we had any medical disasters, we’d be financially screwed, as it would be pretty easy to run 6 figures of medical expenses.

      That’s not a complaint; I’m just telling it like it is. The situation has become ugly in no small part due to inflation, which is directly the result of government screwing with the economy–via our Federal Reserve and the larger banking system–to steal from the poor and give to the rich.

      • i hear you – loud and clear. i see it everywhere.

        one thing i see that does work – living close to family and maintaining good family relationships, when possible. it’s not possible for me, but i have many friends for whom it is, and it makes a huge difference. the family support really balances out a lot when both parents must work.

        and you are right about all the financial aspects. i can tell you that often we cannot add things up logically, but God always does provide. i can’t always explain it, and it’s difficult for one who wants to see the balance sheet all the time. i’ve had to let go of a lot and let God do things His way b/c i haven’t had a choice.

        my husband does work 2 jobs, and we all support him in that knowing he’s doing that for all of us. i work at home as i’m able, but with our sped kid, i’m very limited.

        sometimes the problems and causes and gov’t and inflation, etc, overwhelm me. i have to release them and release my logic sometimes … cause my thoughts and ways often do not work in our family finances.

        we have and do live on a very meager budget, and our medical expenses are significant. my girls have significantly less than their peers. but they will both tell you they want me home and not working. when the topic comes up, they both become vehement about wanting, needing, me home. they are both willing to make the sacrifices to have me home. they both have friends whose parents work, and they see it up close.

        i’m not saying all moms should stay home. i know it’s not possible. if mom must work, do whatever you can to establish and maintain healthy family relationships and to live as close as possible to family. this is the one thing i have noticed that makes a huge difference – family helping each other out.

        unfortunately, the church ‘family’ doing the same is very rare. blood is much thicker than water when it comes to raising kids together.

        and … faith. we live a lot on faith and fully believing that God, alone, is our Provider and Protector. He says He is over and over in the bible, and He has proved that to be true over and over every single day in our lives.

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