Kindergarten is a construct of the economy

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Randy Simms wrote in his Feb. 16 column: “If we want, we can demand that governments and society make it possible to return to the days when ‘a mom in the kitchen and a dad at work’ was the norm. We can demand it, but it’s not going to happen.”

He’s right about that. Partly because having a proper home life or even making it possible to have it, won’t just “happen.” It’s something we ought to do, mostly for ourselves and by ourselves. The education system in which Mr. Simms wants full-day kindergarten to replace half-day kindergarten teaches us far too little about what we ought to do for ourselves and far too much about how to count on staying lucky by contributing to an economic system where prosperity mostly happens as a result of processes that rarely approach the dignity of the people actually performing them.

I wouldn’t doubt that all sorts of research will show that full-day kindergarten is better for children than half-day kindergarten. I’d just like to see whether research shows children need kindergarten at all or whether it shows chiefly that our economic system needs kindergarten.

A highly qualified educator told me once that any ordinary child can readily learn anything he needs to know if he first attends school at age 10. But that educator’s opinion was contrary to government policy and he was employed by the government, which is why you’re getting it from me now instead of having had it from him then.

Colin Burke

Port au Port

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