Tuesday, April 01, 2003


Never shy about taking credit when it's not due, Sunday's Commercial Appeal had an editorial [not online, unsurprisingly] in which they try to chastise legislators for modifying the day care reforms while simulataneously claiming credit for day care reforms. It's sad.

While noting that it was the deaths of four children in a day care van that provided the emotional horror that spurred the reforms, they also claim:
Much of the impetus for the movement was provided by an investigation by the Commercial Appeal that followed the deaths of two Memphis toddlers who were abandoned in overheated day care vans in July 1999.

Abuses in the state-subsidized day care system revealed by the newspaper helped lead to federal and state investigations of WillieAnn Madison and her husband, John, who ran Shelby County's former child care brokerage.
Please, don't over-reach. Senator John Ford has beaten back much of the investigation, to protect his own ass. While they dug up some good information, the State did the real work, and it was only after the tragedies, not before. The CA has a very bad habit of coming to stories only after someone else breaks them.

Besides, the reforms are nothing to crow about. The tragedies of the children's deaths could have been prevented by the day care owners themselves. But they had to keep the driver they had -- because they can't afford the quality that the State wants. If the reforms first demanded by the State are implemented it will be catastrophe for day care, and the families that rely on it.

Costs will have to go up. New vans, of a significantly larger style and size, are mandated. More workers, too. And the paperwork load goes up, meaning more time filling and filing it. All this costs money, which has to come from somewhere. And it ain't gonna be the State.

Laws and reforms made by legislators motivated by public outrage are almost without exception bad ideas. History has shown this over and over. But the CA seems to resist the lessons of history.

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