Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Chumney Redux

I didn't know how to wedge this bit into the Carol Chumney post below, so you get it here.

In all the fuffle about the day-care situation in Memphis the past few weeks, Chumney put forward her solution to the problem: another government agency! Yep, just what we need. She argued that State oversight and State and local Departments of Children's Services weren't enough. We needed a Memphis-only agency, independent of the others but working together, to watch our own backyard.

Shyeah! Part of the problem was failed communications between at least three government agencies. She wants to add another to the mix? Provide yet more opportunity for responsibility-ducking and buck-passing? Another great Chumney idea.

And now the City Council has obligated the City to a program to train and help certify day-care workers, at City cost. No one has any idea what this program will look like, its scope, how it will work, nor even the faintest idea of cost. But we will have something, and you and I will pay for it.

Every year, more children are killed, injured or maimed in automobile accidents in this city than have died in child-care in the past few years. Do we have a driver education program? Does the City actively work to make Memphis drivers safer? We do not. But it would have more and wider impact than some nebulous effort at improving the quality of day-care workers.

Ask youself this: would you turn over your kids to a stranger who only made $7 or $8 an hour, expecting them to care about your kids as much as you do? How many service-oriented places do you go into (restaurants, shops, etc.) where the staff makes that level of income and get crappy service from people who don't care about you or your problems? It's just that simple. One of the best ways to improve child day-care (though not the only, by any means) would be to increase pay, to attract not the bottom of the worker pool, but interest those with somewhat more skills.

Of course, that means that a whole lot of folks suddenly can't afford day-care any more.

Just a thought.

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