The Background Story
In early February this year, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario released my report on Ontario’s Full-Day Kindergarten. It was written as a reponse to Conservative Government plans to reform kindergarten in negative ways. My review of the literature found that these plans were badly off base – full-day kindergarten in Ontario is very good and worth preserving (and improving).
There’s a hidden story about that study on full-day kindergarten in Ontario. I actually wrote it towards the end of 2019, in response to the statements by Doug Ford and his ministers about what they might do to change full-day kindergarten. All of the reforms would have been highly negative. But the Government kept playing with the ideas, partly because they never supported the move back in 2010 to full-day kindergarten, and partly to have the union over a barrel during negotiations. So, I wrote this study and finished it at the end of 2019, and ETFO got it ready for publication. At the end of 2019 and early 2020, the Elementary Teachers Federation (ETFO) was in acrimonious bargaining with the government, and the government would not commit to keeping full-day kindergarten (this was one of ETFO’s bargaining demands).
So, in January 2020, ETFO decided to give the Toronto Star exclusive rights to cover the initial release of the study. The Star wrote up an article on the study, and then, as good journalists do, sent the Executive Summary to the government to get a comment. Well, the government, which wasn’t polling that well at that time, freaked out big time. They didn’t respond to the Star, but they came into the bargaining session the next day and announced that they were going to guarantee that full-day kindergarten would be kept in its current form at least till the end of the contract in 2022!
So, it turns out that the study has already had a big and useful impact which almost nobody knows about. But, I’m happy.