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Virginia Considers Making Parents Train for 30 Hours to Help at Their Kids' Preschool

July 16, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

My wife and I are the proud (and exhausted) parents of two young
sons, and we live in Falls Church, Virginia. Our oldest is
“two half” and will be starting a
“cooperative” preschool down the street this September.
That means we volunteer in his classroom and help run the
school—charity auction, field trip transportation,
etc.—and in return we save on tuition. It’s a
win-win.

Currently, co-oping parents in Virginia must undergo four hours
of annual training before they can volunteer in the
classroom—basic things like first aid and certain laws
relevant to child care. As reported by the Washington Post,
however, the Virginia Department of Social Services is considering
regulations that would require co-oping parents instead to undergo
approximately 30 hours of training—just to help in
the classroom a few hours each month, completing daunting tasks
like passing out snacks and sweeping the floors.

My wife, who is planning to be our “participating
parent,” will be devastated if the regulations are adopted.
She’s a full-time lawyer and when she’s not working
she’s making sure that our sons are fed and happy. (I do that
too, but we’ll leave aside the issue of marital negotiations
over child care and other household chores for another time.)

File this one away in the
category of regulatory solutions in search of a problem.

She’s proud that she can balance work and family while
being involved in our son’s preschool—she’s going
to chair the hospitality committee! She willingly underwent a
background check that was in several respects more intense than
that for her top-secret security clearance, all because she wants
our son to feel loved and supported during his first few years of
school. But as a working mom, she simply can’t take
nearly a week off work to complete the training the
Virginia Department of Social Services is contemplating.

She’s not alone. Many parents choose co-oping preschools
because they want to participate directly in their children’s
education. Indeed, parental involvement in education is associated with improved academic
achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Parental involvement can
also be especially comforting for preschoolers, many of whom are as
young as two years old and in an institutional environment for the
first time in their lives. The fact that parents volunteer in
co-oping preschools is an advantage, not something onerous
regulations should discourage.

Co-oping can also make preschool affordable. Tuition for my son
to attend part-time is just a little north of $100 a
month
—and no, I’m not telling you where, because
the preschool is our hidden gem. Because the costs are lower,
co-oping preschools are a great option for lower-income families,
who most need the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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