Meili releases education and early childhood development policies
Calling education “the smartest investment Saskatchewan can make today,” Saskatchewan NDP leadership candidate Ryan Meili released two policy statements on education this morning, the first focusing on K-12 and postsecondary education, and the second on early childhood education and childcare.
“Education has a significant impact on the health of a society,” said Meili. “Every child in Saskatchewan, regardless of their circumstances, should have the opportunity to achieve their potential. Underfunding education – especially for students at high-risk of failing in school – is a false economy.”
Meili’s education policy statement calls for several policy goals designed to promote quality education, including:
- returning the ability of local communities to set their own mill rates in order to meet locally identified needs, while ensuring that communities with less access to property tax revenue have additional support to offer quality education;
- partnering with the federal government to address chronic underfunding of Aboriginal education;
- establishing a legacy fund to invest windfall resource revenues to support post-secondary accessibility;
- reinstating the tuition freeze at Saskatchewan universities, making lower tuition fees a priority as finances allow; and
- making the student loan system simpler and more accessible, including greater flexibility to support part-time students.
By releasing an “Early Childhood Education and Childcare” statement alongside a policy statement focused on K-12 and postsecondary education, Meili said he’s seeking to bring a more holistic approach to the subject.
“There really isn't a more upstream approach we can take to the challenges we face that a proactive focus on early childhood development,” Meili said. “Accessible and high quality childcare and early childhood education are the best head start to building a healthy society.”
Meili’s statement calls for an integrated approach to child care and education that no longer places child care, early childhood education, pre-K and kindergarten in silos, but sees them working together for the best outcomes for children.
Meili’s approach calls for:
- developing a $7/day made-in-Saskatchewan child care plan informed by both the successes and the shortcomings of Quebec's model;
- establishing optional full-day and half-day pre-K programs for four year olds;
- ensuring appropriate financial and program supports are available to families who choose to have a parent stay at home.
“Saskatchewan is a wealthy province, yet we provide less in the way of services for our young families than other jurisdictions, less in the way of support for mothers who put their careers on hold to bear and raise children, and less in the way of incentives for fathers to participate actively in family life. We can do better.”
“Establishing an accessible and high-quality early childhood education and child care system is the best head start to building a healthy society.”
For comment please contact:
Nicole White (306) 361-5755