PC rules run amok in Colorado day care

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

DEN­VER | It turns out even nan­nies can’t hide from the nanny state.

A 98-page pro­posal to in­ten­sify reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing Colorado child care cen­ters would re­quire a pre­vi­ously un­seen level of de­tail, in­clud­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions for the num­ber of crayons, paintbr ushes and blocks per art kit, the racial com­po­si­tion of dolls and the num­ber of na­ture scenes per class­room.

Doc­tors would need to sign off on the risks of drink­ing whole milk.

The pro­posed state reg­u­la­tions have alarmed day care providers and lawmakers, who say the rules would place an un­due bur­den on strug­gling small busi­nesses while ex­pand­ing the ranks and au­thor­ity of state reg­u­la­tors.

“This is nanny gov­ern­ment in ev­ery sense of the word,” said state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, Berthoud Repub­li­can. “It will in­crease the cost of do­ing busi­ness, pric­ing many fam­i­lies out of their day care op­tions. And it will drive far too many child care fa­cil­i­ties out of busi­ness.”

He con­cluded: “In these tough times, new reg­u­la­tions should stream­line gov­ern­ment over­sight, not load fam­i­lies and busi­nesses with heav­ier bur­dens.”

Added Aspen mother Mered­ith Car­roll, who con­trib­utes to the Strollerderby blog at blogs.bab­ble.com: “Telling day­care providers what they can and can’t eat in front of the kids seems un­duly pro­hib­i­tive to me, and re­quir­ing dolls of at least three dif­fer­ent races seems a bit silly (why not trans­gen­der or hand­i­capped dolls, too, while they’re at it?).”

The pend­ing reg­u­la­tions, pro­posed by the Depart­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices’ Child Care Divi­sion, in­clude the fol­low­ing for tod­dler and in­fant class­rooms:

All doll col­lec­tions must rep­re­sent at least three races.

Chil­dren shall not be re­quired to par­tic­i­pate in an ac­tiv­ity and must have a choice of at least two al­ter­na­tive ac­tiv­i­ties.

Chil­dren are not al­lowed to drink whole milk un­less they have a writ­ten note from their health care provider.

Each type of art ma­te­rial shall have a min­i­mum of 10 pieces, such as 10 paints, 10 paint­brushes, 10 crayons.

Each class­room shall have at least two sets of blocks with a min­i­mum of 10 blocks per set.

Each class­room shall have a va­ri­ety of at least five ac­ces­sories for each block and be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of peo­ple, an­i­mals, trans­porta­tion, etc.

In ad­di­tion, the pro­posed rules say that “ac­tiv­i­ties shall be cul­tur­ally sen­si­tive and rep­re­sent di­ver­sity” and that “boys and girls shall not be re­stricted to gen­der-spe­cific role­play­ing.”

Repub­li­cans aren’t the only ones re­act­ing to the pro­posal. The Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Colorado also has raised con­cerns about the abil­ity of child care work­ers to com­ply with the strin­gent rules.

“This feels like mi­cro­man­age­ment,” state Sen. Irene Aguilar, a Den­ver Demo­crat who also is a doc­tor, told the Colorado News Agency. “We can give ad­vice, but it’s ul­ti­mately up to the par­ents and child care providers to de­cide what’s best.”

Liz McDonough, a spokes­woman for the state Depart­ment of Hu­man Ser vices, stressed that the pro­posal is still in the com­ment stage and noth­ing has been de­cided.

The divi­sion has held about a dozen pub­lic hear­ings on the is­sue and plans to hold more, with the pro­posal to be mod­i­fied at least twice be­fore it reaches the state Board of Hu­man Ser­vices.

The fi­nal ver­sion is un­likely to reach the board be­fore Jan­uary, and the board will so­licit feed­back again be­fore tak­ing a vote on the pro­posal, she said.

“We’re in a ver y lengthy process and are in the midst of a 55-com­mu­nity tour to get feed­back,” Ms. McDonough said. “Why don’t we wait to see what’s im­ple­mented? We’re in the mid­dle of a process. It’s not any­where near fin­ished.”

The state Depar tment of Hu­man Ser­vices is run by Reg­gie Bicha, ap­pointed in Jan­uary by newly elected Gov. John Hick­en­looper, a Demo­crat. Mr. Bicha pre­vi­ously served as sec­re­tary of the Wis­con­sin Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies.

The ex­act­ing reg­u­la­tions were pro­posed in March, and the process may have pre­dated Mr. Hick­en­looper’s ten­ure as gov­er­nor.

Mr. Lundberg is call­ing on the gov­er­nor to in­ter­vene and rein in what he called the “ex­treme mi­cro­man­age­ment” of state day care cen­ters.

“Re­mem­ber, the gov­er­nor es­tab­lishes pol­icy for these de­part­ments,” Mr. Lundberg said on the “Caplis and Silverman” show on KOA-AM. “He could eas­ily step in and say, ‘OK, guys, let’s put a lit­tle rea­son­able con­trol on this.’ “

Those bet­ter be mul­ti­cul­tural bears: Read­ing to chil­dren can get com­pli­cated in Colorado.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.