Many Colo. Parents Aren't Buying SB 130's Early Childhood Bureaucratic Change

Look, I’m still young, but I’m learning that there are some different major philosophies out there about what government can and should do. My friends around this place believe that government’s role should be limited and tend to be very skeptical when proposals come forward to expand the government’s role. This one issue is a little bit outside the realm of K-12 education, but it’s drawn some late and well-deserved attention from a couple grassroots groups that also cover the issue.

I’m talking about Senate Bill 130, which just passed the legislature’s upper chamber and is on its way to the Republican-majority House. The legislation would create a new government bureaucratic agency known as the “Early Childhood and School Readiness Commission.”

My friends at Parent Led Reform correctly identify some red flags:

It is touted as merely a bill to restruct [sic] state departments for the sake of efficiency and money savings.

But parents aren’t buying it.

Maybe parents are suspicious due to the lack of mention of how this law will actually save money?

Not a whole lot of wording in this bill about actual department cuts. Or are the state employees simply getting new business cards?

A look at the fiscal note shows very little overall increase in state spending, but certainly no cost savings. If the proposed bureaucratic reorganization is designed to create more efficiency, perhaps they mean to have more efficient oversight of parenting in early childhood? Now I guess if you could convince me that would result in less vegetables, more cookies, and a later bedtime, I might shut up and let it pass.

However, I am not aware of anyone explaining precisely how SB 130 would alleviate recent governmental overreaches, like the ones highlighted by Senator Kevin Lundberg:

In July of last year, the Child Care Division of Colorado’s Department of Human Service produced a 98-page set of rule changes that would tell private child care providers how many crayons, paint brushes and toy phones each classroom must have. DHS also wanted to dictate how many minutes of each day a child may spend on a computer or watching television. The proposals were widely criticized as unwarranted micromanagement and as “a nanny state on steroids.”…

Two private child care centers in northern Colorado testified at the February 16 legislative hearing that the child care agency has altered the standards for the religious exemption, changes which put their programs in jeopardy. Montessori schools are now lobbying for legislation, HB1276, to establish clear guidelines for granting of waivers for certain instructional materials and a more equitable appeals process on agency actions.

These examples and other events strongly suggest the Child Care Division has grown fond of arbitrary rule changes that impose unwarranted hardships and unexpected costs on private child care providers….

Governor Hickenlooper was obviously embarrassed last July by the controversy created by overzealous bureaucrats. Let’s hope he will keep a watchful eye on where the state’s child care agency is headed after it is restructured and expanded as the Office of Early Childhood and Youth Development. Our child care bureaucrats need to be held accountable accountable [sic] not to “national experts,” but to the parents and taxpayers of Colorado.

In a nutshell, the legislation looks like the wrong solution in search of the wrong problem. I think the best we could hope for from SB 130 is no additional harm. So what exactly is its purpose again? If SB 130 concerns you at least as much as it concerns me, then you should get in touch with the Parent Led Reform grassroots organization to help make your voice heard.