At a later stop in Springfield, Rauner noted the importance of early childhood education and blasted the current state of child care.
“Too often in Illinois and around America, especially for lower-income communities, child care has no education component,” he said. “And in fact, good child care is regarded as ‘strap a child in a car seat and turn the TV on.’ That is institutionalized brain damage. To me, it should be criminal.”
Um, OK, so maybe now we know why he cut child care program funding?
And an upgrade like what he’s talking about will not be cheap. At all. We’ll need a bigger tax hike if he wants to actually do it.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Response from Faith Arnold, SEIU Healthcare Illinois executive board, vice chair, child care division…
“Bruce Rauner’s insensitive characterization of the state of child care in Illinois shows his gross disregard for providers and the children and working parents we serve. Our choice of profession reflects our commitment to children and families and is NOT a reflection of our education. And it certainly is not a reflection of our character. However, the governor’s insulting choice of words serves as a poor reflection on HIS.
“Rauner knows better than anyone that HIS cuts to service have caused incredible damage to the Child Care Assistance Program, which at one point was among the most successful in the nation. No more. As a result of his arbitrary administrative maneuvering, and his failure to reach a fair contract with the state’s child care providers, he has engaged in a full-scale dismantling of the program which has cost jobs, slowed economic growth and harmed Illinois families.
“But more than that, his regrettable use of language to insult people like me shows someone entirely disconnected from the working families he claims to serve. It’s no wonder we enter a new year without a budget and with little hope for true leadership or compromise from Bruce Rauner, who is resorting to bully language once again.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** From the governor’s office…
The governor and First Lady have spent more time working to improve the lives of young children than almost any couple in America. And as Governor, he has successfully increased early childhood funding by $100 million. His comments were not attacking the hardworking men and women who care for children so parents can go to work, go to school, and allow kids to flourish – but he is concerned about cases where children are placed in front of a TV with few toys and even fewer books.
The governor wants to ensure that every child arrives in kindergarten developmentally prepared. His Children’s Cabinet is working to address this very issue, bringing together state agencies to improve state credentialing and licensing programs. It is disappointing that instead of joining in those efforts, SEIU is choosing to mischaracterize the Governor’s words and intentions.