by Craig Simpson
I am a retired Early Childhood educator of more than 40 years much in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I served the last 10 years as an Infant/toddler. coordinator for Catholic Charities in Dorchester . I am past President of the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children and the co-founder of MenTeach – New England, a group supporting men teachers in early education. I have a Master’s degree from Wheelock College. I served a long and important early childhood career.
I read in Monday 2/4/19 Boston Globe article on change in regulations on child care teachers with shock and disappointment. The regulations now in place have been sufficient for preventing child abuse so why are we instituting these changes? On the narrow view of men in early education, we are only 3-6% of teachers of young children. We have been trying to get more men involved with children. Men play an important role in the lives of children. Many come from families with one parent and absent of men. The teacher is not only an educator but a role model for many children.
Many men are targeted at a young age and get minor offenses for drug use or disruptive behavior and the charges remain until they are old enough to choose a career. I have eight misdemeanors from charges protesting the Vietnam war in the 1970s. Under the new regulations, I would not have been allowed to teach. If a child care teachers union had a protest around wages and benefits and the police broke up the demonstration and teachers were arrested for disorderly conduct, perfectly good teachers would lose their jobs. We do have the right of protest in our constitution. Civil disobedience was done by a famous Massachusetts resident from Concord. I fear that fewer and fewer men will be able to teach young children.
There are many reasons to oppose these new regulations and I hope that hearings will be held to let the public know and that teachers, caregivers, child care providers, and others can give their input. We are all concerned about abuse of children but making more regulators on caregivers is not the manner to prevent abuse.