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Government report slams own child care plan

The Local · 20 Jun 2012, 14:28

Published: 20 Jun 2012 14:28 GMT+02:00

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The payment of €150 a month to parents who keep their children at home would most likely drag money away from plans to expand and improve state-subsidised day care facilities, a new national education report published on Wednesday warned.

The report, commissioned by the federal and state education ministries, warned that the government's targets for increasing the number of kindergarten places might be missed if the benefit were introduced.

The benefit, known as Betreuungsgeld, has been pushed by the Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), despite heavy political opposition from within the government coalition.

The academics who wrote the report also pointed to recent studies indicating that children who have completed at least three years in day care or kindergarten before starting school generally have better reading skills.

The report also found that even children from families with a higher educational background - who tend to have better reading comprehension skills - benefit from attending day care.

One statistic in the report was particularly alarming - around a quarter of German 3- to 7-year-olds are classified as "needing linguistic assistance," especially those from non-German families or with parents with a low standard of education.

Despite repeated expert warnings that the benefit will damage the education of disadvantaged children, Merkel's government is determined to pass the controversial bill before parliament goes into summer recess.

“The report is the opinion of the experts, not the opinion of the government,” said a government spokesman.

The Deutsche Tafel, a poverty campaign association, also came out against the plan on Wednesday. It said the payments could well have a negative effect on women and migrants working, and thus depress their incomes.

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The day care facilities for children should rather be expanded in order to enable parents of large families and lone parents to work more and thus earn more, said Gerd Häuser, head of the association.

The Local/DPA/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:06 June 20, 2012 by hanskarl
Experts defined, someone who has become so full of himself and his education that they cannot see the forest through the trees.

As one graduate professor used to tell us, "You came to this ignorance on fire. Our goal is to not send you out from here as intelligence on ice." Children are the sole responsibility of the parents not the government.
21:33 June 20, 2012 by charlenej
hanskarl, it's not "the government", it's school. Keep your child at home if you want to and if you can afford to, but otherwise that money the gov't wants to use to pay parents, should go to opening Kitas and Kindergartens so that women can go to work full-time if they want to. Right now, in Frankfurt at least, there simply are't enough full-time childcare options.

It's not about the gov't taking responsibility away from parents, it's about the government offering an incentive to parents that it could do without offering.
09:10 June 21, 2012 by delvek
Utter socialist rubbish.

Funny, both my kids were raised from birth to 6 years old when they started 1st grade and both are doing very well as teenagers. As a matter of fact, when we were registering our oldest child for school years ago, we were told that our child would be "handicapped" and will need additional work. We laughed, she was ahead of her 1st grade class! All this with their mom just being a mom.

Funny how people try to reinvent the wheel. Fact is, educational standards are lower today then in the past and more kids today are outside the home from birth.

Complete utter rubbish.
23:32 June 22, 2012 by charlenej
Again, no one is saying a parent can't stay home until they are 6, they are saying there shouldn't be gov't money given for that.

And there are lots of kids who have parents that aren't going to be the best in educating their kids, and those kids would be better off in a good school than at home. Not every kid, not every parent, and not every household is like yours, delvek.

There should be the option for school or to stay home, but you stay home at your own cost.
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