News & Politics

Lawsuit Filed to Overturn D.C.'s Child Care Regulations

As a parent, if you put your kids in daycare, you want to know that they’ll be safe and have fun. You don’t want them to fight you on the way there, after all, and the need for safety is obvious.

But if the daycare provides that, do you care if the provider has a college degree or not?

For a lot of us, it doesn’t matter. I’ve seen people with college degrees doing things they showed no expertise in at all. Meanwhile, I’ve seen people with little more than a high school education blow me away with their knowledge of a subject. Childcare is no different.

Yet in the District of Columbia, there’s a new measure that will require childcare providers to have college degrees. This is a problem for those who make their living with childcare and lack that degree.

Luckily, a lawsuit has been filed by the Institute of Justice to try to combat this nonsense.

In a press release, IJ’s director of communications, J. Justin Wilson, writes, “For Ilumi Sanchez, a D.C. day care provider who has taken care of dozens of children since 1995, the regulation—which takes effect next year—will be devastating. Between the time she spends watching nine kids during the day and taking care of her family in the evening, earning an unnecessary college diploma is a non-starter.”

The reason, he notes, has to do with reality: “That is only compounded by her limited English skills and the five-figure cost of tuition. Once the regulation takes effect, Ilumi’s only choice will be to either shut down or move elsewhere and leave behind the families that have grown to see her as a part of their family.”

In other words, it’s just not feasible for her to attend college so she can do the job she’s already been doing. Further, she’s apparently been doing it well enough for her employer to keep her around.

Let’s put this in perspective. If I lived in D.C. and asked a friend to take care of my child during the day, no one would care if she has a degree or not. There’s no problem with leaving the kids with family either. The city has no issue with either of those situations, regardless of how much time the child stays with the friend or family member.

But if that same friend tries to make a living by taking care of people’s kids, now suddenly a degree is required.

Look, we’re not talking about educational facilities here. We’re talking about people making sure your kids stay alive and unharmed long enough for you to pick them up and take them wherever you want to take them. We’re not asking these people to teach them Mandarin.

What this is about, however, is restricting the potential pool of labor. Many of those who got degrees find that they can’t get good-paying jobs. The reason? Cheap labor lacking formal training. As a result, they have to either work in other fields or take lower-paying jobs than they’d prefer.

So now they want to crack down and exclude large parts of the potential labor pool to make it easier for them. That’s all that’s going on here. This is no different than an occupational licensing law that requires specialized training to braid hair. It’s an effort to make it more difficult for poor people to get jobs.

And remember, this comes from a progressive city. Aren’t progressives all about helping the poor?

Oh, they don’t care when the poor simply want to help themselves. Big shock, right?