D.C. Now Requires 4-Year Degree to Teach in Day Care

Washington, D.C.’s daycare market is about as tight as any place in the country. It costs $24,000/yr per child, that is, children between 0 and 4-5 years old.

This year, a new regulation–one that was passed eight years ago but delayed by challenges to the law–has gone into effect that requires daycare workers to have a college degree–slashing the number of people eligible to work at daycares.

The result? First, the obvious: higher costs (this was an intended result, actually) and fewer slots. And, of course, a much more indoctrinated workforce. 

The stated goal is to professionalize the industry, give workers more bargaining power (by restricting the applicant pool), and to improve the educational experience for kids. 

The law was passed too long ago to assume that training toddlers to be activists against settler colonialism, but recently enough to assume that teaching kids to be transgender drag queens is a possible explanation. 

Even the meanest intelligence can see the practical problems with this regulation. Daycare workers as a group aren’t the most likely to have a college education, much less a four-year degree. This law requires dumping people with decades of experience and replacing them with an entirely new set of workers with none. And yes, replacement is the practical consequence, because even though there are provisions to grandfather some workers in, the D.C. government is slow-walking the process. 

Supply goes down, input costs increase and people are priced out of an already outrageously-priced market. 

Then there are the secondary consequences–people with marketable skills and experience are suddenly fenced out of an industry for no other reason than their failure to meet an utterly arbitrary requirement. Having a college degree and being a good caretaker for toddlers are not especially correlated, as far as I know. Reading Judith Butler or Karl Marx, or knowing the intricacies of alphabet ideology, has no demonstrated benefit for people taking care of toddlers. 

Perhaps there will be a Marcuse for Toddlers course? Is there a Critical Toddler Theory out there? 

Surely there is, but we should strive to keep people aware of it out of range of any daycare–say a 300-yard exclusion zone. 

It is easy enough to make a case for such a requirement. Daycare should be something more than babysitting. Parents dropping thousands of dollars a month for somebody to take care of their children understandably want their children to have an experience superior to an adult putting an iPad in front of a child. 

But the skills for stimulating children don’t require a college education, and frankly a college education seems quite unlikely to provide the skills necessary to do a good job taking care of children. 

Think back to your college education. Does any of your experience translate well to teaching toddlers? And, if D.C. wants to force daycare workers to get training, does a 4-year degree fit the bill rather than a 3-month or 6-month class in stimulating toddlers? 

This is classic “fencing” regulation, creating a requirement to artificially constrain a market to advantage one class of people over another. D.C. is filled with people who are overeducated and underequipped with genuine skills, so the D.C. council has created rules to benefit people like them. Rather than having the “wrong” sort of people near their children, D.C. wants college-educated unionized workers to be the only ones who can get a job. 

Middle-income parents are hurt; toddlers are hurt; daycare workers are devastated. But colleges and college-educated workers with no discernable skills will have a new avenue to put their useless degrees to work. 

The Institute for Justice fought this regulation based on the argument that it prevented people from making a living, but that argument failed in court. And it is easy to see why: there is a plausible rational basis for the regulation, if you buy the argument that college educations may improve the product. It may be a completely bogus belief, but it is rational to assume it may be true, and that is enough to make the regulation legal. 

This is how government works; if you can make an argument, however tenuous, that a requirement is rational, then the government may do it. Practical matters are utterly irrelevant. This is how you get laws that close down power plants without adequately replacing the generating capacity. 

It MIGHT be a good thing, so go ahead and do it. Whether people freeze to death is irrelevant. Or, in this case, whether toddlers get no daycare because it is priced too high is no matter; some idiot thinks daycare will be better with Women’s Studies majors taking care of them, so you can mandate it. 

This is why our Blue cities are a disaster. AWFLs are playing SimCity with people’s lives. “Hey, let’s do this! It will be great!”

Defund the police! Universal basic incomes! Urban camping! Decriminalize drugs!

College education is the most overrated commodity in our society. It takes potentially useful people, robs them of hundreds of thousands of dollars, puts them into incredible debt, and ejects them with fewer skills and less reasoning ability than when they arrived. 

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