Press Release: September 28, 2009: Replace Anti-parent Activist at Peace Summit Says Parent Group

Edmonton – A parents’ group has asked for the replacement of one speaker booked for the Dalai Lama’s Heart-Mind Education discussion at the Vancouver Peace Summit. Kids First Parent Association of Canada reports that World Bank consultant Clyde Hertzman is funded by the BC government to promote policies that harm children and their parents. Hertzman heads the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) as well as the Council on Early Child Development.

“The heart-mind connection is about the profound importance of children’s emotional attachments on brain development. Strong parent-child attachment is key to this for most children,” says Helen Ward, President of Kids First. The organization has recommended that Vancouver-based developmental psychologist Dr Gordon Neufeld, or Dr Gabor Mate, be asked to speak at the event. Both are experts on the emotion-mind connection and attachment theory. They co-authored international bestseller, “Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Matter More than Peers.”

Explaining the concern Ward says, “We oppose Hertzman’s participation for two reasons. He advances the coercive agenda of the World Bank and the OECD to decrease parents’ time with their children and increase their time in the labour pool, disregarding parental choices and children’s needs. He also steers the Big Brother style data mining mega-project amassing the private information of all BC children without informed parental consent.”

HELP is funded by the BC government to advise on, plan, evaluate, and promote all-day kindergarten and daycare. HELP is also funded to collect and link the personal records of all BC children and their families from “pre-conception to young adulthood,” according to HELP’s website. Kids First and the BC Civil Liberties Association are concerned about the lack of informed parental consent and the violation of personal privacy involved. Medical, pharmaceutical, hospital, census, WCB, and school records are currently collected. Hertzman writes for Statistics Canada that he hopes to obtain access to income tax records.

However daycare centres have been shown to increase children’s infections, stress, and behavioural problems and have not been shown to provide lasting benefits. A HELP researcher’s report found the majority of licensed daycare is “minimal to mediocre quality” and does not adequately support children’s development. All-day early kindergarten in schools has not produced lasting benefits. In Oklahoma, test scores in high school have dropped below the national average since schools enrolled young children.

Hertzman’s own research states: “Pro-social behaviour scores were lowest for children in licensed day care and highest for children in unregulated home care and relative care.” Elsewhere he concludes, “participating in early childhood care and education programs and services at the age of 2 and 3 had little direct association with children’s home and school outcomes in Kindergarten.”

The UN Declaration on Universal Human Rights states “Everyone has the right to education… Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states, “The child has the right to … be cared for by his or her parents.” The Convention adds, “States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth…without discrimination of any kind.”

Sweden is the OECD’s preferred model of an “integrated system” of daycare and schools under the Education Ministry. After over a generation of their daycare system, the government reports daycare quality problems; and rising levels of youth violence, youth suicide, and domestic violence against women. Teens’ academic scores on OECD tests have plummeted and are well below Canadians’.

For further information contact Helen Ward, President of Kids First Parent Association of Canada at 604-291-0088

Kids First Parent Association of Canada is a grassroots national charity concerned with children’s optimal care and ending discrimination against parental child care since 1987.

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