No Small Matter

Capitalism has taken over most of the globe. We are all taught to pursue the almighty dollar so that we can purchase stuff. Stuff. Things we don’t really need, but are convinced that we do. This relentless and rather mindless pursuit has led to many ills. Of the environmental, health and mental variety. One that we don’t really think of is early childhood education. How without money some are deprived of this vital time to learn. We have not really acknowledged how this “costs” us in many ways.

We are just beginning to understand how important the first five years of life are for the human brain. At this point it truly is a sponge. Just wanting to learn. If we don’t feed it with what it craves at this point you have put that young person behind the proverbial life eight ball. Studies have shown that children who are not exposed to learning at that age often find themselves behind their peers for the rest of their lives.

Inequality strikes again. Through introductions to families in the United States who are struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford good preschool for their kids it becomes tangible how these kids are “suffering”. How they will always be doing double time to keep up with the Joneses in this capitalistic society. How they will be relegated to lower paying jobs and so will not be able to afford quality education for thier kids. The unfair cycle continues.

Makes you appreciate affordable education and child care here in Canada. One mother we meet had to quit her job because child care was $2,000 a month or equal to a mortgage. In the film we learn that in 28 states that daycare is more expensive than public college tuition. Incredible! So even though today, for most families, both parents have to work in order for the family to survive financially, some fall further into poverty because one parent stays home not working in order to take care of the kids.

Capitalism and the pursuit of buying everything we can get our hands on. This has led to the composition of families having changed. Both parents now work. This means that parents spend less time with their kids. Have no time and precious little energy to be their kids’ educators. As such pre-schools have had to pick up that slack. Become those who are entrusted with those vital years in children’s lives. Those who can afford better pre-schools are given big boosts.

Education and an educated population is presented as an important ingredient on helping the United States to being a country of “good” people. One in which poverty, sexism, racism, and other evils don’t hold people back. Becomes very clear that without this America is on a slow moving free fall towards catastrophe.

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