Monday, November 18, 2013

Kindercare Learning Center, I certainly learned a lot

As a once daycare director, I learned that chain, corporate run, daycare places are much like nursing homes, only the clients are younger.  So corporate run places go from one end of the age spectrum to the other, in their ways of thinking.  That way of thinking being: We see a way to make money, we can align ourselves with state and local government to pay us big monies, we need to please our board members, the hell with pleasing the paying customer and we can actually abuse families, kids and elderly people and pretty much get away with it.

Corporate daycare has the advantage over poor, working, single moms.  For that matter, they have the advantage over their underpaid workers they like to call 'Teachers."  I. for one, would never, ever work for another one on planet Earth.

Let's start with your kids.  Corporate daycare is always, always, always concerned first and foremost, with money.  As a director my big jobs were: Marketing to keep the daycare full and watching those moms every morning like a damned hawk as they swiped their cards into a machine designed to be sure the corporation got their payments in a timely fashion.  Because, lord knows, poor single moms are stupid (at least to corporate America anyway.)  My other big job would be to sit for hours on that damned computer, looking at finances, I was supposed to give tongue lashings to self-paying parents if they were behind in their bills.  Funny thing about the daycare, I could never let a child go from daycare if they were terrorizing other kids, but I was expected to let them go if mom or dad was behind in their payments.  Money is more important to them than your kid is.  

 This is what they Want you to believe!

Each time the district manager (I called her a traveling 
overseer because she was a taskmaster) came to my daycare, the conversation was most always money.  Be it changes in their computer program, teaching me how to improve getting money from agencies, or making sure I tallied up all profits correctly each day.

Let's discuss the 'teachers' of corporate daycare.  Do they have training in early childhood or early education?  Mostly, no, I had just one 'teacher' with that training.  The rest only had a GED and with the whopping $7.00 per hour pay and no benefits, we didn't exactly attract those with bigger educations or training.  But, I was told by a corporate tool: "Well these women knew what this job paid when they decided to work here."  That was no real excuse to me for not paying better.  

At that whopping $7.00 an hour, I was also expected to send teachers home early so as not to have to pay them too much, and I was supposed to bust teachers down to part time at the corporation's will.  Needless to say, teachers groused at me for that stuff.  Not my decision, but it didn't matter.  As a director, I was also supposed to save money by picking up slack in classrooms so I could send the hourly workers home early each day.  I was salaried so I could put in 12 to 16 hour days and cost the corporation no more money.

 Working for a corporation, I was director in name only.  I had no authority to fire anyone, even if they swung from the chandeliers, unless, of course, a parent accused them of inappropriate behavior (touching a kid inappropriately.)  I learned just how an angry parent can all but ruin a teachers career by false accusations too.  One parent didn't like 'fat' people so she targeted one of my teachers because she felt the teacher was too fat to care for her kid.  I told you it could be a nightmare job.

When I first started as the director, I was expected to attend a damned seminar in Indianapolis for an entire four days.  I mistakenly thought it was designed to teach us newbies how to better run a daycare.  Oh, not so!  It was designed to show us how to market so we could bring in more money for corporation CEO and the like.  We had to do stupid crap like chant and cheer, much like the bullshit WalMart pulls to pump up our enthusiasm. Doesn't work, at least not for me anyway.  One of the worst seminars I ever went to.  

Now while I was gone I was told my associates could run the daycare just fine.  Funny thing about that, if corporate said so, it was gospel.  One day I took an hour and a half lunch to get away from the daycare and all the piddly interruptions from workers, so I could concentrate on a new computer program and how to run it to make money, attending that lunch with a corporate person.  Well the overseer decided it was 'just too much' as my workers had called her and said I wasn't back in the usual hour, even though my cell was on if they needed me.  Geesh!!!!!!

I had teachers refusing to clean their rooms at the end of their shifts because they were not paid enough.  I had many problems with how they cared for the kids in their charge too, from bad pay to lack of good training, the problems persisted.  I got to hear the complaints from parents and all complaints fell on corporate deaf ears.  If I had meetings with staff to address issues, they called the district manager to complain about me, they didn't like having a new director who expected them to do their jobs.  Many teachers would call in, at the last freakin minute, to say they could not make it to work that day.  I had a bus driver, scheduled to work a few hours each morning to drive school kids to their schools, never show up and had her phone turned off when you tried to call.  I was not allowed to write her up nor let her go for not doing her job either.

 That same bus driver bitched to me that she: "Was part time, retired, could not put in too many hours because it cut into her Social Security payments."  I eventually hired a full time driver, to then be bitched at by the part time, retired one, accusing me of trying to cut her hours.  Gawd, make up my damned mind!!

I got bitched at for not lying to parents for corporate screw ups, for teacher screw ups and what have you.  I refused to treat single moms like crap simply because they were poor.

I have to say, I could not leave that job fast enough.  So if you choose daycare, think long and hard about chain, corporate run ones.  I know they offer the best advantage because they can take vouchers and such, but you do not get what you pay for.  The corporate ones take Full advantage of their alliances with local and state government to pull in money.  I do know it makes single moms stand between a rock and a hard place.