Let me retract the premise of my last Huffington Post blog. I know exactly what's goin' on!
Nothing, that's what. Nothing. Nothing for 40 years.
Ok folks... we've had our 40 years in the desert. It's time now to enter the Promised Land!
Thank you, Jonathan Cohn, for raising the issue in The New Republic about the dismal, despicable state of child care. Thank you, Noah Berlatsky, for adding background to that in your article in The Atlantic.
Nobody invites me to cocktail parties anymore. The reason they don't is because all I do is gather people around me and then start shouting about Richard Nixon's veto of the 1971 Child Development Act that had some national standards for child care.
Well, I certainly didn't make headway on the issue by screaming for 40 years at cocktail parties. But nobody else has either. Sure there are some excellent quality child care programs in this country, but they are relatively few in number and unaffordable to most.
Child care should be expensive! Child care teachers (yes, teachers) should be educated and properly paid. Ninety percent of brain development occurs by age five. We certainly need educated, caring people guiding our infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Most of the cost of child care is staff costs, and paying these people minimum wage, or less in the case of home care providers, is not the way to achieve venues where you and I would want our children. So child care needs to be subsidized, as public schools are. If France can do it, we can too. No it's not socialism or communism. It is common sense.
It's been 40 years since we stood on the edge of the River Jordan of child care quality. It is time to cross the river into the Promised Land where children are nourished physically, emotionally and intellectually, during the hours their parents are working, from the early months through school.
Parents know this. Federal Reserve executives know this.* Business leaders know this.* Only Congress does not know this. That's why Nothin's Goin' On.
*Bob Bernanke and Rob Grunewald; see ReadyNation's "Championing Success: Business Organizations for Early Childhood Investments."
©2013 Margery Leveen Sher
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