Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Online Only

August 1, 2012

Campaign banter keeps quiet on child care

We're still waiting.

 Why can we talk about roof dogs, the kiss-cam and dressage horses during election season, but not about something that affects more than 6 million American toddlers and infants every day?

  I'm still waiting for someone to talk about child care. It's a mess. And whether you're a parent doing the 15-dollar-dash to get to day care before the clock goes into late-fee land or the childless worker sick of seeing your colleague run out the door every day at 5, it affects you.

 Our nation takes care of its youngest citizens through a mishmash of neighborhood babysitters, high-paid nannies, off-the-grid, sketchy but affordable centers, homemade day cares run out of someone's basement and the rare and difficult-to-afford corporate center that works well for the tiny population that can get in. There are federal subsidies, state aid and tax credits, but no comprehensive system.

   Just take a look at the latest mess in Virginia, where state regulations regarding the size of in-home day cares are different from county rules and, because someone just figured this out, hundreds if not thousands of families might see their children kicked out of places that work well for them.

   This is the kind of stuff that craters a family's work schedule and finances, making it impossible for them to work and forcing some onto public assistance.

   The funny thing about this?

    We actually did this right. Once.

    During World War II, when the country needed Rosie the Riveter to keep the war effort going, the United States passed the Lanham Act in 1941, which, among other things, provided more than 2,500 quality, education-based day-care centers that eventually cared for more than 1.5 million children across the country.

   Yes!

   Women who went to work in factories dropped off their kids for about 50 cents a day. Kids got snacks, hot lunch, reading, painting and play. Some of the centers even sent the kids home with a foil-wrapped, roasted chicken, so Mom didn't have any hot-stove time after a tough day at work.

    Sounds like Sweden or something, right?

    "We got it right, for the most part. Unfortunately, it was during World War II, during an emergency, as part of a war effort, and it was very clear that it was only for the war that this would happen,

  " said Natalie Fousekis, a history professor at California State University at Fullerton who wrote a book on the wartime day cares. They were largely shut down right after the war ended.

   And we haven't had a meaningful national discussion about child care since.

  Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last year that if she ever became speaker of the House again, one of her goals would be to do "for child care what we did for health-care reform."

  "One of the great pieces of unfinished business is high-quality child care; I wonder why we just can't do that,'' Pelosi said.

    Critics accused Pelosi of wanting to warehouse children in government facilities, then force parents to go to work.

   Give me a break.

    Earlier this year, Mitt Romney said he wants young mothers who are on government assistance to get jobs for "the dignity of work." The work requirement is something he signed into law in Massachusetts.

  And most of those women want to work, for sure. Anyone who thinks raising a family on public assistance is easy hasn't seen it up close.

  But because it's so hard to get quality child care that's affordable, it becomes a non-starter for many folks.

   President Barack Obama has been no better on the issue. He speaks about early-childhood education and helping working families, but somehow, the term "child care" doesn't come up.

  Maybe it's because it is still such an explosive and divisive issue. When you mention child care, you hit that working mom third rail again. (See Marrisa Mayer andAnne Marie Slaughter, if you need a reminder of that debate.)

   Women, who have been making huge gains in the workforce during the past four decades, are now the majority of the nation's workforce and the primary breadwinners in one out of five American households.

  All of this has been achieved despite the lack of a comprehensive child-care system. The only recent nod to child care in the federal conversation is the Infant and Toddler Quality Improvement Act, introduced last month by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). That bill calls for more funds for state and local child-care programs, plus increased oversight regulations.

  It's a start, but really all it does is add some extra stitching to the patchwork we're already struggling to keep together. And honestly, do you want Al Franken to be the only one with the guts to push for solutions?

 It's time for everyone - especially women - to drop the squeamish act over the child-care conversation. It's too essential to our lives and the country's future.

 Let's start talking - and demanding that our political leaders start talking, too.

 

1
Text Only
Online Only
  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 23, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Mineral Wells Index


Click on a photo to visit our SmugMug page

Front page
Seasonal Content
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Must Read