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Child Care

US Child Care Deficit Impacts Multiple Sectors of the Country

As Congress delivers nearly a trillion dollars for military spending through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in fiscal year 2023, one of the country’s most vulnerable sectors is in the midst of financial turmoil, with lingering effects across the country’s workforce. Within the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed in March 2021, a mere $39 billion was allocated towards child care relief funding, an amount proven to not be enough with funds already drying up. The shortage of money sets up a house-of-cards style effect on child care and the workforce as a whole. With the onset of the funds, “teachers at the [child care] center have gotten a more than 40% pay bump over the past two years, from $14 an hour before the pandemic to $20 an hour now,” reports Bloomberg.

Hundreds Of Day Cares Are Closed Today As Educators Go On Strike

Hundreds of child care providers in 27 states and Washington, D.C., went on strike Monday to remind policymakers how essential they are, not only to families but to the nation’s economy. Early childhood professionals – and the parents they serve – said they’re fed up with the lack of progress on policy promises such as better wages and expanded subsidies. “I’ve never met a family who has said child care is affordable,” said Allyx Schiavone, a member of the Ideal Learning Roundtable, a national group of developmental early childhood education experts. Schiavone helped organize a Connecticut-specific day of activism this year. Few providers make much of a profit, and many are in the red: Teaching and caring for young children is as expensive as it is essential.

Corporate Profits Have Contributed Disproportionately To Inflation

The inflation spike of 2021 and 2022 has presented real policy challenges. In order to better understand this policy debate, it is imperative to look at prices and how they are being affected. The price of just about everything in the U.S. economy can be broken down into the three main components of cost. These include labor costs, non-labor inputs, and the “mark-up” of profits over the first two components. Good data on these separate cost components exist for the non-financial corporate (NFC) sector—those companies that produce goods and services—of the economy, which makes up roughly 75% of the entire private sector. Since the trough of the COVID-19 recession in the second quarter of 2020, overall prices in the NFC sector have risen at an annualized rate of 6.1%—a pronounced acceleration over the 1.8% price growth that characterized the pre-pandemic business cycle of 2007–2019.

No-Brainer Child-Care Programs Proving Popular

After decades of contentiousness, it’s surprising how quickly Canada’s new national child-care program has become as familiar and comfortable as your dog’s favourite squeeze-toy. Or maybe it isn’t surprising. Why wouldn’t Canadians welcome a program that makes their lives as parents so much easier, giving them the freedom to work if they want while sparing them the exorbitant costs—often compared to a second mortgage—of child care? Now that it’s arrived, the $30-billion national child-care program, announced by the Trudeau government last April after years of Liberal stalling and Conservative opposition, seems like a no-brainer. The aim is to provide $10-a-day child care across the country by 2026.

Finland’s Public Childcare System Puts Britain To Shame

The autumn is a colourful time in Finland. The trees turn yellow and then red before the leaves fall. Neon pinks and yellows also appear—the reflective vests of toddlers and children venturing out to explore parks and cities with their day care teachers. In Finland these sights are omnipresent. The country’s free or inexpensive public and private day care is, in many suburbs, so extensive that it seems every block might as well have one. This autumn, my eighteen-month-old daughter has started in hers—a city-run public day care quite close to our home. There, for a part of the day, she will join a group of twelve equally small kids while her parents go to work or study. Among other activities, she plays with friends, goes on nature trips, and visits the library.

Child Care Should Be Universal And Well-Paid

Queen Freelove of New Haven, Connecticut, remembers when the pandemic transformed the daycare she ran out of her home, abruptly turning the atmosphere from cozy to clinical: “Things got extremely traumatic for us,” she recalled. She was constantly trying to keep the environment sanitized, keeping a stockpile of masks, wipes, and other equipment, stopping parents in the hallway when they arrived to pick up their kids to take their temperature and give them a squirt of sanitizer — the protocol for “contactless” drop-offs and pick-ups. Keeping parents outside to minimize direct interaction, she said, was “hard, because we look forward to having that great relationship with the parents, and that really helps. But we could no longer have that relationship that we once had, because of the pandemic.”

The Pandemic Revealed That Child Care Is Vital Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has created several shifts across the labor landscape while exposing how piecemeal family care policies have left workers in precarious situations. The closure of schools at the end of the spring semester and uneven plans for reopening this fall have prompted questions about how a society and economy can function without sustainable care work. In this interview with M.A.R.CH. co-founder Phuong Nguyen, we discuss what the Memphis-based organization has meant within the vibrant social justice scene and how developing care policies in a right-to-work state could impact the future of childcare movements, both in and out of academia.

Child Care Workers Now Have A Huge New Union

A 17-year organizing campaign in California culminated this week in the successful unionization of 45,000 child care providers—the largest single union election America has seen in years. The campaign is a tangible achievement that brings together union power, political might, and social justice battles for racial and gender equality. Now, the hard part begins. Child Care Providers United (CCPU), the umbrella group now representing workers across the state, is a joint project of several powerful SEIU and AFSCME locals in California.
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