Why "Lean In, Grandma" Is Not the Answer to Our Child Care Problem

Two articles appeared within a single news cycle about women in the work force and child care, from two totally different vantage points. The titles are revealing -- in the New York Times, Crushed by the Cost of Child Care, from the Washington Post, Lean In, and Lean On Grandma. Clearly, looking after the very young is a major problem for American families. If parents do it, their ability to earn an income is hit hard and may never recover, even if and when they do go back to paid work. If they pay someone else to do it, a different kind of cost is incurred. Child care is hugely expensive, the quality of care varies greatly, and work hours often don't align with the hours care is available. Not surprisingly, a mother alone cannot solve the dilemma, and she is the most likely parent to be on the front lines. ...more
My own mom and dad are taking turns watching my kids while I'm traveling this week, so I think ...more

Pre-K As Policy, Not Politics

My favorite part of the President's State of the Union address was his plan for expanding pre-kindergarten to all four-year-olds. The idea has been around for decades, and it did once very nearly become law until it was vetoed by President Nixon. But in the past 40 years, two big parts of the early education picture have shifted dramatically. The first is that we know for a fact that quality preschool will positively affect the child's life through adulthood. The second is that preschool is no longer used as a weapon to make mothers feel guilty....more

The Kids Are (Not) All Right

The first debate in this presidential campaign season is remarkable not for what the candidates said, but for what they didn't say. In spite of the fact that the Presidency cannot be won without a majority of women's votes, discussion of the economy and health care was narrow and bogged down in mindless detail. Worse, Governor Romney and President Obama seem to think that anyone can show up for a job at any time, regardless of what may be going on at home. It's astounding that our candidates can be so focused on jobs and the economy and not explicitly address childcare....more