Bill plans the biggest public education expansion in a century

In the struggle on Capitol Hill over immigration, drug pricing, and paid family leave, the Democrats plan to change the way the country provides early childcare. This plan was largely ignored and became its $1.85 trillion social safety net. One of the most expensive and comprehensive clauses in the bill.

At a cost of US$390 billion, the proposal will provide universal preschool education for children aged 3 and 4 years old — the largest expansion of free education since the addition of public high schools about 100 years ago. It will also provide childcare subsidies for the vast majority of parents with children under 6 years of age.

In short, these regulations will transform early childhood education and childcare in the United States from a private, diverse network that favors the rich to a taxpayer-funded system, which can reduce the burden on millions of working parents and low-income families. Democrats began to pay attention to the childcare clause as an intergenerational change that resonated with voters.

“This is a legacy,” said Melissa Boteach, vice president of the National Women’s Law Center. “When you reconsider childcare as a public good, this bill does just that, and you will understand that parents cannot afford it. Providers are already earning poor wages. The way to solve this problem is through large-scale Public investment.”

Democrats argue that if their children do not receive affordable, high-quality care programs, parents—usually mothers—cannot fully participate in the labor market.

They also pointed out that there are significant differences between the United States and other Western developed countries that provide preschool education. As of 2019, only about half of American 3-year-old and 4-year-old children are attending preschool. According to federal statistics.

“My kindergarten teacher told me that on the first day of school, their children didn’t know how to turn a book or pick up a pencil. They automatically started to fall behind,” Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said he was Pre-school teachers who have been advocating this policy for decades. She introduced the legislation with Congressman Robert C. Scott (D-Va.).

Republicans countered that the proposal allows the government to control decisions that are best left to parents. Considering next year’s midterm elections, they said it fits with the broader narrative of the Democratic Party’s intervention in education, such as pandemic closures and school masks requirements.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said: “The Biden administration wants to include itself in the decisions of the closest family and tell parents how to take care of their young children.” “The Democrats want to save the lives of children. In the first five years, a new set of top-down, one-size-fits-all, new regulations that Washington knows best have been included in the first five years.”

Several Republicans complained that the policy would exclude faith-based preschool or daycare programs.

But according to the plan, as long as it meets state and federal requirements, any project can participate, and childcare centers and parents can choose not to participate.

Republicans said that these federal parameters would still exclude some people, such as childcare centers that do not want to comply with new regulations, or grandparents who provide childcare services, or a family whose parents choose not to work outside the home.

Murray said this change should have happened long ago, especially during a pandemic.

We have a country where women cannot work.Our employers are looking for qualified workers,” she said. “The way we support the family, the way we value the family, and the way we ensure the safety of the family in this country is by removing obstacles. [women] Able to do what they need to take care of their family. “

The full implementation of childcare and preschool education policies will take time and will be implemented before 2027-this limiting factor will make the successful and early implementation of the Democratic Party important political significance, they want to ensure that the future Congress can feel the renewal The political pressure of it.

“You won’t be able to take your kids to preschool next week or even next year,” Rep. Jackie Spear (D-Hillsborough) said. “This is the essence of doing transformative things. We will have to prepare everyone, but now is the time for us to do these things.”

exist A bill that is drastically cut compared to the bill that the Democratic Party originally hoped to enact, The childcare policy is relatively well protected and there is no dispute among the Democratic Party.

According to the proposed policy, all children aged 3 and 4, including those without legal status, Regardless of parents’ income, they can guarantee attendance to preschool, which is the largest universal free education since the establishment of a public high school a century ago. According to the National Women’s Law Center. However, going to preschool is voluntary.

In addition, parents of children under the age of 6 whose income is no more than 2.5 times the state median income-this year the income of a family of four in California is approximately $233,760-will receive proportional assistance to help pay for childcare costs, up to a ceiling 7% of their income.

The result will be a reduction of more than 90% of childcare costs for families with young children, according to A group of children’s rights organizations that support the bill.

Each state will decide whether to participate in the program. Accepted states or regions will formulate policies within federal parameters.

In general, policy experts expect states to establish systems that allow parents to choose from a list of participating childcare centers. Subsidies will be transferred directly from the federal government to childcare centers on behalf of eligible parents. Alternatively, parents can obtain a voucher to pay directly to their childcare provider.

A spokesperson for Governor Gavin Newsom said that he “looks forward to using federal funds to strengthen California’s childcare programs.”

Earlier this year, California approved A universal plan for 4 year oldsThis relies mainly on public schools, not on federal programs, which rely on a mixed delivery system of various schools.

Linda Asato, executive director of the California Childcare Resources and Referral Network, an educational policy organization, said the combination of state and federal programs can provide Californians with many different preschool venues.

“This helps California expand its vision for preschool education to include more community-based organizations,” Asato said. She said this will allow the state to expand preschools in ways that it cannot do now.

Keep in mind Many Republican-led states choose not to participate in Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid program. Democrats said that if a state refuses to use the plan, a place can still do so.

Participating childcare centers—whether they are daycare centers, public schools, faith institutions, or enlightenment programs—must operate within federal parameters, and the Biden administration will make this clearer.

Federal and state regulations will determine details such as the length of the day before school age and the length of the school year, and the academic requirements of certain teachers.

In order to solve the serious shortage of workers, employers must also provide a living wage equivalent to that of primary school workers with similar certificates.

Due to the shortage of workers, full implementation will take time, and parental childcare costs may increase Before the subsidy is fully effective, the supplier hires more employees and meets the new education requirements.

If the program starts as planned next year, Only family income is below the state median income -This year, the income of a family of four in California is $93,504-will be eligible for the subsidy. Supporters of the plan expect that when the subsidy is extended to all income levels, the additional expenses for parents will be compensated.

The pandemic has led to the closure of schools and daycare centers, making the childcare industry’s problems more prominent, especially the low wages that cause people to leave the industry.

The national median salary for childcare workers is Before the pandemic, between $11.65 and $14.67 per hour, According to the Child Care Employment Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. The industry has not yet recovered.

The childcare center did not raise wages because doing so may result in prices that many parents cannot afford.

“The role of this bill is to resolve market failures,” said Julie Kashin, a director and senior researcher at the Century Foundation. “The government stepped in and stated that we would raise the wages of early educators and reduce the cost of parents to solve this problem by investing funds.”

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