Thank you, Sharon Lerner, for the piece on child care in Obama's FY2011 budget you penned for the online magazine Slate yesterday. As you noted, too often people who talk about childcare are discussing whether to trust the babysitter, and not the urgent need for better child care and preschool policy in America today.
The article, "Will Obama Help You Get Decent Child Care?", offers some good food for thought on many of the same issues we've been mulling over here at Early Ed Watch: the optimism that comes with President Obama's request for increases in child care funding and Head Start funding during harsh economic times, and the frustration with the fact that, even if Congress decides to carry forth Obama's proposal, funding will still fall eons short of providing America's parents -- particularly those in the middle and lower income brackets -- with a solution that can help to ease the financial burden of childcare.
In her article, Lerner notes that, "While many other developed countries either help provide child care or substantially offset its cost, in most states here the average cost of keeping just one infant full-time at a child care center is now greater than tuition at public college or the average amount families spend on food." Though President Obama has proposed an increase to the Child Care Tax Credit to help middle- and lower-income families, Early Ed Watch has looked at the numbers and found that the increase will still only cover a fraction of child care costs for most families, and that it won't mean much to those in income brackets that typically collect tax refunds instead of paying taxes each April. The good news, though, is that after prolonged silence, child care is being taken seriously as a policy issue.