To the editor:
After college, I worked full-time. But once I had my first child, my husband and I decided that one of us should stay home because of the high cost of child care – that ended up being me. Having the majority of a full-time paycheck go towards child care is not a situation unfamiliar to most Americans.
Nine years later, we have two daughters and I am back to full-time work. When it came time for my youngest to enter pre-kindergarten, we realized that our household income was too high to qualify for public pre-K. Private pre-K was out of reach for our family.
During the pandemic, we kept both our children at home while we worked remotely. With help from some educator peers, we ordered workbooks and we tried our best to enrich both our girls' educations. It was tough on all of us to balance this.
Without pre-K, our youngest missed out on the social interactions that are important preparation for kindergarten. Because our state has not prioritized universal public pre-K, there are many families like ours that can’t access quality early childhood education.
My daughter goes to kindergarten this fall, but I remain a fierce advocate for affordable child care for young kids, better pay for early-childhood educators, universal pre-kindergarten across the country, and paid leave for working caretakers. The American Families Plan would lift some of this burden from working families and give us peace of mind, knowing that our children are taken care of in a way that we can afford.