I believe that To Do lists are an art form. There’s nothing more beautiful than a list of things you need to get done with every single item crossed off of it. Crossing off an action item gives me such a sense of accomplishment that I usually put things I’ve already done on the list, just to cross them off.
In a major speech yesterday about economic mobility, President Obama shared one of his To Do lists with us. The items on this list are much more important than the ones on my usual lists. These items are the legislative and administrative priorities that will help fix the growing problem of income inequality in the United States.
Before sharing his “roadmap” with us, the President started with a reality check. He was blunt about the fact that our economy has become profoundly unequal and families have become more insecure. He drove home the point that we are living in a country that once promised success for those who worked hard, but is now faced with rapidly rising inequality and decreasing upward mobility in a way that “challenges the essence of who we are as a people.” Each fall NWLC analyzes the poverty data put out by the Census bureau, and those sobering statistics illustrate exactly what the President is talking about. I couldn’t agree more with the President when he said that these trends are bad for families, bad for the economy, bad for social cohesion, and bad for democracy. Read more »
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the holiday shopping season is officially in full swing. But while some of us retreat to the internet to avoid frenzied shoppers at the mall, the season is far more stressful for many of the workers restocking store shelves and serving meals in the food court (and not just because they have to deal with swarms of cranky customers). For millions of employees in retail, fast food, and other industries that pay poverty-level wages, the end of the year means hard work and higher expenses – without any chance of a holiday bonus.
Fortunately, there’s movement on the minimum wage in a number of states and localities – and even some encouraging signs nationally. Today, in a major speech on economic mobility, President Obama renewed his call to raise the minimum wage. Recognizing the link between the low minimum wage and widening economic inequality, he described an increase as a key piece of an agenda to restore opportunity for all. Read more »
“Crushed by the Cost of Child Care,” an article in Sunday’s New York Times, highlights a dilemma faced by millions of families. It is not a new or a surprising story. Ask any parent in any community across this country what one of your biggest challenges is and they will say finding affordable and high-quality child care.
While we have made some progress over the years, putting in place programs to help low-income families with the cost of child care, federal and state funding is actually on a downward slide. It is hard to explain why we do not provide more help to families in affording child care given that the case for investing in young children is so strong. Child care plays two critical roles that support our economy. It helps children access the high-quality early learning environments that they need to succeed and it helps parents work and support their families. Yet we have not found the will to ensure that all our children and their families, especially the most vulnerable, have the early childhood opportunities they need.
For the sake of nation’s children, families, and economy, we need to do better. This will require policymakers to step up their commitment to child care. Read more »
“If we don't make this investment [in education], we're going to put our kids, our workers and our country at a competitive disadvantage for decades. So we have to begin in the earliest years, and that's why I'm going to keep pushing to make high-quality preschool available for every four-year-old in America. Not just because we know it works for our kids, but because it provides a vital support system for working parents.” —President Obama, July 24, 2013
President Obama, speaking to a crowd in Galesburg, Illinois highlighted the importance that high-quality early childhood care and education plays in ensuring that our youngest children are poised for upward mobility and success in life—and in building a strong economy that works for all Americans. The President made clear that early education is a key component of ensuring the country’s economic prosperity. He also emphasized that early education benefits both children and their parents.
Ensuring that children have affordable, high-quality early care and education means that parents are able to participate in the workforce, have the peace of mind they need to be productive at work, and provide for their families. When parents are able to work and contribute their talents, they also help make our economy as a whole more vibrant. Read more »
So yesterday was a REALLY exciting day for me! I was invited to the White House to see President Obama give a speech on the health care law, a.k.a. Obamacare. There are a lot of beneficial parts of the health care law for young women such as myself, like no co-pay preventive services and no longer being charged more for insurance by simply being a woman. I was asked to come to the White House because a few months ago I received a rebate from my insurance company. Yes, my insurance company sent me a check as opposed to a bill. The reason for this is that there is a provision in Obamacare that says that insurance companies have to use 80% of premium costs on care. If insurance companies do not use the majority of funds on care then they need to return the difference. Pretty great, right?
How it worked for me was that because I have insurance through NWLC, they received the check and the amount that normally comes out of my paycheck for my insurance plan was less. Some people might not even realize that they received the rebate but I was watching for it. Full disclosure, I have a lot of student loans, but on one of my loans I was really close to paying it off. When I received that extra amount in my paycheck, I was actually able to pay off one of my student loans!! Read more »
The hashtag “#PreKForAll” was trending on Twitter nationwide less than 30 minutes into the National Women’s Law Center’s “Tweetchat,” which encouraged conversation about the importance of high-quality early learning opportunities. The chat was held as part of this week’s national Early Learning Day of Action, which aimed to generate support for increased investments in these programs.
Senators Patty Murray, Dick Durbin and Kirsten Gillibrand, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Paulette Aniskoff all joined the conversation that would continue for hours beyond its allotted one-hour time slot. Read more »
At a recent forum held by the Center for American Progress, New York Times columnist Gail Collins said, “If there was going to be a cause that would hook the general needs of society with the most pressing needs of women with something that virtually everyone in the universe agrees with….it would be early childhood education.” Collins noted that early education addresses numerous challenges, from income inequality to parents’ need for child care while they work. Yet she also said that early education isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Read more »
I am a proud aunt to a very precocious kindergartener. I remember when she was three and she shocked the whole family with her grasp of complex verb tenses. And over Memorial Day, she astonished me with her adept reading of Amelia Bedelia.
Her language and reading skills are extremely impressive and so are her pre-math, writing, and interpersonal skills. I’d like to think it’s solely because she shares some of my genetic material, but I know her wonderful prekindergarten experiences deserve credit too.
Starting as an infant, my niece was exposed to rich early childhood experiences, with her parents and extended family, at her family child care home, and then at preschool. She listened to stories, sang songs, played games, colored pictures, and the list goes on.
Young children love a good time and clamor to go to the local carnival. They are eager to ride the merry-go-round and hop on the ferris wheel. They want to eat their fill of cotton candy and candy corn, and have their parents play games to win them a stuffed teddy bear.
Today we are holding a different kind of carnival for our children. Adults across the country who care about a better future for our children are blogging to help give them more opportunities for high-quality early education. I am excited to join this “blog carnival” with so many others who understand that high-quality early learning is a key to keeping the smile on these young children’s sweet faces. Read more »