“In 2013, Germany declared that every child over the age of 1 has the legal right to a space in a public daycare facility. This past fall, while America’s election unfolded, Germany’s highest court took this mandate one step further: It ruled that parents may sue for lost wages if they can’t find a place for their child in a public daycare center. This decision came in response to three mothers who filed a lawsuit declaring that authorities neglected to create the necessary daycare slots required by the 2013 ruling. Because the mothers couldn’t find a child-care center with any openings in their hometown of Leipzig, their lawyers argued that they were unable to return to work after giving birth, resulting in a loss of earnings. Chief Justice Ulrich Herrmann ruled in the mothers’ favor on October 20. (Stay-at-home parents, by contrast, wouldn’t have damages to recoup because a lack of child-care availability hasn’t resulted in a loss of wages.)
Archive for the ‘International’ Category
We usually blog about the policy side of preschool. So, we were struck by “The Preschool Podcast: For Leaders in Early Childhood Education,” which strikes a powerful personal note in its recent podcast, “Impact of High-Quality Pre-K Programs.”
Don’t be fooled by the plain name. In this episode, lawyer Liz Huntley recalls her own harrowing history and her very personal reasons for supporting early education.
“I’m passionate about it because I’m actually a product of it. I grew up in a situation that no child should have ever survived. And if it hadn’t been for early childhood I certainly would not be a successful lawyer today.”
“Both my parents were drug dealers,” Huntley says. She lived with her mother, father, and four siblings in a housing project in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntley and her siblings were the product of her mother’s relationships with four different men. (more…)
A bracing article describes that the United States has become “one of the worst countries in the developed world for children under five.”
Published by the Hechinger Report, the article’s headline declares, “What do we invest in the country’s youngest? Little to nothing.”
Hechinger sounds the refrain of “little to nothing” again and again, pointing out that the country could do better.
In fact, the United States has “provided universal public preschool before, for a few years during World War II. That program ended in 1946.”
And in 1971, “a bipartisan bill that would have created universal daycare” was vetoed by President Richard Nixon.
This has hurt the country. (more…)
This month in the Washington Post, Jared Bernstein makes a strong case for battling social inequality by investing in high-quality early education and care.
Bernstein was Vice President Biden’s chief economist, and he is currently a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The title of his article is: “The biggest public policy mistake we’re continuing to make, year after year.” The article’s tagline adds: “By not investing in quality early childhood education, we’re leaving vulnerable kids behind and lots of future benefits on the table.”
“It is widely agreed that while we do not seek equal outcomes in America, we do aspire to equal opportunity, at least in theory,” he writes in the Post. “We have, however, never come close to that ideal, particularly as regards minorities and those with few resources. A great way to correct that is to invest more national resources in early childhood education.” (more…)
“Early-childhood education is one of the few spots where Singapore is not yet a world leader. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Singapore 29th in the world in terms of its early-childhood education system; the United States ranked 24th. Yet the reaction between the two countries could not be starker. What went largely unremarked in the U.S. became an urgent national call to action in Singapore. As a result, the government has announced new funding initiatives for subsidies for parents and childcare centers, new sources of scholarship money for teachers, and the creation of new preschools and kindergartens.”
“Inspiring a World of Good Through Early-Childhood Education in Singapore,” a Huffington Post article by Jackie Jenkins-Scott, president of Wheelock College, January 29, 2015
“To Rescue Economy, Japan Turns to Supermom,” a New York Times headline announced earlier this month.
One of those supermoms is Chiaki Kitajima, an advertising executive in Tokyo. She told the Times that when she was pregnant with the first of her three sons, “her bosses were shocked that rather than accept reduced hours and a demotion after maternity leave, she made a presentation on why the company should subsidize child care.”
“I had to fight to convince them that supporting me was a good investment,” Kitajima said. She is currently “the creative director of her advertising agency but says mothers at her professional level remain rare.”
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to change that by creating circumstances that encourage “Japanese women to have it all.”
An article on the Huffington Post website adds: “Currently, 50 to 60 percent of Japanese women quit work after giving birth. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new initiative, dubbed ‘womenomics,’ aims to break down traditional male-oriented corporate culture and make it easier for women to keep jobs and advance their careers while raising children.” (more…)
“We Americans love children.
“Indeed, we love them so much that, on average, child care workers earn almost as much per hour ($10.33) as workers who care for animals ($10.82), according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley.
“We love them so much that only 38 percent of American 3-year-olds are enrolled in education programs. The average is 70 percent among the 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“So if politicians are genuinely looking for a bipartisan issue to break through the Washington gridlock, here’s a suggestion: invest in early education.”
“Do Politicians Love Kids?” by New York Times Op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, November 19, 2014