POTUS Goes to Congress for Early Ed, FLOTUS Goes to Recording Studio for Healthy Kids
INTERACTIVE OF THE DAY
CHILD CARE COSTS: WHAT DO YOU PAY? Published by CNN Money. Source-National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Support for early education runs deep. 84 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of moderates back President Obama’s early education initiative. However, because it appears unlikely funding for it will come from a stalemated Congress, Politico reports the Obama Administration will bypass Congress and allocate hundreds of millions of discretionary dollars to kick-off the program.
The President’s strategy involves allocating funds through the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. Oversight of the competitive grants will be the responsibility of the Office of Early Learning headed by Libby Doggett. Additional funding will be channeled through the ACA’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. Jumpstarting early education in a few key states is the tactic by which the President hopes to rally the enthusiastic public and get us to coax the recalcitrant members of Congress to fund universal preschool for every American kid.
Quality child care costs an arm and a leg. 61 percent of American children under 5 are in some form of regular child care arrangement. On average the cost of full-time daycare for 4-year old ranges from $3,900 to $11,700 per year, and the cost of full-time infant care ranges from about 7 percent to 16 percent of a married couple’s income. Recently, The Nation documented the experiences of 3 in-home or “family childcare” providers, people who care for children from low- and middle-income households. Without healthcare or other benefits, the average in-home childcare worker cares for our children for about $19,000 per year. K.J. Dell’Antonia calls this subsidized child care—for the poor, by the poor.
The data from the Center for Disease Control demonstrating obesity rates dropping among low-income preschoolers has the First Lady strutting her stuff. The songs, “Veggie Luv” and “U R What You Eat,” are part of an album of hip-hop songs inspired by the “Let’s Move Campaign.”
One reason cited by CDC officials for the weight loss is the wider availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in the federal nutrition programs. For a peek into how babies, toddlers and preschoolers are responding to a daily diet of fresh fruit, healthy grains and lots of veggies in between, check out this story from the WaPo. For information on a study from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology claiming babies who eat more fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop food allergies, access the abstract, here.
Twenty years ago this month, Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act – legislation often described as influential but incomplete. Viewed as a first step on the road to a family-friendly America, the Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave to attend to the serious health condition of the employee, parent, spouse or child, or for pregnancy or care of a newborn child, or for adoption or foster care of a child.
Since its enactment, the FMLA has been used more than 100 million times and California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have expanded upon the law offering paid insurance programs. However, because the FMLA applies only to companies employing 50 or more employees, 40 percent of U.S. workers receive no benefits under its provisions. Earlier this year the Senate Appropriations Committee highlighting the FMLA’s deficiencies drafted seeds for a remedy – the State Paid Leave Fund, $5 million in grants to states that wish to establish paid leave programs and provide benefits to workers.
In honor of the FMLA’s anniversary, the National Partnership for Women and Families released the sixth edition of the FMLA Guide to help navigate the law. For key facts about the FMLA, read this. According to recent polling, 86 percent of voters nationwide belief paid sick days and paid family and medical leave insurance are important to help keep families financially secure. Family friendly policies produce positive outcomes for everyone, even the small business owners.
SB 770, a bill expanding California's Paid Family Leave law to include workers caring for ailing grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws passed the Assembly Insurance Committee. In May, it passed in the State Senate by a 29-10 vote. California received an additional $22.4 million grant for early learning programs under the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. Much of the money is earmarked to develop a quality rating system for early childhood care and education programs. Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1266, the bill allowing transgender students to participate in school sports, activities and facilities based on how they identify their gender. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is "terrifically pleased."
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“…throwing more money into the nation’s education system is not the right answer to the challenges facing our classrooms.” House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) explaining why he is opposed to funding President Obama’s universal preschool initiative.
“We do have this fundamental responsibility to be thinking through what our country is going to look like in 15, 20 years.” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell at a discussion hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Center for American Progress on early childhood education discussion expressing why he believes an investment in universal preschool is necessary.
“Fresh broccoli — they eat it like candy.” Evon Gaither, head cook at the at the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center in Washington, D.C. commenting on how the kids on site are responding to a new, healthy diet comprised of fresh vegetables and fruit.
“We’ll talk exercise. Not Politics.” The rap exchanged between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Hip Hop Doc on the new music video, “Everybody,” one of the songs encouraging children to exercise and choose healthy foods on the album, “Songs for a Healthier America.”
POVERTY BY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT Published by Pew. August 9, 2013. Source-The Brookings Institution.
EVERBODY. You Tube. June 3, 2013. Source-The Partnership for a Healthier America.
First release from the album, “Songs for a Healthier America,” an album inspired by “Let’s Move!”-- Michelle Obama’s campaign to address childhood obesity.
Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2011. U.S. Census. Issued April 2013.
OBESITY, HIP-HOP AND FRUITS AND VEGGIES
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT
Family and Medical Leave Act. Wage and Hour Division U.S. Department of Labor.
A Look at the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2012 Medical Leave Act Employee and Worksite Surveys February 2013. National Partnership for Women and Families.
State http://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/paid_family_leave.htm of California-Employment Development Department. Paid Family Leave.
Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act. Celebrating 20 Years and 100 Million Stories National Partnership for Women and Families. 6th Edition-2013.