Who Could Possibly Oppose Universal Pre-K?
4. It's not clear what the motive is.
Is this about what's best for kids or the workforce? Democrats lean toward getting moms into the office as a top priority, which reflects their college-educated, work-as-self-expression bias. In 2017, introducing a similar day care/pre-K package, Nancy Pelosi explained, "We see this as children learning, parents earning." When Susan Rice, head of the Domestic Policy Council, spoke to columnists about the American Families Plan, she said, "We want parents to be in the work force."
But parents don't necessarily have the same preferences. A 2019 Pew survey found that 76% of adults believed that full-time work is ideal for fathers but only 33% thought that about mothers. Among full-time working mothers, only 45% think this is ideal. Forty-one percent said part-time work was best, and 11% favored no work at all for women with young children.
5. There is a better way to help families.
Give the money to the parents. The child tax credit that Biden has already signed is a great start. Direct payments to parents would be a far better way to support families. With the extra cash, parents can choose whether to have one parent stay at home when the kids are 5 and under (even if there is only one parent), or to use the funds to pay for child care. It gives the decision to the parents, who know best what suits their circumstances. And by giving the purchasing power to parents, it will encourage competition among providers. Also, it turns out that putting money directly in parents' pockets does more to improve children's school readiness than pre-K programs.
The Biden administration wants to help, which is great. They propose to do so without considering the massive evidence that such programs are neither effective nor desired by parents.
Just give moms and dads the money.
Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast. Her most recent book is "Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense." To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.