Entries by Christina Ewig


Child Care in the United States: Exceptionalism Redux

In child care policy, as in so many other realms of public life, the United States has taken its own—distinctive– course. Unlike most other wealthy market societies today, the US has failed to develop a nationwide, government-subsidized and -regulated system of child care, resulting in what many call a “patchwork” of services.To address this gap, many prominent political figures are currently proposing major plans for a federal child care program. These politicians include not only declared Democratic presidential candidates, but also first daughter Ivanka Trump. Most of them, however, fall short of the best programs to be found elsewhere among advanced economies.


High-Cost Childcare, Low-Income Providers

The childcare and preschool labor market has long been characterized by low wages and high turnover despite ample evidence that quality care is critical to child development.  That’s because, as families struggle with the cost of early care and education (ECE), teachers and care providers describe being paid “less than parking lot attendants and dog walkers.” They, too, are struggling.Virtually all (95%) of this workforce is female, with women of color making up a greater share of the care providers and teachers who have less than a college degree.


Public pre-school expanded kids’ entitlement to childcare, but not women’s entitlement to gender equality

How do reformers win government subsidies for childcare in a country in which both the public and policymakers view the care of small children as a family—rather than state—responsibility?  Feminists have long contended that affordable childcare, like access to abortions, equal pay, and an end to sexual harassment, is a necessary precondition for gender equality (though, as Lynn Chancer observes, childcare is much less visible as a feminist issue today as it was in the 1960s). And advocates have argued since the 1980s that the reality of the two-earner American family requires state-subsidized, high-quality childcare. Still, the federal government has maintained a strikingly limited role in assisting working parents with the cost or provision of childcare.Public preschool presents one recent exception:  by re-framing “childcare” as “early childhood care and education,” reformers have successfully expanded state investments.