To Parents of Young Children in Wisconsin

Have you read about the benefits you’ll gain from the proposals in President Biden’s Build Back Better framework? We’re on the precipice of significant help for you and the child care teacher you love. Join me in supporting this legislation!

I’m a retired early-childhood educator who worked both as a teacher and an administrator since 1974. Even in a nonprofit, the budget in a child care center does not work. 

Biden’s Build Back Better framework outlines a plan to limit child care costs for families to no more than 7% of income for families earning up to 250% of state median income. Right now in Door County, the average tuition for a 3-year-old in child care is $838 per month – more than many mortgages. Many parents are currently paying 40% of their income for child care, yet many teachers must have two jobs to support themselves. How life changing it would be for both families and the child care workforce to have well-deserved resources. 

Child care centers in Wisconsin are losing teachers because of the difficulties from COVID-19. Add COVID-19 problems to the regular challenges of teaching young children. Great care and education for children gives them better social skills, supports their emotional development, challenges them intellectually to gain the advantages for school readiness, and gives them the fine- and gross-motor skills to build a strong body. 

It goes without saying that parents can’t return to work without affordable child care and education, and early-childhood teachers with and without college degrees are leaving the profession for good-paying jobs with benefits. We can’t balance the economy of child care on the backs of child care teachers, paying them poor wages and providing no benefits.

Naysayers will say that the federal government doesn’t have the responsibility to educate young children. Knowing that the first seven years are the most important, high-quality child care with a well-educated workforce seems to be one of the most productive ways of using our collective resources.

Becky Van Houten

Fish Creek, Wisconsin