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Local business leader speaks out in support of universal child care

There’s reams of sound, evidenced-based research out there that links school-readiness, performance, family economic security, and the achievement gap with access to quality childcare.

But it’s not everyday that you hear a passionate plea for universal child care coming from the business community.

That’s exactly what Reyn Bowman, the former CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau for more than 20 years did today in a common-sense Op-Ed in the Durham Herald Sun.

Bowman makes a potent argument against those who typically judge and stereotype low-income parents for their struggles to make ends meet and move up the economic ladder and insists that we as a community and society should do more to make work supports available to such parents, not only for moral reasons but for economic reasons too.

Specifically, Bowman makes the case for expanding access to child care and after-school opportunities to increase employee productivity and reduce the achievement gap. In his words:

Here are just three of many pragmatic reasons why I believe the need for universal childcare/after-school care, especially for single-parent households, is about much more than just household expenses:

–It is pivotal to productivity in the workplace. Working parents must be assured their children are in good hands in order to flex with the demands of the workplace — and the workplace needs single parents.

–It is vital to mental and emotional well-being. Single parents in particular rarely have the backstop caregivers and they need respite so they can function both as good parents at home and good employees in the workplace.

–Most important, it is absolutely critical to closing the achievement or student performance gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children, something crucial both for humanitarian and economic reasons.

Those are some common-sense arguments that deserve hearty consideration from local and state policymakers.

And for those who continue to lob accusations like “laziness” upon hard-working low-income families, Bowman has these words for you:

We can either stay preoccupied with judging and stereotyping people we don’t know and circumstances we know nothing about, or we can make things more productive at work, in the home, in school and in society.

Well said.

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