Parents in the U.S. pay a staggering amountÂ for care for their young childrenâ€”and here, as in so many other areas, the support they get from their government falls short of what peer nations provide. A new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows just how big the problem is, and what itâ€™s costing the economy.
With government spending predictably lagging other countries (as a share of GDP), parents spend $42 billion a year on early care and education. Itâ€™s so expensive that many parents leave the paid workforce or scale back their hours, losing $30-35 billion in the process.
Meanwhile, the patchwork early care and education system leaves many teachers wildly underpaid, with a median of $25,218 a year in salry. Almost one in five liveÂ in poverty. The teacher at a preschool makes dramatically less than the kindergarten teacher who gets the same kids a year later.
Several of the Democrats running for president have proposed major overhauls of this broken system: universal childcare was one of Sen. Elizabeth Warrenâ€™sÂ first policy plans,Â Sen. Bernie Sanders has endorsed universal childcare in broader strokes, and Pete Buttigieg has anÂ ambitious planÂ as well.
Check out the details of early care and education funding for your state.
This article was originally published at Daily Kos on January 20, 2020. Reprinted with permission.