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April 2, 2024

Proposed Drastic Changes to Child Care

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
– Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013, anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa

Elliot Haspel, in an Early Learning Nation column, describes an issue that is directly relevant to everyone in early care and education. Haspel writes:

“Unless you’re a political junkie, the phrase ‘Project 2025’ probably doesn’t mean much to you, but it should. As PBS Newshour reported:

Led by the long-established Heritage Foundation think tank and fueled by former Trump administration officials, the far-reaching effort is essentially a government-in-waiting for the former president’s second term—or any candidate who aligns with their ideals and can defeat President Joe Biden in 2024.
With a nearly 1,000-page ‘Project 2025’ handbook and an ‘army’ of Americans, the idea is to have the civic infrastructure in place on Day One to commandeer, reshape and do away with what Republicans deride as the “deep state” bureaucracy…

“That handbook has now been made public, and the early learning bullets are a rough read. Perhaps most alarmingly, the authors recommend the literal end of Head Start: ‘this program should be eliminated along with the entire [Office of Head Start].’ No replacement program is suggested, so following through on that idea would result in nearly one million lower-income children and their parents losing access to free child care and wraparound family support.

“When it comes to child care more broadly, Project 2025 suggests the government ‘prioritize funding for home-based child care, not universal day care…Instead of providing universal day care, funding should go to parents either to offset the cost of staying home with a child or to pay for familial, in-home child care.’ I have argued many times that there should be financial support for family, friends, and neighbor (FFN) caregivers as well as stay-at-home parents, but such a proposal ignores the millions of parents who want and need external child care. Doing what the authors recommend would, ironically, restrict parental choices.”

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