First it was free college. Then, Medicare-for-All.
Now, Bernie Sanders has revealed his plan for universal childcare and preschool. The program would come at an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years according to Sanders’ campaign.
Naturally, Sanders promised that his program would be paid for by the richest Americans through a wealth tax, similar to every other proposal he has pushed.
Take a look at what’s being said:
Fox Business reports:
Sanders' plan would provide child care for kids under the age of 3 and pre-k education for kids 3 and over."
Childcare must be guaranteed for every child regardless of their parents' income, just like K-12 education. We know that the first four years of a child's life are the most important years of human development, so it is unconscionable that in the wealthiest country in the world, we do not properly invest in early childhood education," Sanders said in a statement.
Sanders' plan also touched on raising wages for child care workers, who make $11.42 per hour on average, according to 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He supports a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage.
The senator also wants all lead teachers are paid "no less than similarly qualified kindergarten teachers" and have bachelor's degrees in early childhood education or child development.
Sanders' plan would provide child care at least 10 hours a day and include options for parents with non-traditional hours.
Politico also reported:
The democratic socialist candidate is trying to solve a costly dilemma faced by households with young children and working parents — and a persistent problem for poor families.
About 34 percent of children with college-educated parents attended full-day preschool programs in 2017, according to a recent study from the Child Trends research group cited by Sanders’ campaign. By contrast, only 18 percent of children whose parents had less than a high school degree attended full-day preschool.
This isn’t the first idea of its kind to come from Trump’s challengers, but now Sanders is expanding a trademark populist promise. Families would have guaranteed free child care and pre-K spots in their communities, supervised by fairly paid professionals. Using the program, the Sanders campaign claims, “will be as straightforward as dropping your child off at school.”
“As president, we will guarantee free, universal childcare and pre-kindergarten to every child in America to help level the playing field, create new and good jobs, and enable parents [to] more easily balance the demands of work and home,” Sanders said.
Sanders is proposing a free child care program that would be funded by the federal government, then administered by states and tribes in collaboration with local public school systems. Federal funding would “cover the full cost of child care services," but also pay for workers and finance infrastructure expenses.
The plan, according to the campaign, would provide at least 10 hours of daily child care for infants and children up to age 3, regardless of family income. The federal government would set minimum worker wages and mandate “low child-to-adult ratios and small group sizes” for services.
When it comes to pre-K, Sanders would guarantee access to “full-day, full-week” programs for children starting at age 3. The federal government would pay for that too, but pre-K programs would be “locally administered.”