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POTUS Goes to Congress for Early Ed, FLOTUS Goes to Recording Studio for Healthy Kids


CHILD CARE COSTS:  WHAT DO YOU PAY?  Published by CNN Money. Source-National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies



Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Support for early education runs deep. 84 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of moderates back President Obama’s early education initiative. However, because it appears unlikely funding for it will come from a stalemated Congress, Politico reports the Obama Administration will bypass Congress and allocate hundreds of millions of discretionary dollars to kick-off the program.  

The President’s strategy involves allocating funds through the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. Oversight of the competitive grants will be the responsibility of the Office of Early Learning headed by Libby Doggett. Additional funding will be channeled through the ACA’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. Jumpstarting early education in a few key states is the tactic by which the President hopes to rally the enthusiastic public and get us to coax the recalcitrant members of Congress to fund universal preschool for every American kid.

Quality child care costs an arm and a leg.  61 percent of American children under 5 are in some form of regular child care arrangement.  On average the cost of full-time daycare for 4-year old ranges from $3,900 to $11,700 per year, and the cost of full-time infant care ranges from about 7 percent to 16 percent of a married couple’s income.  Recently, The Nation documented the experiences of 3 in-home or “family childcare” providers, people who care for children from low- and middle-income households. Without healthcare or other benefits, the average in-home childcare worker cares for our children for about $19,000 per year. K.J. Dell’Antonia calls this subsidized child care—for the poor, by the poor. 

The data from the Center for Disease Control demonstrating obesity rates dropping among low-income preschoolers has the First Lady strutting her stuff.  The songs, “Veggie Luv” and “U R What You Eat,” are part of an album of hip-hop songs inspired by the “Let’s Move Campaign.”

One reason cited by CDC officials for the weight loss is the wider availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in the federal nutrition programs.  For a peek into how babies, toddlers and preschoolers are responding to a daily diet of fresh fruit, healthy grains and lots of veggies in between, check out this story from the WaPo.  For information on a study from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology claiming babies who eat more fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop food allergies, access the abstract, here.

Twenty years ago this month, Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act – legislation often described as influential but incomplete.  Viewed as a first step on the road to a family-friendly America, the Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave to attend to the serious health condition of the employee, parent, spouse or child, or for pregnancy or care of a newborn child, or for adoption or foster care of a child. 

Since its enactment, the FMLA has been used more than 100 million times and California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have expanded upon the law offering paid insurance programs.  However, because the FMLA applies only to companies employing 50 or more employees, 40 percent of U.S. workers receive no benefits under its provisions.  Earlier this year the Senate Appropriations Committee highlighting the FMLA’s deficiencies drafted seeds for a remedy – the State Paid Leave Fund, $5 million in grants to states that wish to establish paid leave programs and provide benefits to workers.

In honor of the FMLA’s anniversary, the National Partnership for Women and Families released the sixth edition of the FMLA Guide to help navigate the law.  For key facts about the FMLA, read this.  According to recent polling, 86 percent of voters nationwide belief paid sick days and paid family and medical leave insurance are important to help keep families financially secure.  Family friendly policies produce positive outcomes for everyone, even the small business owners.

SB 770, a bill expanding California's Paid Family Leave law to include workers caring for ailing grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws passed the Assembly Insurance Committee.  In May, it passed in the State Senate by a 29-10 vote.  California received an additional $22.4 million grant for early learning programs under the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.  Much of the money is earmarked to develop a quality rating system for early childhood care and education programs.  Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1266, the bill allowing transgender students to participate in school sports, activities and facilities based on how they identify their gender.  The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is "terrifically pleased."



“…throwing more money into the nation’s education system is not the right answer to the challenges facing our classrooms.” House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) explaining why he is opposed to funding President Obama’s universal preschool initiative.

We do have this fundamental responsibility to be thinking through what our country is going to look like in 15, 20 years.” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell at a discussion hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Center for American Progress on early childhood education discussion expressing why he believes an investment in universal preschool is necessary. 

Fresh broccoli — they eat it like candy.”  Evon Gaither, head cook at the at the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center in Washington, D.C. commenting on how the kids on site are responding to a new, healthy diet comprised of fresh vegetables and fruit.

We’ll talk exercise.  Not Politics.”  The rap exchanged between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Hip Hop Doc on the new music video, “Everybody,” one of the songs encouraging children to exercise and choose healthy foods on the album, “Songs for a Healthier America.”



POVERTY BY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT  Published by Pew.  August 9, 2013.  Source-The Brookings Institution.



EVERBODY.  You Tube.  June 3, 2013.  Source-The Partnership for a Healthier America.

First release from the album, “Songs for a Healthier America,” an album inspired by “Let’s Move!”-- Michelle Obama’s campaign to address childhood obesity.




Fact Sheet President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans

Kline Statement: Hearing on “Reviewing the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Proposal for the U.S. Department of Education.”

Obama administration presses forward on early education

U.S. Department of Education—Office of Early Learning

Education Department Picks New Leader for Early-Learning Office

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program



Crisis in Childcare Rings New Alarm Bells

Child care costs vary widely from state to state

Who’s Minding the Kids?  Child Care Arrangements:  Spring 2011.  U.S. Census.  Issued April 2013.

Why Do the People Raising Our Children Earn Poverty Wages?

Subsidized Child Care: For the Poor, By the Poor

Child care costs: What do you pay?



Vital Signs: Obesity Among Low-Income, Preschool-Aged Children – United States, 2008–2011

Can you beat Michelle Obama's hip-hop for healthy eating?

Music Stars Join First Lady to Get Youths Off the Couch

Starting healthful habits when kids are young

Extra Daily Serving Of Fruits or Vegetables Can Save Lives and Billions in Health Care Costs

Why Is Childhood Obesity Down Among Poor Kids?

The Surprising (But Easy!) Way to Protect Your Baby From Food Allergies



Family and Medical Leave Act.  Wage and Hour Division  U.S. Department of Labor.

20 Years Ago Today, America Became a More Family-friendly Nation – And We Must Do It Again

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

A Look at the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2012 Medical Leave Act Employee and Worksite Surveys  February 2013.  National Partnership for Women and Families.

“The Family and Medical Leave Act Laid the Foundation for a Family Friendly America; It Is Past Time for Our National Leaders to Build Upon It.”

Celebrate the Family and Medical Leave Act – and Expand It

Summary: Fiscal Year 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.  July 9, 2013

State of California-Employment Development Department.  Paid Family Leave.

State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  Family Leave Insurance.

Rhode Island Poised To Be Third State With Paid Family Leave

Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Celebrating 20 Years and 100 Million Stories  National Partnership for Women and Families.  6th Edition-2013.

 20 Facts For The 20th Anniversary Of America’s Family Leave Policy

New Poll Shows Bipartisan Voter Mandate for Family Friendly Workplace Policies

Study Finds Paid Family Leave Leads to Positive Economic Outcomes

When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: Linking Women’s Economic Security and Small Business Success



Bill To Expand California’s Paid Family Leave Law Clears Committee

Calif. Lawmakers Advance Bill Expanding Paid Family Leave

California awarded additional $22 Million Race to the Top Grant for Early Learning

Brown signs transgender students’ rights bill

California transgender students given access to opposite-sex programs

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