President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Tuesday containing more than 50 actions aimed at advancing free preschool, expanding care for children and improving the work life of caregivers.
Kimberly Kopko is a senior extension associate in Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology. Her research focuses on child development, parenting and family processes.
“President Biden’s executive order to improve access to child care is a nod to a much-needed benefit for families. However, true improvement would achieve the goal of providing access to high-quality child care for all families.
“The United States, where child care is seen more as a private responsibility, consistently ranks at the bottom for weak investments in leave and child care, despite the overwhelming research evidence of the positive effects of high-quality child care on numerous developmental outcomes for children.”
Cathy Creighton is director of Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations Buffalo Co-Lab. She says that because Congress hasn’t acted to make changes, or increased resources for child care, it has fallen to states to address a problem that requires large investments of public resources.
“While the new rates and increased eligibility in the New York State 2022 budget were a step forward, they did not result in child care workers earning close to a living wage, and they did not fix the fundamental problems of the child care system.
“Today’s executive order does what it can to improve child-care accessibility and funding for federal employees and military families, increase wages of Head Start teachers and staff and assist Native Americans in creating more opportunities for child care.
“While these actions are ‘eating around the edges’ of a gigantic problem, the President has a strong bully pulpit and the opportunity to act as a model for change. So, while the changes are not significant, they may resonate across America.”