By Liz Simons, EdSource, December 17, 2020
California’s Master Plan for Early Learning and Care may seem at first glance like an overly forward-looking plan in this time of urgent need. But the plan is a template for a better life, not only for our youngest children, whose futures hinge on their access to quality early learning and care, but for women — working mothers and the early childhood workforce, almost all women, disproportionately women of color.
Unfurled during a tidal wave of Covid-19, looming shelter-in-place orders threaten to shut down even more of the already devastated child care system and force even more women, who continue to shoulder the brunt of child care, to leave the workforce to care for their children.
Even before the pandemic, our early child care and education system was stretched to the breaking point, with salaries on par with fast-food workers — so low that nearly 60% of educators and caregivers relied on public assistance, like food stamps, to survive.