For the past several weeks, much of Washington has focused on the Senate’s efforts to pass a bill to replace No Child Left Behind. While the discussion has focused on many important topics, the primary education setting for 12 million children has not been part of the conversation: child care.
When policymakers discuss education, child care is rarely mentioned. And to some extent, that is understandable. Most child care in the U.S. is poor or mediocre when it comes to quality and is designed to enable parents to work rather than to educate children. At the same time, the majority of young children under five have working parents and spend a considerable amount of their formative years in child care. If we want children to be adequately prepared for success in elementary school, we must invest in helping families access high-quality child care.This article was originally published in U.S. News & World Report.