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Forum, July 9: We should pay child care providers what they are worth

Published: 7/8/2020 10:00:16 PM
Modified: 7/8/2020 10:00:08 PM
We should pay child care providers what they are worth

I read with interest the Sunday Perspectives column by Gail Kinney and John Gregory-Davis about providing a livable wage to essential workers (“Praise doesn’t pay the bills,” July 5).

During this pandemic, we have all come to a better appreciation for the many people whose jobs contribute to a thriving economy. And yet, we need to have a national conversation about the particular challenges facing working parents.

Deb Perelman, best known as a food blogger and cookbook author, wrote an article for The New York Times last week whose headline noted that, in the COVID-19 economy, “you can have a kid or a job. You can’t have both.” She directly addresses the tension that working parents, and of course this means working mothers in particular, experience trying to do their jobs while taking care of their children.

It is clearly critical to have child care available if parents are to work. But at what cost, and who is paying that cost?

Kimball Union Academy is advertising for a child caregiver position. The school wants someone “experienced” who will “provide an enriching learning environment” and is “enthusiastic and flexible.”

As a former working mom, I would agree with all of these credentials, but then KUA points out that the job comes without benefits as it is only for 30 hours a week. This means the provider will not get sick time and will not be provided with health insurance.

I understand the complexities of part-time employment, and I understand that institutions work with budgets.

I also understand that until we pay child care providers what they are worth, until we provide benefits to those workers, and perhaps even until we value children, our economy will continue to rest on the backs of vulnerable essential workers, many of whom are women.

Can’t institutions like KUA find the resources without passing on the entire burden to parents who are trying to have both a kid and a job?

DEBORAH H. BACON NELSON

Hanover

We really do need a ‘whole-of-America’ approach, so vote

Vice President Mike Pence’s recently noted that “we’re in a much better place today, thanks to the whole-of-government approach, the whole-of-America approach that President Trump initiated at the very onset of the coronavirus pandemic” (“Pence’s upbeat claims strain credulity,” July 5). With 40 of the 50 states reporting record numbers of virus cases, I can see his “whole-of-America” perspective. His comments are right on target, and completely miss the mark.

Each of us is responsible for supporting our democracy and honoring our Constitution. Get those who are in our way out of office. Let’s take a “whole-of-government” approach to the swamp Trump has created. Let’s take a “whole-of-government” approach to end white male supremacy.

Meanwhile, Trump referred to “far-left fascism” in reference to protestors seeking social justice. Would someone on his staff give him a brief history lesson? Maybe in comic book form?

Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism. That seems to be the direction he’s headed.

Vote Trump out of office this November.

ANNE PEYTON

South Strafford

Molly Gray is a new breed of candidate

Readers may not have heard — yet — of Molly Gray, who’s running for lieutenant governor in Vermont. Gray is new to politics, but not to the issues that matter most at this point in our history.

She grew up on the Four Corners Farm in Newbury, a remarkable family enterprise that taught her not only how to get her overalls dirty but how to farm in a way that respects the land. She’s put her education (degrees from the University of Vermont and Vermont Law School) and work life (as an aide to U.S. Rep. Peter Welch and assistant attorney general) to good use in the public sector.

But most of all, she understands that our future depends on a new generation. Politicians have been lamenting the state’s outflow of youth for years but seem helpless to stop it. Gray is someone who knows what it will take to reverse that flow, and is serious about making it happen.

In case some of us haven’t noticed, there’s a new breed of young people out there, both the ones moving into the state and those who grew up here and are choosing to stay rather than depart for the cities.

These young people are the future of Vermont. They’re far-seeing enough to care about the health of the land, but savvy enough to know how to get it to yield a living. The crucial task is to build an economy that will allow them to thrive. If they do, the Vermont we cherish will thrive too.

Indeed, if we wish to continue living in the “real” Vermont, rather than a bland region of corporate businesses, dead-end jobs, second homes and shopping boutiques, we sorely need people like Molly Gray in public office. In a world where talk is cheap, and getting elected is often an end in itself, she’s a refreshingly different sort of candidate. In my book, she’s the real deal.

DAN BRESLAW

West Corinth

Kudos to Dartmouth for maintenance

Many of us who live near Rivercrest, a large, Dartmouth College-owned tract adjacent to Kendal at Hanover, wish to thank the college for maintaining this tract in such beautiful condition.

Trees have been recently pruned, and a large portion is mowed creating an attractive lawn. The interior roads have been maintained and walking there is very pleasant.

We thank you, Dartmouth.

DICK and MARGARET POWELL

Hanover




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