Looking For Excellent, Affordable Child Care? Join The Army
If you’re sitting on the old “Shape up or you’re going to military school!” card for when your kid gets out of line as a teenager, maybe don’t wait that long — it turns out, the military’s child care system is better than anything else you’ll find in the country. A report from the nonprofit Child Care Aware gave the Department Of Defense’s system a “B” rating, which was the highest score given. Meanwhile, 21 states received a “D” and another 20 failed completely. Time to see what Junior looks like in fatigues?
Today, almost 95 percent of the DoD’s more than 800 child care centers are accredited by the National Association For The Education Of Young Children (NAEYC), but it wasn’t always the case. Back in 1982, the U.S. General Accounting Office issued a report which found that teacher training at DoD was inadequate and centers failed to meet safety standards, which is kind of embarrassing when your other job is to protect the country.
In 1989, Congress passed the Military Child Care Act, which mandated and funded a system-wide overhaul requiring teachers to have 40 hours of training plus 24 hours of professional development per year. The law also increased pay to $5 more than the national average, and created a sliding scale of cost based on family income, which basically puts the military in the conversation with Brooklyn and Portland for the country’s most progressive place to raise a kid.
Before you throw on a flak jacket and attempt to not flunk out of basic training, know that NAEYC has identified the source of the military’s success and it’s pretty simple: They spent more money. In 2015 the military spent $700 million on child care and afterschool programs, while states like Mississippi only spent $2 million. In Michigan, researchers found that the failure to invest money in child care not only hurts kids, but the economy as well. So, file this under yet another problem to throw money at, but at least this time it’s (mostly) not yours.
[H/T] The Hechinger Report