I am excited to share a piece I published today in DCist about Washington D.C.’s new “Birth to Three” Act — it’s the most progressive legislation in the nation dedicated to infants, toddlers and those who care for them.
While a lot of states can’t even afford to provide full-day kindergarten, in 2009 D.C. became one of the first places to start offering universal preschool for three and four year olds. But the cost of childcare for infants and toddlers is still notoriously high here (and everywhere) — and demand far outstrips supply.
This Birth to Three Act, which has been signed into law but has yet to be funded, is a pretty tremendous bill, that not only targets new health services to the poorest young families in the city, but also seeks to expand early learning opportunities, reduce the cost of childcare for all families in D.C., and raise the paltry wages of early childhood workers.
I write a lot of education stories that are not always capturing, shall we say, good moments. Transparency issues, accountability lapses, that kind of thing. This is different, legislation that really is pretty great and innovative, and if D.C. can get this funded, I think it will be a BD here and hopefully for other jurisdictions as well.
My personal opinion is that if we’re talking about big social programs that would dramatically impact one’s financial situation and that maybe politicians should run on, then I think we should certainly be talking about universal childcare. (And perhaps universal senior care —something advocates tried to pass this year in Maine.)
Ah, a good segue to the election:
Congrats, we’ve made it two weeks past the November midterms! With the exception of a few high-profile losses in Florida, Georgia and Texas, it was a big night for Democrats, picking up at least 37 House seats.
An extremely inexhaustive list of election takeaways for those who read my earlier stories:
Voting rights restoration in Florida passed with 63 percent of the vote. Definitely one of the brightest things of the evening — impacting 1.5 million (!) people.
The independent redistricting commission passed in Michigan, just in time for 2020. Michigan is presently one of the most gerrymandered states in the country.
Scott Walker lost his election in Wisconsin, which is fun.
Keith Ellison ended up winning his AG race in Minnesota
Tony Thurmond won his state superintendent race in California
The Massachussetts nurse-staffing ballot measure failed
None of the Maryland Green Party candidates I wrote about won their races
And I wrote a longer post-mortem for the Intercept on why Ben Jealous lost his Maryland governor’s race.
I published a review in the fall issue of Jewish Currents on a new book examining black-Jewish relations in the U.S.
And I co-authored an Intercept piece with the inimitable David Dayen on the public subsides being showered on Amazon for their new NYC and Northern Virginia headquarters. Spoiler: it’s far more than Amazon has claimed.
Sorry for cramming this newsletter with more than I usually do, I fell a bit behind this month. I’m very grateful for your support and readership. If you are not already a paid subscriber and would like to help me continue doing this whole freelance hustle thing, do please consider! Or consider sharing this with a friend. Thanks, as always.