Friday Reading List: Childcare Costs, Tiny Dictators, and Dynamics Among Educators of Color

Lillian Mongeau, writing at The Hechinger Report, looks at how the presidential candidates' policy plans will affect the cost of childcare for different kinds of families:

These families represent three constituencies of millennial voters with young children in child care: those living on the financial edge, those solidly middle class dealing with escalating child care prices and those doing well financially, but still struggling to find high-quality care. All three groups are growing as millennials enter their first full year as a majority of the country’s labor force. And for the first time in decades, perhaps because 65 percent of children under six live in homes where all their parents work, both major party candidates have noticed that struggle. Both Hillary Clinton — who has spent much of her career focused on family and early childhood issues — and Donald Trump have made child care and family leave key planks of their platforms.

In a campaign virtually devoid of policy substance, the fact that both candidates have embraced the idea of supporting families seems significant. Clinton's plan would extend to almost all families, while Trump's would benefit higher earners, a breakdown that more or less captures the policymaking modus operandi of the two parties for the last several decades.

Speaking of resource allocation and early childhood, Alia Wong of The Atlantic looks at the psychology of younger children vis-a-vis authoritarian politics:

According to a new study published in the journal Developmental Psychology, [children] who are domineering and greedy might have an advantage in 3- and 4-year-olds’ social worlds. This is a world in which the bossy, aggressive, selfish kids thrive at the expense of their less-bossy, less-aggressive, less-selfish peers, and one in which unfair social hierarchies are something to be retained rather than eradicated. These preferences reverse with age, fading away around age 5, and by age 8, according to the study, they’re pretty much the opposite: Kids want to counteract inequality, to be good samaritans and help the little guy ... Its findings offer powerful, if limited (and potentially controversial), insight into how a young child’s understanding of social justice and her political outlook evolves over time.

First of all, anyone who knows a three-year-old will understand the small gap between his mindset and domestic totalitarianism.

In all seriousness, though, there's a risk of overdetermining the outcomes of these sorts of studies, but it is worth examining the psychological roots of political mindsets. There is lots of research to suggest that dispositions towards redistribution and fairness can be traced to experiences in childhood.

In other news, Andre Perry at The Root looks at recent research on how children respond to teachers of color:

Black teachers in the study expressed that “they connect with students, especially black students, easier than their peers.” This unique relationship is a well-documented source of strength, but it can be a burden. Black teachers understand black students’ awareness of the apparent cultural dissonance or even outright bias and discrimination that occurs when nonblack teachers are entrusted with educating black students. Consequently, students feel safer and are more open to learning with black teachers.

Chris Stewart wants to remember, though, that the beliefs of Black educators are far from monolithic:

I’ve also pointed out more than once that some of the most prominent Black voices opposing school choice are themselves graduates of private schools ... I’m challenging the gross hypocrisy of benefiting from choice in education, but then turning their backs on those choices for other Black people.For becoming college-educated Black people who fight reform’s focus of getting more Black people to and through college. For using their platforms to assail the cause of reform rather than using their considerable intellectual gifts to light a path toward something far more transformative than the stale and hostile system currently trapping our kids in cycles of academic poverty.

To that point, the NAACP of Tennessee just backed away from the national organization's moratorium on charter schools. Laura Faith Kebede has the story at Chalkbeat:

Gloria Sweet-Love, president of the NAACP Tennessee State Conference, said problems associated with charter growth elsewhere in the nation aren’t as prevalent in the Volunteer State, where authorization is restricted to local school districts and the state. “In Tennessee, we have some of the best oversight laws,” Sweet-Love said at a press conference at First Baptist Church Broad in Memphis, just three weeks after the national board’s vote. “If the guys here in Memphis don’t do right, you got elected school board members who are part of the (local education agency) that school has to respond to. That is not happening all over the nation,” she said.

There are two big things worth mentioning here. First, Sweet-Love makes a great point about the localized nature of education issues. I spoke with a school board member from Cambridge, Massachusetts the other night, who echoed this sentiment. In supporting lifting the Massachusetts charter cap, she said, "We don't make assumptions about Massachusetts public schools based on what happens in Mississippi, so why would I make assumptions about Massachusetts charters based on charters in other states?"

Second, because I am a White dude writing about issues that involve race, and I have evidence that suggests a large portion of the audience for this blog is White, I do my best to illustrate the fact that there are significant differences of opinion within communities of color about issues of policy import. Too often we White folks use lazy heuristics when examining the political preferences of Black and Brown communities, so I'm doing my best to broaden that conversation. If anyone has suggestions for improvement, I'm always open to feedback!

On that note, have a great weekend!