For Immediate Release: July 22, 2020
Contact: Gaby Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Ad Urges Senators to Pass Early Education Legislation
Leading Progressive Organizations Highlight Importance of Childcare & Early Learning
Washington, DC — Today, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) joined with Care in Action, MomsRising, Supermajority, and UltraViolet to launch a video ad urging senators to pass the HEROES Act and the Child Care Is Essential Act. As COVID-19 decimates our nation’s child care and early learning programs – and Trump and Senate Republicans continue to do nothing – teachers, kids, and families need funding and protection.
Cecile Richards, co-founder of Supermajority said, “Affordable childcare has always been an urgent need for working families, but that need has increased during the COVID19 pandemic as children continue to stay home and parents are being asked to return to work or continue working as essential workers. We cannot expect families to survive emotionally or economically without a plan for providing childcare funding, safely reopening schools and protecting caregivers. The Senate needs to pass the HEROES Act and the Childcare is Essential Act immediately and provide families with some relief.”
Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers said, “As COVID-19 shutdowns stretch on, our families are grappling with the competing demands of childcare, eldercare, working, and trying to stay healthy. Early childhood education centers and the dedicated professionals who work in them are on the front lines of keeping kids safe while our essential workers attempt to keep our communities going. They need dedicated resources in order to stay open, stay protected, and stay safe, so working parents can know their children and the people caring for them are not at increased risk during the day.”
Ai-jen Poo, Senior Advisor, Care in Action said, “If there was ever a moment to rethink our care infrastructure and how it supports caregivers and children, that moment is now. Our government has demanded caregivers reenter the workforce without considering safe, affordable childcare options, both for the essential workers who will watch over them and the children being deprioritized over the economy and political plays. We were already relying on a fragile and insufficient childcare system — the crises COVID-19 presented will leave families wholly broken. What’s good for the economy isn’t sending caregivers to work without protection or childcare — it’s realizing there’s no sustainable way to do one without the other. That’s why we need the Senate to pass the HEROES Act and the Child Care Is Essential Act now.”
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO, MomsRising said, “Quite simply, we can’t fully reopen our economy without investing in our child care and K-12 infrastructure, which was hanging by a thread when the pandemic began and is now unraveling altogether. The pandemic has turned these simmering national problems into a looming catastrophe that we must address now: Parents need safe enriching places for children to be so they can go back to work; children need safe, enriching learning opportunities so they can thrive; and child care workers and teachers need fair pay and safe workplaces. Moms know our recovery depends on Congress passing the HEROES Act and the Child Care Is Essential Act. Congress must act quickly.”
Shaunna Thomas, Executive Director of UltraViolet said, “Covid-19 revealed a childcare crisis for working parents, especially women, that was created by federal and state leaders and the racist and sexist policies they put in place. As the battle with this pandemic rages on, our chances of making a successful recovery will be even more stifled without access to affordable childcare for every working parent that needs it. It didn’t have to be this way, and it’s time for our leaders to work for actual solutions that value the lives of our children above the bottom line.
“With schools closed and their re-openings so uncertain, parents are facing impossible choices. Our children deserve so much better than this. We urge the Senate to pass the HEROES Act and Childcare is Essential Act because all families should be able to afford the help they need and deserve.”
Parents cannot go back to work until they know their children will be safe in public schools and childcare centers across the country. With COVID-19 still on the rise, and with increasing cases being reported in children who are just months old, our leaders must act to keep our youngest and most vulnerable children safe.
The HEROES Act would provide the U.S. Department of Education with a $90 billion “state fiscal stabilization fund” to support K-12 and higher education. The Child Care Is Essential Act would provide grant funding to child care providers in order to support a safe reopening of care centers.