May 11, 2017

Platform

Raising Our Future Platform Planks

Education

Universal Pre-K

We believe in investing in early learning programs for children. High-quality, universal pre-K programs support parents with resources to encourage their children’s cognitive and social-emotional growth, setting the stage for success in their future educational and employment endeavors. These programs would furthermore provide an immediate financial benefit to parents who are working or otherwise unavailable to be with their child(ren) full time.

Supporting a Fact-Based, Inclusive Curriculum

  • Federal support for state-led common standards in STEM subjects (NGSS) (1, 2)
    • These standards emphasize conceptual understanding and complex reasoning, focus on teaching scientific skills, and encourage students to engage with and explore the world around them (3)
    • Sixteen states have adopted these standards so far and more than forty have shown interest (4)
    • By offering incentives to states adopting these standards, the Federal government could encourage other states to adopt the standards more quickly, as was the case with the No Child Left Behind act (5)
  • Inclusive curriculum (6)
    • Anti-bias education (7)
      • “Anti-bias curriculum is an approach to early childhood education that sets forth values-based principles and methodology in support of respecting and embracing differences and acting against bias and unfairness. The overarching goal is creating a climate of positive self and group identity development, through which every child will achieve her or his fullest potential.” (8)
    • Multicultural education
      • “Multicultural education is a process that permeates all aspects of school practices, policies and organization as a means to ensure the highest levels of academic achievement for all students. It helps students develop a positive self-concept by providing knowledge about the histories, cultures, and contributions of diverse groups. It prepares all students to work actively toward structural equality in organizations and institutions by providing the knowledge, dispositions, and skills for the redistribution of power and income among diverse groups. Thus, school curriculum must directly address issues of racism, sexism, classism, linguicism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, religious intolerance, and xenophobia.” (9)
  • Encouraging student engagement (10, 11)
    • Connect learning to real world events
    • Differentiated instruction
    • Cooperative and collaborative learning
    • Implement standards that encourage critical thinking skills

Resources:

  1. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-stemed-report.pdf
  2. http://www.stemreports.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/NRC_STEM_2.pdf
  3. http://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/NGSSFactSheet2016.pdf
  4. https://ncse.com/news/2013/04/evolution-climate-change-ngss-0014800
  5. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/01/29/19science_ep.h33.html
  6. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ966511.pdf
  7. http://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/general/TT_Social%20Justice%20Standards_web_0.pdf
  8. http://www.teachingforchange.org/teacher-resources/anti-bias-education
  9. http://www.nameorg.org/docs/Deifnitions-MCE-updated-2013.doc
  10. http://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/general/PDA%20Critical%20Practices_0.pdf
  11. http://perpus.stkipkusumanegara.ac.id/file_digital/Buku%20Digital%204.pdf

Protecting Public K-12 Funding

Raising Our Future understands that K-12 education is the platform of a successful country. Countless studies show that high school graduates earn more, pay more taxes and have better life outcomes than those who do not graduate. Furthermore, quality K-12 education not only increases the likelihood that students will graduate high school, it also ensures that education truly helps set the student up for a successful life after high school.

The best way to ensure quality schools nationwide is to make sure they are fully and adequately funded. While adequate funding does not ensure a quality education, a lack of funding can ensure negative outcomes. Fully funded schools help recruit and keep the best teachers and give those teachers the tools they need to prepare students for an increasingly complicated and technologically advanced world.

By removing funding from K-12 schools, or moving funding to charter schools which do not have to meet the same strict requirements as public schools, Washington is setting up a generation of children for failure. By attempting to remove funding from the school lunch program, politicians are stripping vital nutrition from our most vulnerable children and hungry children cannot perform at their highest level.

Raising Our Future supports robust federal funding of schools to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve their dreams.

Social Justice

Family planning

We believe that all youth and adults require education and affordable access to the full range of family planning and reproductive health services regardless of gender orientation, age, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Individuals should have the information and resources that they need to make informed decisions about their reproductive health to include abortion, emergency contraception, long acting and permanent family planning methods, and other critical issues. Access to reproductive health care is a fundamental human right, and the fulfillment of that right must also be accompanied by societal and economic supports that enable all of us to raise healthy and thriving families. We believe that comprehensive and medically accurate sexuality education is the cornerstone for informed decision making about family planning.

LGBTQ Families

We support ending discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals and families. We believe in the right to marry, share domestic partner benefits, and adopt. LGBTQ families should have the same employment rights and protections, including protection from discrimination in the workplace and the right to military service.

Working Families

Paid Leave

Raising Our Future supports the development of federal law requiring employers to provide access to paid family and medical leave. Provisions include job protection and benefits would be available to both full and part-time mothers, fathers, their partners, foster, and adoptive parents. Access to paid leave is good for children, parents and employers. When parents are able to take leave for the birth of a child, that child is known to have better overall health outcomes1. The same is true for when children are ill and parents are able to take off work to care for them2. Partners who take leave in the prenatal period remain more involved in their children’s care over time3. Employers benefit from paid leave through higher retention rates, which ultimately results in higher workplace morale and lower training costs4. The United States currently has no federal law requiring access to paid leave5. As family composition and attitudes towards gender roles and workplace goals change, so should our policies relating to paid leave.

1 Parental Leave and Child Health. Christopher Ruhm, Journbal fo Health Economics, 2000
2 Working Parents: What Factors Are Involved in Their Ability to Take Time Off From Work When Their Children Are Sick? S. Jody Heymann, MD, PhD; Sara Toomey, MPhil, MSc; Frank Furstenberg, PhD (1999)
3 Paternity Leave and Fathers’ Involvement With Their Young Children. Lenna Nepomnyaschy and Jane Waldfogel. Community, Work and Family, 2007
4 Paid Family and Medical Leave: Good for Business. March 2015, Fact Sheet from Nationalpartnership.org
5 United States Department of Labor (dol.gov) under popular topics/leave benefits

Access to Affordable Childcare

Raising our Future supports increased access to high-quality, affordable childcare for all families. Nearly 80% of American households are headed by either a single parent or two working parents1. For these families, childcare is a necessity. Nearly 11 million children under five are in childcare nationwide2 and more than half of parents with children under three cite work obligations as the primary reason for their childcare search3. Quality of childcare varies widely, with only 15% of center-based child care programs and 10% of home-based programs rated as good or better4.

The cost of childcare has skyrocketed in recent years; the cost of two children in daycare has exceeded housing costs and become the highest single household expense in 24 states plus Washington DC. In most states, the cost of infant care exceeds the cost of attending a public university5. This is a disproportionate hardship for low income families. One in three working families in the United States struggles to meet basic needs and existing childcare subsidies are inadequate, with less than 20% of eligible children receiving assistance6.

Additionally, there are often issues finding care at all. In a poll conducted in 2016 by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, one third of parents reported difficulty finding care for their children, and nearly 75% reported facing at least one challenge in finding care, with location being the second most cited issue behind cost. Two thirds of parents reported limited options for childcare. Families facing financial difficulties were more likely to report challenges in finding care and say they had limited options7. Forty-two percent of young children live in “child care deserts.”8 This disproportionately affects historically vulnerable and underserved populations, including children of color, homeless children, those from undocumented and immigrant families, children with special needs, and low-income and single parents9.

Parents that choose to leave the workforce to care for their children lose more than just wages. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, “after taking into account the potential wage growth and lost retirement savings over time, a parent who leaves the workforce for one year or longer can lose up to four times their annual salary per year.”10 Expanding early learning initiatives, including childcare, also benefit the economy at large, providing $8.60 of value per $1 spent through increased parental earnings and employment, as well as greater educational attainment and increased earnings for children once they reach adulthood11.

By increasing access to affordable, high-quality childcare, we allow children and parents to thrive.

1 Glynn, S.J. (2012). Working Parents’ Lack of Access to Paid Leave and Workplace Flexibility. Center for American Progress. Available at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2012/11/20/45466/working-parents-lack-of-access-to-paid-leave-and-workplace-flexibility/
2 Gould, E., and Cooke, T. (2015). High Quality Child Care is Out of Reach for Working Families. Economic Policy Institute. Available at http://www.epi.org/publication/child-care-affordability/
3 National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2014). Household search for and perceptions of early care and education: Fact sheet from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) (OPRE Report No. 2014-55b). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/research/project/national-survey-of-early-care-and-education-nsece-2010-2014
4 Williams, E. & Mitchell, A. (2004). The Status of Early Care and Education in the States. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Available at http://www.iwpr.org/publications/pubs/the-status-of-early-care-and-education-in-the-states
5 Child Care Aware of America (2016). Parents and the High Cost of Child Care. Available at http://www.usa.childcareaware.org/advocacy-public-policy/resources/reports-and-research/costofcare/
6 PolicyLink & Marguerite Casey Foundation (2016). High Quality Affordable Childcare for All: Good for Families, Communities, and the Economy http://www.policylink.org/sites/default/files/Childcare-for-All-FINAL-05-06-16.pdf
7 NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2016). Child Care and Health in America. Available at http://www.npr.org/documents/2016/oct/Child-Care-and-Development-Report-2016.pdf
8 Malik, M., Hamm, K., Adamu, M., & Morrissey, T. (2016). Child Care Deserts: An Analysis of Child Care Centers by ZIP Code in 8 States. Center for American Progress. Available at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/reports/2016/10/27/225703/child-care-deserts/
9 Dobbins, D., Tercha, J., McCready, M., & Liu, A. (2016). Child Care Deserts: Developing Solutions to Child Care Supply and Demand. Child Care Aware of Amarica. Available at http://www.usa.childcareaware.org/advocacy-public-policy/resources/reports-and-research/childcaredeserts/
10 Glynn, S.J. & Corley, D. (2016). The Cost of Work-Family Policy Inaction: Quantifying the Costs Families Currently Face as a Result of Lacking U.S. Work-Family Policies. Center for American Progress. Available at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2012/11/20/45466/working-parents-lack-of-access-to-paid-leave-and-workplace-flexibility/
11 The White House (2015). The Economics of Early Childhood Investments. Available at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/docs/early_childhood_report_update_final_non-embargo.pdf

Fair Pay

Among American families with children, nearly a third (31.9%) are headed by single parents and half (47.4%) have two working parents. Parents make up more than half (52.6%) of all workers in the 25 -44 age group, and 90.8% of dads and 63.3% of moms work for pay outside the home1. The share of household budgets going toward basic needs has increased, especially for low-income households2. Despite increased productivity, wages for most American workers have stagnated or declined since 1979, leading to lowered standards of living for many households3.

Working families are struggling. Adults in low-income families work an average of 2552 hours, approximately 1.25 full time jobs, and yet the income gap between the highest-earning families and the lowest continues to increase4. Additionally, women are still paid substantially less than men in the workplace, with a greater disparity for women of color and older women. This translates to 10 years of lost wages over a 40-year period and $4000 less per year in social security benefits in retirement5. Mothers are the primary breadwinners in half of families with children under 18, yet mothers are paid less even than women as a whole6.

The current federal minimum wage has been set at $7.25 per hour since 2009. For a full-time worker, that equates to $15,080 per year, $5,340 below the federal poverty level for a family of 3. Adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage peaked in 19687. Federal law also permits tipped workers to be paid as little as $2.13 per hour, as long as their tips make up the difference. According to the National Women’s Law Center, raising the minimum wage would boost wages for millions of women (especially women of color), help parents provide for their children, help close the wage gap, and reduce poverty8.

Raising our Future supports raising the minimum wage, strengthening equal pay laws, ensuring that tipped workers receive at least the minimum wage before tips, and protecting workers’ rights.

1 Glynn, S.J. (2012). Working Parents’ Lack of Access to Paid Leave and Workplace Flexibility. Center for American Progress. Available at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2012/11/20/45466/working-parents-lack-of-access-to-paid-leave-and-workplace-flexibility/
2 Kearney, M.S., Hershbein, B., & Jacome, E. (2015). Profiles of Change: Employment, Earnings, and Occupations from 1990 – 2013. The Hamilton Project. Available at http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/profiles_of_change_employment_earnings_occupations_1990-2013
3 Bivens, J., Gould, E., Mishel, L., & Shierholz, H. (2014). Raising America’s Pay: Why It’s our Central Economic Policy Challenge. Economic Policy Institute. Available at http://www.epi.org/publication/raising-americas-pay/
4 Roberts, B., & Povich, D. (2008). Working Hard, Still Falling Short. The Working Poor Families Project. Available at http://www.workingpoorfamilies.org/pdfs/NatReport08.pdf
5 National Women’s Law Center (2016). The Wage Gap: The Who, How, Why, and What to Do. Available at http://nwlc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Wage-Gap-Who-How-Why-and-What-To-Do-2016.pdf
6 National Partnership for Women & Families (2016) America’s Women and the Wage Gap. Available at http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/workplace-fairness/fair-pay/americas-women-and-the-wage-gap.pdf
7 Elwell, C. (2014) Inflation and the Real Minimum Wage: A Fact Sheet. Congressional Research Service. Available at https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42973.pdf
8 Vogtman, J., & Gallagher Robbins, K. (2015). Fair Pay for Women Requires a Fair Minimum Wage. National Women’s Law Center. Available at http://nwlc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/fair_pay_for_women_requires_a_fair_minimum_wage_may_2015.pdf

Family Friendly Workplaces

Nearly 9 out of 10 Americans favor workplace flexibility in order to meet family demands1, yet 92% of American workers report that they do not have enough flexibility for their family needs2. As recently as 1975, more than half of US families with children had one parent that identified as a homemaker, while in 2011 just 20% fit that model. Therefore, when a child is sick, a wage-earner has to miss work in order to care for them3. Despite the obvious need, only 30% of workers have access to paid sick time to care for a sick child. Additionally, only 25% of workers have the flexibility to take time for parent-teacher conferences or other child-centered meetings2.

Workplace flexibility is correlated with higher job satisfaction4, better relationship quality between partners with children, and more frequent parent-child interactions5. Additionally, a study published in the Strategic Management Journal in 2010 found that Family Friendly Workplace Policies neither increased nor decreased the profitability of the companies that instituted them, indicating that these policies effectively “pay for themselves”. It also found that firms with these policies had higher percentages of female managers6.

Raising our Future supports family friendly workplace policies, including workplace flexibility and access to paid personal and family sick leave. A greater number of flexible workplaces are good for employees and good for businesses.

1 Nielson Holdings (2014). Harris Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Favor Flexible Workplace Policies. Available at http://www.theharrispoll.com/business/Vast_Majority_of_Americans_Favor_Flexible_Workplace_Policies.html
2 Flatley MGuire, J., Brashler, P., Kenney, K. Promoting Children’s Well-Being: The Role of Workplace Flexibility. Georgetown University Law Center. Available at http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=cbh
3 Glynn, S.J. (2012). Working Parents’ Lack of Access to Paid Leave and Workplace Flexibility. Center for American Progress. Available at https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/GlynnWorkingParents-1.pdf
4 Matos, K. & Galinsky, E. (2011). Workplace Flexibility in the United States: A Status Report. Families and Work Institutes. Available at http://familiesandwork.org/site/research/reports/www_us_workflex.pdf
5 Kim, J. S. (2016). Workplace Flexibility and Family Relationships for Working Parents with Young Children. 2016 Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management Fall Research Conference.
6 Bloom, N., Kretschmen, T., & Van Reenen, J. (2010). Are Family-Friendly Workplace Practices a Valuable Firm Resource? Strategic Management Journal. Available at https://people.stanford.edu/nbloom/sites/default/files/smj879.pdf