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Child-Care Issue in Presidential Politics

August 06, 1988

It was certainly heartening to read in The Times and elsewhere about Lloyd Bentsen's visit to UCLA day-care center, and equally heartening to read that the Democratic Party is committed to supporting more day-care centers like the one at UCLA (Part I, July 30).

However, as a single mother supporting herself through UCLA Law School who has been on the waiting list for UCLA day-care center for over a year and a half, I was offended and angry to read that while Bentsen "expressed sympathy" for Cynthia Farar, who could not afford to teach after getting a master's degree in education because of the high cost of day care, he thought it would be "very difficult" in some states to obtain the same "generous funding" that UCLA receives.

I would hardly call a paltry $650,000 to serve the entire UCLA staff and student body "generous."

At least Farar had the opportunity to utilize UCLA day-care center while she was in school. I expect my son, who is 14 months old, to be admitted right about the time that I graduate and am no longer eligible. The $400 a month that I must pay a sitter to look after my child is well worth it, but the expense is so prohibitive when combined with living expenses and tuition that is no longer covered by financial aid since the cutbacks of the Reagan era that it's entirely possible I will not be able to complete my law degree.

I would urge the Democratic Party to remember that while preschoolers cannot vote, their parents sure as hell can. The short-term savings gained by refusing to fund day care for our children will be cancelled by the long-term detriments of absenteeism in the work-force, latchkey kids, parents unable to improve themselves and a lowered standard of living. Even more significant, perhaps, is the fact that those of us who count on the Democratic Party to represent our interests will turn elsewhere if this situation does not receive more than lip service and symbolic visits to wholly inadequate day-care centers.

SARA FELDMAN

Echo Park

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