2 Circles: Buff. Women's J. L. & Soc. Pol'y 23 (1993)
Reflections on Child Care & (and) Community Development

handle is hein.journals/bufwlj2 and id is 33 raw text is: CIRCLES Fall 1993 Vol. II

REFLECTIONS ON CHILD CARE & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
by Peter Pitegoff
When I grow up, declared Max over lunch, I want to be a day care teacher. My five-year-old
son is a young veteran of several child care centers.
Later that week, Max spent a day with me at work at The University at Buffalo School of Law.
He was patient and somewhat interested through phone calls, meetings, and even a community economic
development law seminar. When I grow up, he proclaimed on the way home, I want to be a law
professor.
Day care teacher or law professor -- equivalent career options in the eyes of a five-year-old, but
viewed as worlds apart by our adult society. With a fresh perspective, Max reminds us that child care
professionals are entitled to a greater measure of respect and prestige than they currently receive.
Child Care Work
The work of child care teachers demands responsibility for the well-being of large groups of
children, and mastery of the complex discipline of early childhood development. Further, day care
administrators need the organizational and financial expertise to operate an enterprise and oversee
employed staff. Yet, stereotyped as women's work or a substitute for mothering, the child care profession
is held in low esteem and at the economic margin.'
The demand for affordable child care has increased dramatically as large numbers of mothers with
young children have entered the labor force.2 Moreover, an estimated 97% of the over two million child
care workers in the United States are female. Growth in child care employment has created more jobs for
women, but low pay and few benefits, coupled with gender segregation, perpetuates a form of women's
poverty. Child care work illustrates women's poverty due not to exclusion from the paid labor force, but
instead as arising from the very conditions under which women are employed.'
*  Associate Professor, School of Law, State University of New York at Buffalo, and former legal counsel to the Industrial
Cooperative Association in Boston, Massachusetts. This article is adapted from portions of Child Care Enterprise,
Community Development, and Work, published by the author in 81 GEo. L.J. - 1993).
I   MARCY WHITEBOOK, et al., WHO CAREs: CHILD CARE TEACHERS AND THE QUALITY OF CARE IN AMERICA: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY,
NATIONAL CHILD CARE STAFFING STUDY (1989) [hereinafter, STAFFING STUDY]; MARCY WHITEBROOK, et al., FROM THE FLOOR:
RAISING CHILD CARE SALARIES (1991).
2   Barbara Reisman, The Economics of Child Care: Its Importance in Federal Legislation, 26 HARV. J. oN LEGIS. 473,
483-485 (1989); BARBmARA RasMAN, et al., CHILD CARE: THE BOTTOM LNe -- AN ECONOMIC AND CHiLD CARE POLICY PAPER, at
30-31 (1988).
3   JOAN SMITh, The Paradox of Women's Poverty: Wage-earning Women and Economic Transformation, in WOMEN AND
PovERTY (1986), at 122, 130. Cf ALsON JAGGER, FEMINIST POLmCS AND HUMAN NATURE 159 (1983), (noting that women's entry

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