A recent poll revealed that more than three-quarters of US mothers passed up work opportunities, switched jobs or quit to look after their children. Recent figures also show that their average future wages fall by 4% per child born – 10% in the case of the highest earning, most skilled women.
Nationally, full-time childcare costs a staggering 85% of the median cost of rent. And little is improving; due to federal budget cuts, fewer children in the US now have access to subsidised child care than in 2001.
But one state is powering ahead. In the race to become New York’s mayor in 2013, Bill de Blasio’s top campaign pledge was universal pre-K: a free year of full-day preschool for all four-year-olds in the city.
The implementation of the program has been widely praised for its role in tackling early inequality, as it tripled the number of pre-K places available in two years. But it is also …