September 18, 2021
In 1971, the United States was a pen stroke away from passing universal child care. With bipartisan support, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act (CCDA) which would establish a nationally funded, quality child care network providing education, nutrition and medical services to every family that wanted it. Even more significant was that child care would be available to families on a sliding scale basis.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Walter Mondale, said the CCDA was “designed to assure that every child has a fair opportunity to reach his full potential.”
The bill would have changed the landscape of early care and education in this country, but it never came to fruition. President Richard Nixon vetoed the CCDA, citing the downside of “a communal approach” to child rearing over a fend-for-yourself approach. Fifty years later, we have not recovered from this mistake.