As longstanding advocates for affordable childcare at the University of Chicago, we were tickled to come across an article on this very topic in the Summer 2015 issue of SSA Magazine.
The article features an exchange between Julia Henly and Marci Ybarra, two professors at the University’s School of Social Service Administration. While their conversation focuses on imminent threats to public (state and federal) subsidies for working parents, the need for more childcare access is felt everywhere in this country — including right on our campus, where recent efforts to expand financial support for working parents at the University of Chicago have met with mixed success.
As Henly notes, she and Ybarra share a scholarly interest in “the challenges that working families—especially low-income working families—have raising kids, finding decent jobs, and accessing social safety net programs that support work and children’s development.” The challenges they describe are also faced by families employed by the University of Chicago, where many of the instructors who teach undergraduates still struggle to pay for childcare for their children.
Through its Childcare Campaign, GSU has drawn attention to the difficulties faced by graduate student parents living on stipends and teaching salaries designed for single people with minimal expenses. We have called for truly affordable childcare on campus: flexible, sliding-scale facilities that would allow graduate employees to raise children and pursue academic careers at the same time.
The recent adoption of a flat-rate grant for PhD students is a step forward, but we continue to look forward to the day when every University employee receives truly affordable childcare in the amount they need.