I recently had the opportunity to screen a new documentary that explores early childhood practices in the U.S. and how public policy, environment and family life (among many other factors) sets our children up for either success or struggle. The Raising of America: Early Childhood And The Future Of Our Nation juxtaposes early childhood scientific study with America’s current public policy, interweaving interviews with families across the nation.
The Raising of America discusses the shift from a single working parent household to a two-parent working household, the economy (or economics of working v. staying home) and most importantly, the effects this trend has on our children. Unsurprisingly, the results are not stellar, but the real vehicle of change is public policy in the United States.
We’re hamsters on a wheel, working longer hours with fewer paid days off (zero are guaranteed by law), and a public policy that does not support our country’s families. The reality is that families in the U.S. lack much needed support in raising our children, and that lack of support weakens the foundation for our future leaders (our children).
The Raising of America seeks to reframe the way Americans look at early childhood health and development and spark a much-needed national conversation: Will the U.S. assure the conditions that all children need for a strong start and put the nation on a path towards a healthier, safer, better educated, more prosperous and more equitable tomorrow? Or will it squander its own future? (RoA Media Kit)
Some of the issues addressed in this documentary series include:
- Parental stress
- The effect working long hours has on both parent and child
- The lack of nationwide access to adequate, high-quality, affordable childcare
- The absence of guaranteed maternal leave
- Research findings