The following is in response to remarks made by President Obama at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island, this past Friday. You can find the entire address here – Remarks by the President on Women and the Economy — Providence, RI. In particular I am responding to the following quote:
And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.
So let’s make this happen. By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high-quality preschool, and let’s make sure that we are making America stronger. That is good for families; it’s also good for the children.
Dear Mr. President,
I am a drain on your economy.
Rather than choose to work outside the home, rather than choose to add to the unemployment statistics, I have chosen to leave the workplace to stay home with our kids, to provide them with a quality of “preschool” higher than any government funded program can ever hope to achieve.
My “student-to-teacher ratio” is lower than you can ever hope to match. In the past few weeks we have discussed geology, astronomy, physics, mathematics, literature, art, music, theology, architecture, home economics, nutrition, and biology to name a few.
But more importantly than that, together with my husband, I’m providing our children with stability, strength, and love. And that is good for families. That is good for the children.
It is true that the research shows that a high-quality preschool makes a difference in the lives of children. But only those children who come from unstable homes, where education is not valued, where marriage is often not sanctified.
Strengthen marriage and you strengthen the home. Strengthen the home and you empower the children. Empower the children and the nation flourishes.
The key to a strong economy, to being a world power, is not preschool. It is families.
Your statement, Mr. President, was degrading to all the mothers who choose to stay home with their children.
Your plan, Mr. President, merely puts a band-aid on the issue rather than seeking out the real cause and solution.
Lisa M. G. Dennis, PhD
For additional personal thoughts on having a highly-educated mother choosing to leave the workforce see I’m a S.W.A.M. on this blog.