Barefoot And Pregnant In The Kitchen

By SISYPHUS, Guardian reader

In an effort to compel women stay home with their babies the House Health
and Welfare committee killed a bill to set minimum standards for day cares
in the state. House Bill 163 as amended would have set minimal health and
safety standards, training requirements, staffing levels and required
criminal history checks for day-cares caring for six or more children.
Proponents point out that 60% of all women with kids under 6 use day care.
Yet legislators voting no maintained that passing such standards would just
encourage women to abandon their children to these bad places, which are
apparently bad because there are no minimum standards.

No mention of this in the local daily. Women typically are paid lower wages
than men but these legislators apparently want to encourage businesses to
hire men to fill jobs currently held by women presumably at wages that would
enable them to take care of the mom and kids at home. Odd that these
legislators would encourage inflation but were apparently too blinded by
their visions of June Cleaver. No mention either on how this may affect the
nursing shortage in Idaho. They were also silent on the dilemma this causes
for single parents. I guess they go on welfare while at home with the
children. Seems odd that the Republican dominated committee would encourage
people to go on welfare.

The nay voters even had one mom on their side Janice McGeachin of Idaho
Falls. No reports of her kids with her in the hearing room. But one vocal
opponent should come as no surprise, Steve Thayn of Emmett. For his fairly
extreme political philosophy go to his website and read up on such
interesting topics like coercive altruism here: http://www.reclaimidaho.com/

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I want to acknowledge other posts on this topic:




    EDITOR NOTE–Sis, don’t send them across the street. Keep the customers!

  2. The thread of gender in this article is interesting to follow. You start off with what could be construed as traditional feminist ideals: equal pay for equal work, not being required to be “barefoot and pregnant, and the notion that access to quality daycare can increase opportunities for women to succeed outside the home. All in all, an argument against the traditional notion of a “woman’s place.”

    Then you drop the line, “No mention either on how this may affect the nursing shortage in Idaho,” which seems contrary to your earlier sentiments. It sounds as though you view nursing as a role best filled by women. In the spirit of gender egalitarianism, couldn’t the nursing shortage here (and nationwide) be filled by men as well as women?

    Sadly, probably not. Despite all our progress, certain occupations are still regarded as inherently male or female, and at the top of the “female” list is nursing and elementary teaching.

    I’m not trying to berate you or anything, I just found that abrupt shift interesting.

  3. The Idaho legislature’s refusal to set minimal standards for Daycares that Idaho parents must rely on in todays economic climate where both parents must work or a single mom has to hold down two jobs to EXIST is outrageous. They are showing a total lack of concern for our children’s health and basic care while demonstrating that the majority in Idaho’s House and Senate have a 1950’s mentality firmly based in today’s accepted political greed ( busy legislating two new classes in America- the haves and have nots!) Doesn’t the Guardian know that women are second class citizens and that men should be paid more ( but don’t dare increase the minimum wage- it might affect gravity!) because their the HEAD( probably with the brain turned off) of the family.Gosh,guardian are you one of those liberal’s trying to fill our BSU students with thought provoking ideas?

    So what if the only Day Care parents can afford has been closed down several times for hygiene violations and doesn’t do a backgroud check on employees? It’ll make it easier for local business’s to thrive ( on our children?)My heart goes out to every Parent struggling to give their children the best! Why? They have to deal with Idaho’s political Illuminati ( who forgot to turn the light bulb on?)

  4. Surely there are a few other social ills that Sysiphus could blame on lack of state-mandated daycare licensing!

    I’ll confess right up front – my overriding political philosophy is “small government = good government.” So I’m not seeing that the state needs to get into the daycare licensing business.

    But on the other hand… if they’re already licensing contractors, nursing homes, plumbers, and BARBERS, why not daycares?

    But on the other hand… from the viewpoint of our elected “public servants,” a good haircut is probably just about as important as anything.

  5. Sis, I agree for the need for stricter regulations as Idaho ranks last according a recent survey.

    “The association reviewed policies and regulations for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Defense Department, which ranked a decisive No. 1 overall and led both subcategories — one measuring standards that are in place, the second measuring how vigorously the standards are enforced.

    “Standards are meaningless without oversight,” Smith said. “The Defense Department has good enforcement, and that has brought their program to a much higher level.”

    Following the military atop the rankings were Illinois, New York, Maryland, Washington, Oklahoma, Michigan, North Dakota, Tennessee, Minnesota and Vermont.

    Idaho ranked last; the next lowest scores were for Louisiana, Nebraska, Kentucky, California and Kansas. ”

    But as the article indicates with regulations must come enforcement. Enforcement is difficult for state agencies on limited budgets. Why not employ a third party audit system at the expense of the daycare provider. Make them bear the burden of proof that they are operating under the new stricter laws.

    I work in the produce industry and most chainstore and foodservice companies require third party audits of packing facilities and fields. This ensures suppliers are constantly doing their best to keep the foods safe from contamination.

  6. Just what Idaho needs! More proof that the electorate is completely out of touch with reality.

    If readers of the Guardian don’t think their vote has consequences, think again.

    Fools, the legislature is full of fricken’ fools.

  7. I’m not for big government or small government, but I am for smart government. It seems to me that passing legislation requiring minimum standard to protect our children from neglect is smart government. But then again, I’ve lived in Idaho my whole and have never been able to come to terms with how conservative politics works. Maybe this is just another instance of “compassionate conservatism”, one of the biggest oxymorons ever concocted.

  8. sam the sham
    Mar 1, 2007, 1:10 pm

    Sis, what makes you think that it’s a gender thing? Take a look at where Idaho stands in what teachers are paid. It could be that the Idaho legistature thinks very little of the children who live in this state – look at how they have treated the CHIPS program.

    Or perhaps it is how they feel about education in general – from the moment a child is born. I do not think that the Idaho legislature actually wants to force businesses to pay their employees more (men do make more money than women), so that point is not well taken by this reader.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are correct about gender inequity. Sis was making the point–NOT endorsing it.

  9. “Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said he “cannot imagine” ever taking a child to a day-care center, adding, “There is no substitute, there is absolutely no substitute for families taking care of children.”

    Here is a quote from the online version of one of our local papers. What I cannot believe is that this short sighted politcian was elected to support or represent all the citizens of Idaho not just his kids. I am sure his children are supported by a whole group of family which are most likely his church members and living where he does there is not much need for a farmer rancher as he says he is to need daycare assistance anyway. He and his fellows need to consider the whole state when they make their decisions. If the Idaho royalty would decide to assist in legislation to create a livable wage and affordable insurance to everyone there would perhaps be less need of the daycare system. Until then these children need protection from abuse and predators and who can provide that assitance to the parents other than our legislature.

  10. Naz, I didn’t make the gender distinction the legislators voting no did. I merely brought up the nursing shortage because its an issue with which the legislature is currently struggling. Whether the nurse is male or female is irrelevant, if they are single parents or both parents work, the legislators voting no provide some of them with a Hobson’s choice of going to an unlicensed daycare or taking the legislator’s admonishment to heart and staying home and presumably going on welfare. The decision certainly shrinks the pool of available nurses.

    The point of my post is legislators out of touch with the times. The only witness against the bill was Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, saying the committee had heard the same information 25 years ago when she served on it. “I would plead with you I think it’s working well,” Wood said. “We just don’t see the problems there in the rural area where I am.” However Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, a physician who serves on the committee, disagreed. He said he’s seen terrible cases, including a toddler who drowned in a horse trough, and other children who were severely injured.

    And Dave I have to go to other sources to since our local daily does such a piss poor job of reporting. The quotes above are from a Wyoming newspaper via http://www.43rdstateblues.com/?q=node/3170#comment It would be unfair and probably a violation of copyright to not acknowledge their hard work.

  11. I believe that inside Boise there is some oversight of daycares but this does not apply to the county and rest of the state. Does anyone know more about this? I myself am disgusted by the way Idaho treats young families.

    I have a masters degree and work for local government but still don’t make a “livable wage” that would allow my wife to stay at home. Instead we pay over $160 a week in day care which puts us under terrible monetary strain. I feel for those with more than one child in daycare and honestly don’t know how they do it. Idaho needs to work on raising not just the minimum wage but find ways to at least meet livable standards.

    I think government should lead the way on this. I personally know people working for the county that have to use welfare to supplement their pitiful wages.

  12. JM….agree that minimum standards need to be set for day care, but I am not sure we live in a climate where both parents have to work. This may be true for near minimum wage workers and others in financial desparity, but I think the majority of parents choose to both work so they can have a bigger home, live in the north end instead of Nampa, more cars, maybe a boat, nicer status symbols etc.

    Many of those people in financial distress are that way due to poor choices and spending more than they earn. I really enjoy picking my kids up from school and looking at the 15-person vans picking up kids for day care. My favorite is a local church day care van that advertises “Rasing children the Lord’s way” I am not sure it is God’s intent that we outsource the care and raising of our children.

    On the other hand outsourcing is the new effecient model, why not apply it to families as well as business. Maybe we could call a phone rep in India and see how our kids are doing and get tech support at the same time.

  13. I am totally confused…help me out. My next door neighbor has been in the day care business for nearly 20 years. (In Eagle.) We she moved next door she had to modify all kinds of things in the house and it had to we inspected by H&HS before she could take in children. She has since moved the day care itself out of her house, but had many requirements to follow to make the new facility to be in compliance of regulations. Is this new law just to cover day care outside of Ada County?

    By the way, I was a single Mom many years ago. It is quite wonderful to be a stay-at-home parent, but sometimes it just isn’t possible, no matter what church you belong to. Day care should be regulated and inspected.

  14. Some VERY interesting comments here.

    S. the Sham says, “I do not think that the Idaho legislature actually wants to force businesses to pay their employees more…”

    That’s a GOOD thing. In a free market, employees get paid what the market will bear.

    B.S. says, “I myself am disgusted by the way Idaho treats young families,” and laments the expense of daycare.

    It should be realized that state daycare licensing would cost something… probably to all citizens out of the general fund, and probably to the daycare operators… who would obviously pass those costs on to the consumers of their services. It might go to $175.

    People keep flocking to Idaho, including “young families.” And I’m in agreement that it’s not our fat paydays. Idaho ranks comparatively low in pay for pretty much any line of work.

    I tend to agree with JJ about the ideal family situation. “Mrs. Bikeboy” and I have made some sacrifices and tough decisions along the way, but she’s a stay-at-home mom, and we love her for it.

    (And I join with JJ in scorning families where both parents work so they can afford sweet European vacations, or a big pretentious house on the hill, or a house full of leather furniture, or motorhome payments, etc. But we all have choices to make.)

    However, I also realize there are other families with different circumstances. Like single-parent situations where if Mom doesn’t work, NOBODY works.

    Let’s see… the state licenses pharmacists, outfitters and guides, real estate agents, commodity dealers, pesticide applyers, seed buyers, truck drivers, shorthand reporters (!), bartenders, marriage counselors, nurses and doctors, wastewater professionals (?), etc., etc., etc. … so apparently it’s not a “Big Government” thing.

  15. “No mention of this in the local daily.”

    How did you miss the front page story about this in the Statesman on Thursday? Did you really not look before you made that statement?

    EDITOR NOTE–Guardian is in South Pacific on fact finding trip and delayed the post. Sis is cool.

  16. JJ:
    Wow, sounds like you’ve never had a minimim- (or even low-) wage job. Glad you’re doing well, but take a look at the ads in The Daily Paper.
    Look at the house for rent, apartment for rent etc. ads, look at the prices. Then look at the help-wanted ads, look at the pay they’re offering.
    Unless one has training, experience, a degree or whatever’s required for one of the few higher-paying jobs, many of those jobs would barely cover the rent. So if one has any bad habits — such as eating, wearing clothes, etc., things can be pretty tight.
    Then note that many of the jobs are part-time, offer no health insurance or other benefits, and do the calculations again.
    Next, consider if those wages must house, feed and clothe more than one person … And if they happen to have to cover three or four — say a couple with two children — …
    And since it’s nearly impossible to work in the Boise area without a car unless one of the lowest-rent places just happens to be close to one of the jobs … yeah, there are buses, on a few routes for a few hours, but many businesses aren’t very accomodating about saying, “Oh, you don’t have a car? OK, we’ll make sure you always get off before the buses quit running, and you’ll never have to work on Sunday, and you’ll never have to go out for any purpose.”
    You’re dropping all the workers into the “bigger home, more cars, boat etc.” category, but that just ain’t necessarily the case.

    As for the outsourcing, I’m not really in favor of outsourcing our parenting, but sometimes it’s necessary — not only because both parents may have to work, but sometimes because there aren’t two — one may be dead, or in Iraq in the military, or in jail, or severely disabled or whatever.
    However, I might be in favor of outsourcing our Legislature. Surely someone in India or somewhere could do a better job.

  17. River City, if you are for “smart government” you must be the most horribly frustrated person in Idaho! Using the word”smart” in the same sentance with “Idaho legislators” is a huge mistake(on BOTH sides of the aisle).

  18. Grumpy Old Guy
    Mar 3, 2007, 4:23 am

    I think that this non-action by the majority of the legislators voting is further indication of the fact that they are totally and completely lacking in any knowledge of what most working people face. The lack of standards of child care lead to abuses, to latch-key childhoods, to greatly poverty and less education. If this keeps up, these kids will all grow up to be (Republican) legislators. Shame on the nay-sayers on this vital subject, shame!

  19. Joe, when this was posted there was no story as you can see by the respective dates on the stories. And even when they ran a story days after the hearing the thrust of the article was on the recent national study. They buried and referenced only one legislator’s comments voting on the measure and utterly failed to list the members of the committee, their votes, or any other comments, pro or con, on the measure. The focus should have been on the hearing with reference to the study not the other way around. In fact it looks like they only included Loertscher’s comments as an afterthought and even then it came straight out of the article from a paper in Washington probably as a result of the email I sent Dan Popkey requesting why his paper did no story it.

    Democracy depends upon an informed electorate but if the local paper doesn’t inform its readership of the very basic workings of democracy in this state how can we hold legislators accountable for bad decisions? The comments of those legislators voting no on minimum standards for day cares disclose a myopic and archaic point of view demonstrating how unfit these legislators are to recognize the connections between, and to solve, the problems facing them, which this year include dangerous daycares and a nursing shortage. But these legislators will suffer no recriminations if we are unaware. Big thanks to Dave for helping to plug the holes of our ignorance.

  20. Cyclops, you are correct, I am constantly frustrated by Idaho politics.
    My wife is a councilor for the Meridian School district, and despite a three year masters degree required for the position she is on the same pay scale as are teachers. I am a public employee working for the fine City of Eagle. If my wife or myself decided to stay at home we would not be able to own a home and would definately have to get rid of one of our cars. We would also probably have to take at least one of our kids out of music lessson. Let’s see, which one should we choose? You see it only takes making a middle income wage, not a minimum wage, to put both parents to work in order to provide some basic advantages to your family.

  21. The Idaho Legislature has consistently been at war with adequate education, child facilities of any kind, and keeping the majority of Idahoans above surfdom.

    Our daughter makes well above the minimum wage and finds it difficult to cover day-to-day expenses. Her monthly grocery bill has nearly doubled in the last three years without a change in diet. Utilities have gone up. Gas has gone up. And she is just one person driving an older vehicle and living in an older rental.

    For people with children on the majority of Idaho wages, finding affordable daycare is the first issue. For those who can afford it, only those in the Boise area have the ability to judge their choices based on licensing standards.

    I say to JJ: Why aren’t your children walking or biking home from school?

  22. Sis – Thank you for getting this discussion started! There are many related issues, which becomes even more clear when reading all the responses.

    Kevin Richert did eventually do an opinion piece about the topic on his Statesman blog. It was likely inspired, albeit perhaps indirectly, by your effort to get the paper to cover the issue. I called Kevin when his piece was posted and suggested that it might be helpful to the general public if the Statesman would take the time to do a piece about the ages, and urban vs. rural, etc. background on our 105 legislators.

    I’m not sure of the average age of our legislators, but I do know that many of them are WELL past their child-rearing years. Not only has it been a long time since they had young children, but I think part of the daycare issue is the difference between generations and how things work now, versus how it worked “then”. People who were raising their children in the 1950’s and 60’s have a different perspective than do those of us who had our children in the 1980’s, 90’s and 2000’s. (I admit, I had three in the 80’s, two in the 90’s and one in the 00’s myself!)

    Anyway, thanks again for getting the conversation started on here. If nothing else, this issue should remind all of us with young children that we can never be too careful when leaving our children with other people – even when only for short periods of time.

  23. From the Idaho Press Tribune another example of why these laws are necessary. http://www.idahopress.com/articles/2007/03/03/news/news1.txt

  24. BoiseCitzen
    Mar 6, 2007, 8:28 am

    Check out Red State Rebels dot com to see who is a welfare king! A million dollar one at that. Unbelieveable.

  25. Sharon,

    Wow, “three in the 80’s, two in the 90’s and one in the 00’s”.

    You are stronger than most of us.

  26. Unbelievable, our fine legislators had a chance to redeam themselves on this issue and again resisted indicating that minimum standards for daycares would head us down the road toward Soviet style Communism. Amazing, simply amazing.
    Maybe this will wake our citizenry up to just how out of touch with modern society these backward thinking politicians are.

  27. Here’s an idea that I think could apply to many of the state licenses that Bikeboy mentioned: the state issues licenses a) for revenue and b) because it’s something easy to do that they can point at and say, “Look! We’re protecting you from shady business’ by requiring them to be licensed! Now you can be sure they’re well trained in their field!”

    I’ll skip the argument about how people still come across all kinds of “licensed” shady business’ and get to my idea: make it an optional certification. If a business wants to, they can become “certified” by the state and be able to display a plaque or something (like BBB or Chamber of Commerce members) people who don’t feel the need or have the money to become certified are free to skip it.

    Consumers would then have a choice. If certification was important to you (in daycares, for example) you’d seek out those business’ that are certified, if it wasn’t (barbers), you’d just go wherever it was more convenient. Certified business’ could point at their certification as something important for their customers, and uncertified business’ might be able to offer lower prices (not having to pay for an annual certification) or being able to offer products/services/techniques that lie outside the bounds of official certification.

    The market would determine which type of business will be more popular and profitable.

    This way everybody wins!

  28. This disgusted me when I first read about it.

    However, I became outraged when four of these legislators tried to justify their reasons in today’s post register op-ed section.

    I wrote an article that clearly lays out their hypocrisy.

    Please comment, and especially use the Share feature to email two of those legislators and ask them to answer the charges of hypocrisy.


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