Letter to the editor: North Dakota lawmakers aren’t child friendlyI have been a resident of North Dakota all my life. For 60 years I have seen things that have thrilled me about our state, and I have seen things that disgust me. The anti-child legislation in the state houses is an example of the disgusting aspect of life in North Dakota.
By: By Germaine Erbele, LaMoure, N.D., The Jamestown Sun
I have been a resident of North Dakota all my life. For 60 years I have seen things that have thrilled me about our state, and I have seen things that disgust me. The anti-child legislation in the state houses is an example of the disgusting aspect of life in North Dakota.
I was a teacher for 36 years and I have seen the family dynamics and its changes over time. When I first started, many mothers were at home caring for their young children. Kindergarten was a time of learning to play with others, how to sit, recognize your name when written, and starting to learn your alphabet. Parents paid a small weekly fee to have their children receive a carton of milk during their milk break, because they realized the importance of calcium in their diet. The children went home to a mother who had a snack ready, helped with homework, made supper, read to them, gave them a bath and put them to bed. The father was busy working, so you didn’t expect to see many come to parent/teacher conferences.
Fast forward to the 21st century. In today’s family, both parents need to work. They may even need a couple of jobs to make ends meet. Day cares are expensive, and finding good ones can be a real challenge. I know a young couple who pay $1,600/month for two small children to attend such a place. In order to pay for day care, some parents have to scrimp on things like new clothes for their children or even by the end of the month, a nutritious meal. Both fathers and mothers come to parent/teacher conferences to see how their children are doing.
So, now we come to the reason I am writing. North Dakota’s legislators are not child friendly. We expect more and more of young families and yet we cannot afford to fund an extra carton of milk in the afternoon? We cannot fund Head Start? We cannot fund preschool because “When will parents accept their responsibility toward their children?” They are! A better question is, “When will North Dakota accept the responsibility for the children and young families in our state?”
We are always hearing about the huge surplus, why we have so much that we will give the oil industry a $600 million tax cut for extraction of oil. But not one cent for the youngest residents, the real future of our state. I think it is ironic that the state is so against abortion, but they don’t really care about the children that have been born. This is a sad, sad situation.