MEDFORD, Mass. -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday the country should be making more investments in child care and early education.
The California Democrat said better access to affordable, quality early education and child care not only helps children and families, but is a long-term boost to the economy. Pelosi spoke after touring the Eliot-Pearson Children's School at Tufts University in Medford to learn about the school's approach to early childhood education research.
U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark, Lori Trahan and Ayanna Pressley — all Massachusetts Democrats — joined Pelosi to meet with early education advocates and tour the facility. Massachusetts has some of the highest child care costs in the country.
Pelosi said it's important for members of Congress to ask themselves why they ran for office — and for her the answer has always been about looking ahead, and how best the country can help families care for their children.
"My 'why' has always been the one in five children in the United States who live in poverty," she told the gathering of child care advocates, students and elected officials. "Everything that we do has to be about the children and their future."
Pelosi said that during a meeting this week with President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss an infrastructure package, she stressed the need to fund program for children with disabilities.
Pressley said for children the most important infrastructure is their home and family. She said helping stabilize parents financially will pay off for those families and the country in the long run.
Clark said the House is also looking at legislation that could help repay the loans of early education teachers. She said some of those teachers have salaries that, while low, may disqualify them from remaining in their subsidized housing, putting them at greater financial risk.
The Eliot-Pearson Children's School serves as a demonstration facility, providing a training and observation site for new and experienced teachers and a research facility for faculty and supervised students. The Children's School enrolls approximately 80 children. It has preschool and kindergarten to first grade classes.