EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Our economy cannot function without child care. That simple fact has been brought into stark relief by the recent pandemic, which has forced parents across the country to choose between supporting their family financially and caring for their children.

“In the Covid-19 economy, you can have a kid or a job,” wrote Deb Perelman in The New York Times, “But you can’t have both.” That’s hardly an exaggeration. With school districts contemplating virtual or partial reopenings in the fall, many of the nation’s 50 million working parents will have to fill gaps in child care. Already, 13 percent of American parents have had to either quit a job or cut back their working hours because of a lack of child care.

This crisis isn’t new. For years, working families have struggled with the rising cost of child care and the difficulty of finding licensed providers.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.