Our local Assemblywoman, Cristina Garcia, helped to sponsor bill AB302. This bill is aimed for young mothers who wouldn’t have to choose between feeding their children and their studies. It’s a Lactation Accommodation Bill that would set aside class time or designate areas for them to breastfeed. It’s an extension of existing state law that affects the employer-employee workplace relationships in terms of breastfeeding.
I’m not going to totally criticize the bill because I do see its origins came from positive intentions. There are teen moms that need to feed their children and need time to do it. What I think is problematic is the continual transfer of responsibility from the homes into the classroom. The world is globalized and this current generation is competing with children their same age in Europe, Asia, Africa, and we could be left behind.
Can’t an argument be made that bills similar to this, only invites more reasons for the parents to be less responsive? A lot of school districts already provide students breakfast, lunch, and sometimes afternoon meals. Teacher’s lose quality time teaching because children are eating instead or can’t concentrate because their hungry. I even know some that have to clean their students because they aren’t potty trained and in some cases parents treat it as if it was one giant babysitting service. I definitely think they need to be paid more.
According to an LA Times article on September 9th, across California 44% of students meet the targets for their grade in English. 34% meet their targets for their grades in math. These statistics when LAUSD is factored out individually, are 33% and 25%. These test scores represent part of her district, and are signs of something troubling as more and more parents move their kids to charter schools. And now we might be able to add breastfeeding corners to that. Our Chinese counterparts are laughing at us.
I don’t see the bill as harmful, but I would just like to remind everyone that our competition is real. I understand that a lot of students come from poor homes, but that still isn’t an excuse. The role of a parent is to be a parent, and not to rely on the schools to teach, groom, and raise their kids without their input. Teachers and unions should demand more from them, parents should demand more of themselves, and stop placing so much responsibility on the teachers.