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A NOT SO HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY

Here's some food for thought this Mother's Day. Since 1950, the proportion of working-age women in the labor force has doubled. Today, more than three-fourths of women with children ages 6 to 17, and half of all women with children under age 6, are in the paid work force.

So here's the problem. Uncle Sam is a dead-beat dad, school hours are stuck in the 1950s, and women do not get equal pay on the job.Parents know that raising children brings a lot of joy and takes a lot of work. Mothers generally know more about the work part than fathers because mothers still do most of it. And many more women than men are raising children on their own.

Schools seem to think kids have three parents: Two parents with jobs to pay the bills, and another parent to be home in mid-afternoon when school lets out. After-school programs are scarce, as are affordable summer programs. This is harmful to children and to society.

Yet judging by government policies, child care is not in the public interest. For American mothers, paid maternity leave is a rarity, while in many other countries governments assure quality, affordable child care and meaningful paid leave for the parents of newborns and sick children.