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Hobbled by 1,000 Closures, Washington’s Child Care Industry Thrust Into De Facto Teaching

A day after the Seattle Public Schools superintendent announced she would recommend all remote learning in the fall, Angelia Hicks-Maxie, a South Seattle child care provider, said she was “freaking out.”

Hicks-Maxie, CEO of Tiny Tots Development Center, whose programs include before- and after-school care, had for months faced an onslaught of risks and changes because of COVID-19.

While some children will log on from home under the supervision of parents, many will need to do so from child care operations. Staffers will have whole new responsibilities: making sure children “get” to class, helping them connect by video chat, and answering questions about schoolwork directed their way.

Teachers will be safe at home, Hicks-Maxie noted. She doesn’t blame them. But she said that will leave child care workers as de facto teachers — at half the pay. Many child care workers earn close to the minimum wage, though Hicks-Maxie has given her staff a 25% pandemic bonus and Fridays off.

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