Over spring break, Wanda Gomez said her sons knew exactly where they wanted to spend the afternoon. “They said, today’s a pool day, but like, we cannot go to pool, because I have to work,” she said.
That’s how it goes all summer long. For many parents, public school offers an important benefit beyond education: free child care. Gomez has a 5 year old and a 14 year old, and she often brings them along to her job, registering new voters outside a local grocery store. “It’s more difficult when they start, ‘Mommy, I’m hungry; Mommy, I’m tired; Mommy, I’m thirsty,’" Gomez said.