On Wednesday afternoons, Toneshia Forshee picks up her son, a four-year-old who suffers from optic nerve hypoplasia and wears thick Coke-bottle glasses, from the early childhood education center he attends in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She brings him home to her immaculate two-bedroom apartment in a well-maintained complex down the street from a Sonic burger joint.
The two-generation model, in many respects, taps into a truth that most parents know innately, but that workforce policy has largely ignored: Parents, when they’re capable, will do almost anything for their children.
“The typical workforce approach looks at a group of parents and sees parenthood as a barrier because parents need childcare,” Sommer says. “And we’re looking at this as really turning it on its head and saying, ‘Actually, being a parent isn’t a barrier, it’s a huge motivation to improve your life.'”
At the heart of the two-generation model is the hope that the motivation goes both ways. Advocates of the model hope that low-income children who watch their parents work hard to complete post-secondary education will be inspired to do so themselves.
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