Given that my husband works at Google, I have been sitting on the New York Times piece from July 5, called, On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare fumble. My mind has been stewing over how even fewer employees will have access to the new in-house childcare and how only the richest of the rich will be able to afford to send their kids to the elite program which will cost upwards of $57,000 per year for two kids, according to the NY Times article.
When Father in Chief started at Google almost two years ago, I was excited to know that there was an in-house childcare program, even if it did have a long waiting list. If it was run by Google or even if it was Google-approved (as its program was), then it had to be worth waiting for. In the meantime, we searched out alternate programs run by the same company called Children's Creative Learning Center. Preschooler in Chief has been in the CCLC system for about a year and a half and we have been completely impressed with the teachers, the facilities, and the overall experience. It seems to be a top-notch program and we feel fortunate to have found it.
But now that Google is moving away from CCLC to its own privately run school following the "preschool philosophy called Reggio Emilia," according the article, I believe that Google has done a huge disservice to its employees. Moreover, it has done a huge disservice to Silicon Valley, and to corporate America in general. Why? Because at a time when every company wants to be more like Google, Google could have come up with a comprehensive plan that would have demonstrated that affordable, quality childcare can be provided to all employees. They could have done it. They could have shown the world that it was not only possible, but worth doing. It would have been the ultimate way to contribute to the greater good. To value all employees at all income levels.
Yes, the food perks are great. The bikes are great. The solar power is great. The cookies at 3pm are great. But more than all of that, employees need a safe place to put their kids during the day so that they can work.
No it isn't Google's responsibility to provide me or anyone else with solid, affordable childcare, but they could have done it. And that is what makes me the saddest. Because deep down I have always believed that Google really does care about its employees. It really does want to do the right thing. It really does want to set an example for the rest of the world that this is how things should be done and can be done. But I guess I've just been drinking too much of the organic, in-house cool-aide.