November 19, 2021


by: admin


Tags: Act, build, Childhood, Early, education, gamechanger, News


Categories: Special needs education

Construct Again Higher Act a ‘Recreation-Changer’ for Early Childhood Training | Training Information

After the House of Representatives passed the $ 1.75 trillion Build Back Better package of education, health care, workers and other social benefits and passed it on to the Senate, the US is ready to improve access to early childhood education on a sustainable basis.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say this is a game changer in early education,” said Albert Wat, senior policy director for the Alliance for Early Success. “If that goes away, it will be an important chapter in the history book of early education.”

Of course, any significant federal investment would be remarkable in a service long viewed as an eyesore on the country’s educational system. When it comes to early childhood education – both childcare and pre-kindergarten – the US is dwarfed by the types of services and accessibility that other developed countries offer families.

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According to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released last year, the US ranks fourth from bottom out of 41 developed nations in the percentage of 3 to 5-year-olds who attend early childhood education. Only Costa Rica, Switzerland, Turkey and Saudi Arabia follow the USA with an enrollment rate of 65%. More than half of the countries in the analysis take in over 90% of their 3 to 5 year olds.

But in the US, more than half of families live in what are known as childcare deserts and lack access to quality early childhood education programs that research has shown to have long-term effects on student achievement, including closing academic, social and emotional achievement gaps , Reduce placement rates in special schools and increase graduation rates.

Perhaps most urgently: Only 18% of children from low-income families – who often go to kindergarten behind their peers and who benefit most from early education – participate in preschool programs. Those who have access are often enrolled in lower quality programs.

And beyond academics, childcare and preschool have proven essential to a thriving economy – something the country saw firsthand as the pandemic closed daycare and preschool programs across the country, kicking millions of mothers out of work and shining bring the country’s broken early childhood education system to the fore.

But all of that could soon change when Congress sends the social spending package to the president’s desk. The House of Representatives approved the package on Friday, and the Senate – where the package faces steeper hurdles – is planning a vote before the holidays.

Although Republicans in Congress have labeled the package a “spending frenzy” – or worse, a “death knell for prosperity and opportunity in our country” – the issue of better access to childcare and preschool has long received bipartisan support.

Indeed, the Republican-led states in the south have made some of the greatest strides in the country on this issue. Even in the face of the pandemic, Alabama secured an additional $ 6 million increase in Pre-K funding and Florida increased Pre-K funding by $ 9.9 million for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Until now, our country has never had a really coherent approach to early childhood education,” says Wat. “We’re not investing in them to cover even those we think should be eligible for childcare or pre-K. We fluctuate between viewing early care in education as job support, or viewing early education or early childhood development. And because they are both in quite a significant way in this bill – both preschool and childcare – this is really an opportunity for the country, for the states, to build a more coherent 0-5 system that is fairer and for that works better for children, families, providers and educators. “

It looks like the package includes $ 400 billion for both childcare and pre-kindergarten, which policy experts say underscores the importance of the two systems working together.

The lion’s share of the aid should go to childcare, with $ 100 billion for the first three years of the program. And then, from fiscal year 2025 through fiscal year 2027, the federal government would reimburse states for 90% of childcare costs. States that choose to receive federal funding will have to spend half of it directly on childcare services and a quarter on improving the quality and availability of childcare. The remaining funds are flexible and can be used to cover the cost of childcare services, to improve the quality of childcare, or to improve the facilities and management of childcare programs.

States must also commit to guaranteeing at least a living wage for child care workers and setting wages that are equivalent to those of elementary education workers with equivalent qualifications.

In the first three years, US $ 18 billion would be available to states that want to develop or expand their pre-kindergarten offerings for 4- and 5-year-olds who are not yet in kindergarten. From fiscal year 2025, states participating in the pre-kindergarten program must provide a share of 10%, which will be increased over three years to 40% by fiscal year 2027.

While funding is aimed at providing a “universal” pre-kindergarten – meaning every 4 and 5 year old would be eligible regardless of income status – states must prioritize communities and zip codes where the highest unmet need for early childhood education is in programs. In particular, federal aid must build on other already existing federal, state and municipal funds for early childhood care and education programs – not replace them – and must be used to support what early education experts call a “mixed support system” that enables families Choose from different types of programs, including those run by school districts, those run by Head Start, or even a home-based program.

In contrast to K-12 education, access to childcare and pre-kindergarten varies widely across states, if at all – others grant grants directly to private providers or rely primarily on Head Start.

“How funds are administered and used will vary from state to state, as will education in general,” said Ellen Frede, senior co-director at the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University and professor at the Graduate School of training. “If you are really interested in this system working, it has to be a mixed and well thought-out delivery system.”

Frede would know – she oversaw the implementation of the New Jersey pre-kindergarten program that currently serves 3- and 4-year-olds in 35 of the state’s poorest school districts – about 25% of the state’s counties.

Frede says the way states use their funds – if they choose the programs – will largely depend on the types of services and access they already offer. Oklahoma, for example, has a half-day program for 4-year-olds, but currently only cares for 3-year-olds with disabilities. Florida oversees a pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds that is known for its low standards. And it only subsidizes about $ 2,000 per child. Meanwhile, Wyoming has no pre-kindergarten program.

Currently, the District of Columbia runs the most universal pre-kindergarten program in the country, with nearly 80% of the city’s 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled.

Certainly, such a high level of funding also brings with it concerns – especially the ability of a state to oversee the establishment of such services and ensure the high qualification of the junior staff, while at the same time the diversity of a workforce that already more closely reflects the children they serve than the K-12 system.

“The places have to take the time to find out these things, otherwise we won’t keep the promise to change children’s educational pathways, which is the purpose of this funding,” says Frede.


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