The election results bring a new sense of urgency to our field. We need to work harder than ever to ensure our children get the support they need to be happy, healthy, engaged learners on the first day of kindergarten, and beyond.
With strong voter support for education and the early years, the local and state elections point the way. In places where we made progress on early education and care, we must turn our focus to implementation so that we realize the true promise of those advances. In places where we fell short, we must continue to push together. For a look at how early education fared in California and across the country – and recent early childhood news, publications, and events – read below.
Early Ed and a Trump Presidency
Donald Trump’s platform included an agenda for child care that included lowering costs, rewriting the tax code to allow working parents to deduct child care expenses from their income tax, and six months of paid leave to new mothers. A new website outlining the President-elect’s positions does not include child care, but mentions “high-quality early childhood” as first on the list of education policies to support “learning-and-earning opportunities at the state and local levels.” The President-elect recently nominated Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Check out Education Week for an examination of existing federal early childhood programs and Trump’s proposals.
Early Ed in California
In California, voters approved all three statewide education initiatives, with some promising implications for early childhood education. Proposition 55 extends the high-income earner personal income taxes that began under Proposition 30 to fund K-12 schools, California Community Colleges, and in certain years, health care. The additional revenues generated by Proposition 30 have provided space in the state budget for early childhood education and other vital services and we will continue to advocate for that.
Voters embraced California’s diversity with the passage of Proposition 58, which removes barriers to multilingual education and makes it easier for public schools to decide how to teach English learners – whether in bilingual, English-only or other types of programs. Between now and July 2017 when the measure is implemented, there is a tremendous opportunity to create career pathways for educators in the early years and beyond, and to provide professional development that reflects what research shows about the benefits of supporting two languages in the early years. For more information on next steps, check out Californians Together, the California Association for Bilingual Education and my recent Huffington Post blog: California Can Lead the Nation on Multilingualism and Diversity.
Proposition 51 provides new resources to construct and repair school buildings. Limiting this to K-14 public school facilities was a missed opportunity to include pre-k, which faces major facilities shortages. However, districts should consider using these funds for TK classrooms to support lower class sizes and ratios appropriate for young children.
Two local measures to increase sales taxes to support children’s services including early learning faced challenges at the ballot box. In Marin County, Measure A, which would have used sale tax increases to support preschool, child care, health care and afterschool, did not pass. In Solano County, voters also declined to support a sales tax increase that would have supported children’s services and programs, including child abuse and prevention, high-quality early care and education, and preschool.
Early Ed Across the Country
Across the country, two major Ohio cities approved increased taxes to support preschool. In Cincinnati, almost two-thirds of voters approved Issue 44, a property tax levy that will fund a citywide preschool program and alleviate a Cincinnati Public Schools budget deficit. In Dayton, a strong majority supported an income tax increase under Issue 9, with high-quality pre-k for all of the city’s four year olds as a centerpiece. A few states over in Missouri, however, voters did not pass Amendment 3, which aimed to raise funds for early childhood health and education through a cigarette tax increase.
Governors and Early Ed
Polls have shown that across party lines, early education is a winning issue, and we hope California’s gubernatorial candidates will take note. In Indiana, preschool became a key part of the debate between the two candidates, though the dispute was not over whether to do so, but how. Governor-elect Eric Holcomb pledged to expand pre-k in this campaign ad. And in Vermont, Governor-elect Phil Scott pledged he would prioritize early education in this candidate statement solicited by the Let’s Grow Kids campaign.
As the gubernatorial race ramps up in California, early education stands to become more visible with the entry of former state superintendent Delaine Eastin, who recently announced her candidacy. Eastin has said that she will make public education a priority, including full-day and mandatory kindergarten and universal preschool. We’ll be pressing candidates Gavin Newsom, John Chiang, and recent entrant Antonio Villaraigosa for their positions.
California Department of Education (CDE), Early Education and Support Division (EESD) invites Title 5 suggestions
The CDE-EESD announced an action plan to update the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), Chapter 19. Child Care and Development Programs and Chapter 19.5. CalWORKs and Child Care and Development Programs, and invites early childhood contractors, partners, and stakeholders to provide regulation suggestions. The regulations will be updated and aligned with recently enacted California laws and the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Program Final Rule. Suggestions should cite the 5 CCR section number and language; indicate if the language needs to amended, deleted, or added; suggest language to amend or add; and state briefly why. Please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 9, 2017.
Educare Receives QRIS Rating of 5
Congratulations to our friends at Educare California at Silicon Valley on receiving a site score of 5, the highest possible rating on the Quality Rating & Improvement System. Educare’s commitment to continuous improvement, individualized child support, and family engagement is an example that we can all learn from.
Meet the Early Edge Initiative Team
In Sacramento, look for Patti Herrera, Director of Governmental Relations for School Services of California; consultant Susanna Cooper; and Hilary McLean, Public Affairs Consultant at Capitol Impact. Consultant Araceli Sandoval-González continues to lead our work in Los Angeles. And in the Bay Area, Early Edge Initiative Director Deborah Kong and Strategic Communications Officer Diana Chun are collocated with our colleagues at the Early Learning Lab in downtown Oakland.
New Research on Implicit Bias
A new study may shed light on the underlying causes of disproportionate preschool expulsions and suspensions of black boys. In an experimental study by the Yale Child Study Center, early educators were asked to watch videos of children in a classroom and were primed to expect challenging behaviors. Findings revealed that when expecting challenging behaviors teachers gazed longer at black children, especially black boys. The study also includes recommendations on future research and policy on teacher training. And, check out resources on reducing suspension and expulsion in early childhood settings from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
New ESSA Early Learning Guidelines
The U.S. Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance on early learning, the first comprehensive look at how the nation’s new education law supports our youngest learners. Local Educational Agencies will find opportunities for expanding high-quality early learning through a number of specific provisions in the law.
The Case for P-3 Alignment
Because learning is cumulative, we must tackle the silos between pre-k and K-3 so that one level builds seamlessly upon the previous one, according to an executive summary highlighting key findings of “Starting Early: Education from Prekindergarten to Third Grade” by The Future of Children, a collaboration between Princeton University and the Brookings Institution. Another highlight: quality is crucial and teacher-student interactions are key.
Work Ahead on Child Care in California
California has made some progress, but still has work to do in re-establishing a statewide waiting list for child care, bringing state reimbursement rates in line with current market rates, among other areas, according to “Red Light, Green Light: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2016,” by the National Women’s Law Center.
Evidence-Based Home Visiting
The most recent Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness review provides information about which home visiting program models have evidence of effectiveness as defined, and is conducted by Mathematica Policy Research on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services. The review includes programs that aim to improve outcomes in at least one of eight domains: (1) maternal health; (2) child health; (3) positive parenting practices; (4) child development and school readiness; (5) reductions in child maltreatment; (6) family economic self-sufficiency; (7) linkages and referrals to community resources and supports; and (8) reductions in juvenile delinquency, family violence, and crime.
California Children’s Well-Being by County
The new 2016-17 California County Scorecard from Children Now provides a snapshot of children’s well-being, based on education, health, and child welfare & economic indicators across California’s 58 counties. In early childhood education, the scorecard explores how many children 0-5 are read to everyday, how many 3 and 4 year olds attend preschool, and how many 3rd graders are reading at grade level.
NC Study Finds Lasting Benefits of Quality Early Ed
Early childhood programs led to higher reading and math test scores and reduced grade retention special education placements in North Carolina, according to a recent report published in the journal Child Development. The positive gains lasted through 5th grade and held across all racial and economic lines. These findings come on the heels of research out of Tulsa, Oklahoma that found benefits from quality early childhood education persisting through 8th grade. For report details, see NPR Ed’s coverage.
Jan. 26, 2017: Early Edge and First 5 Fresno County Dual Language Learners Forum
The forum is an opportunity for educators and stakeholders to share their views on the barriers they face in supporting the learning and growth of dual language learners, and to inform Early Edge’s emerging policy framework. We’re partnering with First 5 Fresno to host the forum to highlight the early childhood community’s innovative work in Fresno in improving instructional practices to serve DLLs. Register here.
Stay tuned for the next stop on Early Edge’s listening tour – a convening focused on Local Educational Agencies in Los Angeles.