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Archive for the ‘Cost and affordability’ Category

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Screenshot: Committee on Economic Development website

Pay attention to Louisiana. It has a tax credit program that policymakers should know about.

“Louisiana pioneered its School Readiness Tax Credits in 2007,” according to “Pathways to High-Quality Child Care: The Workforce Investment Credit,” a policy brief published by the Committee for Economic Development, part of The Conference Board, a nonprofit, business-led policy organization.

In part, Louisiana’s tax credit “provides ECE directors and staff with a refundable credit linked to their educational attainment at four levels and work experience in a quality program. The credit amount increases as the credentials rise,” the brief explains.

The tax credit is “not an entitlement.” The only individuals who qualify are those who “voluntarily join the registry, achieve professional development, and have been working for at least six months in a licensed program that participates in the state quality rating system qualify for the credit.”

“The credit is adjusted for inflation annually,” and in 2014, “the value of the credit by qualification level ranged from $1,630 to $3,260 and a total of 3,770 individuals claimed it. The average credit was $2,150…” (more…)

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“It began when my husband Phil and I started looking for a preschool for our children. We visited programs, talked to preschool teachers, and tried to imagine our kids sitting at tiny tables, making friends, and climbing on outdoor play structures.

“We started to see how complex – and at times heartbreaking – the quest for finding a quality preschool can be. I asked our preschool director if she ever had to turn children away because their parents couldn’t afford to pay for it. Sure, she told me, every year for the last 28 years. I asked if there were children this year who couldn’t afford it. She said there were five.

“Of course I couldn’t sleep at night knowing this, so I wrote a check for those five children to go to preschool. Phil already knew the answer, but he still asked if I intended to keep doing this. Probably, I said.

“Phil suggested that we go big, and we created Taly Foundation.”

“Invest in young children now: Pre-K programs help parents and build workforce of future,” by Jill Dixon, CommonWealth Magazine, August 22, 2017

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Inequality between children from low-income families and those from high-income families starts early – and creates a daunting achievement gap.

“…children’s earliest learning experiences and outcomes” vary considerably “based on their parents’ incomes and education,” Sara Mead writes in “Education Inequality Starts Early,” a U.S. News and World Report article.

Mead focuses on children’s earliest years, a topic she says is missing from recent debates about inequality.

The seeds of educational inequality are sadly familiar. Middle class children are more likely to be read to, and according to the well-known Hart-Risley study, they hear 30 million more words than their lower-income peers.

“As a result, by the time they enter kindergarten, children from the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds are already far behind their peers in the highest quartile of socioeconomic status on measures of early reading and math skills,” Mead writes.

The good news: (more…)

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Screenshot: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Report

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is making the business case for high-quality early education.

“… America is facing an unprecedented workforce crisis: a large and growing shortage of skilled workers,” the foundation says in a newly released report – “Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow: The Business Case for High-Quality Childcare.”

“From Wall Street to Main Street, the world of work is changing—and our strategies for developing tomorrow’s workforce must change with it,” the report says.

Katharine B. Stevens, a senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute who wrote the report, says in a statement, “Achievement gaps are emerging much earlier than we previously understood. The costs of children arriving in kindergarten not ready to learn are enormously high.” (more…)

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“We don’t have to talk anymore about the value of early childhood education: everyone agrees it’s critical. We do, however, have to talk about affordability, logistics and policy. With preschool tuition running $10,000-$30,000 per year, the cost of sending one child to preschool can be more than a family’s rent or mortgage. Early childhood education is not just a child development issue, it’s an economic one…”

“To address this issue, the city convened an Early Childhood Task Force in 2014. Its 2015 report articulates the admirable vision that “all children in Cambridge [will] receive high quality early education and care from birth through third grade,” and recommends initial steps toward that goal…”

“To start this process, the council and committee will have a joint roundtable discussion this fall. One of the main tasks of the roundtable should be to set a deadline by which a comprehensive system of early childhood education will be in place. A deadline will force us to answer, sooner rather than later, the questions related to policy, financing, and logistics.

“Some of those questions are: (more…)

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Eva’s parents are “in quite a bind: having to choose between leaving baby Eva in the care of others at this young age or losing job security during this crucial family transition. They also worry about even finding child care that they can afford. Eva’s parents are not alone. Many parents in our nation are feeling these pressures.”

“Getting it Right for our Babies,” The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, the University of California, Berkeley, June 6, 2017

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What do many parents need to get a job?

Child care.

But too often this need is ignored. And a study done in Louisiana has found that unmet child care needs generate a $1 billion loss for the state’s economy.

The study is the first of its kind to be conducted in Louisiana, and its results point to issues we talk about here in Massachusetts every day, including: child care costs, access, and workforce needs.

“To date, we have been unable to locate Louisiana-based studies of how child care instability affects the state’s workforce productivity,” according to the study report, “Losing Ground: How Child Care Impacts Louisiana’s Workforce Productivity and the State Economy.”

“This study attempts to address this gap.” (more…)

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