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Congress is on summer recess.

Which means that many U.S. senators and representatives are back in their districts – making right now a great time for advocacy.

What can you do? The Ounce and the First Five Years Fund have collected some good ideas in a toolkit and related state fact sheets.

“As Congressional delegates return to their home states, we encourage you to capitalize on this opportunity to highlight the great work happening in your state around early childhood programs by inviting your federal legislators to visit local early learning programs,” an email from National Policy Team at the Ounce says.

One way to start: Thank members of Congress for their bipartisan support of early education and care, then encourage them to do more.

Congress has already:

• made a historic, $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program in fiscal year 2018

• increased funding for Head Start and Early Head Start as well as for IDEA Preschool Grants, which support children with disabilities, and

• created the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five program which gives states funds to assess their preschool needs and improve their early learning systems (more…)

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“In recent years, bipartisan work has produced positive results, yet 40 percent of Virginia children are arriving in kindergarten unprepared for success in school.”

“Providing a quality publicly-subsidized care and education option for all underserved three- and four-year-olds is the best investment we can make in our workforce of the future.”

 

— Governor Ralph Northam, “Governor Northam Establishes Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness,” Governor’s Office press release, July 24, 2019

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (center). Photo source: The City of New York


”The tentative agreement provides a pathway to pay parity between certified early childhood education teachers and entry-rate Department of Education salaries by October 1, 2021.”

“ ‘There are few things as valuable as early childhood education and our youngest New Yorkers deserve the very best,’ said Mayor de Blasio. ‘With this agreement, we’re ensuring whether you’re in one of our schools or teaching in a community based organization, you get the same starting salary. That means our kids and parents can rest assured that they’ll always have our best teachers in the classroom, helping our future leaders develop the skills they need to succeed.’ ”

“ ‘All NYC teachers deserve the same pay, the same benefits and the same respect, and when we provide pay parity in education, we provide better educational opportunities for our students,’ said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.”

 

“Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson Help District Council 1707 Local 205 and the Day Care Council of New York Reach Tentative Contract Agreement for Early Childhood Education Employees,” the Official Website of the City of New York, July 9, 2019.

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“I am all butterflies. Every part of my body is shaking,” Jean Fahey said when she found out she had won the Early Childhood Book Challenge sponsored by OpenIDEO and the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation.

OpenIDEO “is part of IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy” that encourages people to tackle a wide range of social problems.

The Early Childhood Book Challenge asked for creative manuscripts that would “inspire children and their caregivers to read together.”

Specifically, the manuscripts had to:

• “Excite and educate caregivers about the opportunities and importance of reading, singing or talking together”

• support early language development by engaging “young children in their earliest years,” and

• “Reflect the lived experience of families living in urban contexts in the U.S., in communities like Philadelphia”

In response, people from five continents submitted more than 500 manuscripts. (more…)

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“The Brunswick Day Nursery School, and about 3,100 others like it established across the U.S. between 1943 and 1946, made up a public child care system that served between 500,000 and 600,000 kids, more than half of whom were preschoolers.

”If you have never heard of this program, you are not alone. The nation’s brief foray into public child care has been largely forgotten.

”For a three-year period, the U.S. government got into the child care business, albeit uncomfortably and incompletely. All it took to make it happen was a world war and a massive labor shortage.”

“Between 1940 and 1944, women’s labor force participation grew by half. By 1944, about 19 million women were working outside the home, and about 12 percent of them had kids under 10.

“Clearly, something needed to be done. That something ended up involving funds from the Lanham Act, officially known as the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1940.”

 

“Maine Once Had Public Child Care. What Happened To It?” by Nora Flaherty, Maine Public Radio, June 27, 2019

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What happens when parents are spending $10,000 or more a year for child care?

What happens when early educators and child care workers don’t earn enough to cover their own families’ expenses?

There are no easy answers, but as we blogged last year, the video posted above shines a needed spotlight on these challenges.

Recently at a Boston Foundation event on the early childhood workforce, Marcy Whitebook included the video in her presentation, and noted that it has been one of the most widely shared resources that she and her colleagues at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) have produced.

CSCCE produced the video along with the national nonprofit Child Care Aware of America.

For more information, research, and data about child care costs and workforce salaries, check out this Child Care Aware webpage as well as CSCCE’s webpage on compensation and its resources on the high cost of child care.

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Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas. Photo courtesy of Mission:Readiness.

 

Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas came to Boston earlier this month to talk about the link between child care and the military – and about the findings in a new, related report, “Child Care and National Security: How greater access to high-quality child care in Massachusetts can help improve military readiness.”

The upshot: high-quality child care is a key ingredient in preparing children to become successful adults who could serve in the military. But right now, most of this state’s potential military candidates could not join the armed forces because of poor health, limited educational attainment, and histories of illegal activities.

“If a basic part of the population, 70 percent roughly [in Massachusetts], cannot pass a simple entrance exam,” Pappas says in an NECN interview, “you have a recruiting problem.” (more…)

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