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“There are countless reasons why supporting the early childhood workforce is central to an economically thriving community. Much like construction workers shape our infrastructure through building our cities’ roads, bridges, and buildings, the early childhood workforce plays an integral role in shaping the development of our most valuable resource—young children.

“Municipal leaders recognize the importance of high-quality early childhood education opportunities and many are taking action to implement policies that support the early childhood workforce. NLC reached out to the cities of Jacksonville, Florida; Long Beach, California; and Albuquerque, New Mexico to find out how their municipal leaders are supporting the early childhood workforce.”

“While not every city has the same approach, promoting policies and practices to ensure the early childhood workforce is well-trained, fully compensated, and has access to resources is vital to the child’s success later in life.”

“Replicable Ways to Support the Early Childhood Workforce in Your City,” by By NLC Staff, the National League of Cities, October 11, 2019

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New research on racial segregation in early education has revealed a troubling trend.

“Nationwide, early childhood education is more segregated than kindergarten and first grade, even while enrolling a similar number of students,” according to the an Urban Institute report, “Segregated from the Start Comparing Segregation in Early Childhood and K–12 Education.”

“Early childhood programs are twice as likely to be nearly 100 percent black or Hispanic, and they are less likely to be somewhat integrated (with a 10 to 20 percent black or Hispanic enrollment share).”

Among the reasons this segregation is harmful:

“Research shows that the early years are the best time for children to learn tolerance and respect for kids from other races, cultures and backgrounds,” the Hechinger Report explains.

Halley Potter, a senior researcher at The Century Foundation, tells Education Dive, “Studies show that children learn more, in academic and social measures, when they have the chance to interact with peers who have different backgrounds and experiences. And these peer effects may be especially strong for young children in early education settings, for whom much of the day is spent in play and exploration alongside their peers.” (more…)

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“America, It’s Time to Talk About Child Care.”

That’s the title of a new report that declares what a lot of parents already know: America has a child care problem.

“…the federal government does not treat early childhood education as a public good nor does it provide adequate funding to support it,” the report says. “This chronic underfunding has led to a shortage of affordable, quality child care across the nation. And to the extent that child care is affordable for families, it is largely because early educators earn very low wages, and many must struggle to feed their own families.”

Eight organizations released the report jointly. They are: the Center for American Progress, the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for Law and Social Policy, Community Change, Every Child Matters, MomsRising, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Service Employees International Union.

This shortage of affordable, high-quality child care makes it tough for parents to go to work, which slows down the economy.

“Right now, the U.S. economy loses an astounding $57 billion per year in revenue, wages, and productivity as a result of child care problems,” the report warns. (more…)

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Children in five cities are going to be exposed to a lot more words.

That’s because Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded these cities — Birmingham, Ala., Detroit, Mich., Hartford, Conn., Louisville, Ky., and Virginia Beach, Va. — a combined $12 million over three years to replicate Providence Talks.

Providence Talks – “the first-ever Grand Prize Winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge,” according to a Bloomberg press release – is a language-rich early education initiative that equips children with recording devices that track the words children hear and use each day.

The initiative has had “promising results, helping thousands of young children increase their language development. Today, we’re glad to help five new cities adapt the program and work to achieve similar progress,” Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the 108th Mayor of New York City, says in the press release. (more…)

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“In June, the city of Memphis, Tennessee, lost funding for 1,000 pre-K slots due to an expiring federal grant.”

“Instead of passively accepting the void in federal leadership, cities such as Memphis are finding innovative ways to bring together the public, private and nonprofit sectors to finance and expand needed services for children, and increasing pressure on local officials to reinvest in child services.”

“Pittsburgh provides a good example of a community that successfully implemented an innovative method to fund youth programming. In 2008, the One Hill Coalition, a diverse group of 100 community groups in the city, brokered a collective-bargaining agreement with the developers of the new Pittsburgh Penguins arena. The agreement created a youth center and invested $8.3 million in neighborhood improvements, much of which went toward youth development programs.

“Similarly, the mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, set an example by advocating for children and dedicating tax revenue from business tax breaks set to expire. These funds are going directly to pre-K programming, helping to cover the loss of funding for 1,000 seats due to declining federal investment. In total, the revenues will bring the city an estimated $6 million annually by 2022.”

“Opinion: Cities find new ways to fill pre-K funding holes left by the federal government,” by Jennifer Davis and Elizabeth Gaines, The Hechinger Report, September 24, 2019

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Photo credits: Kate Samp and Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

Although they frequently get lots of “likes” on Facebook, infants and toddlers still don’t get the public policy attention that they deserve.

Thanks, however, to a new initiative — the Massachusetts Partnership for Infants and Toddlers (MPIT) – very young children should get more policy respect.

The story of MPIT began earlier this year when Strategies for Children and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley, along with a group of nonprofit partners, state agency representatives, and philanthropic funders, applied for a planning grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative.

Pritzker planned to award planning grants of $100,000 and actions grants of $1 to $3 million to states that submitted “winning proposals focused on expanding needed state and community services for children prenatal to age three and their families.”

Our goal was to use the Pritzker funding to create a statewide effort that would “result in a new (first-of-its-kind) state plan for infants and toddlers” as well as a new coalition focused on infants and toddlers. (more…)

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On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone, was the Stone Social Impact Forum speaker at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

In the audience were Amy O’Leary, the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign, and Titus DosRemedios, Strategies’ director of research and policy.

Amy asked Canada about investing in early education. Here’s an edited version of their exchange.

Amy: “What is it going to take for us to change our priorities and invest more earlier to get the bigger outcome later?”

Canada: “The science on this is really clear, [but] we’ve got science that is not driving policy, and I think this is going to be another one of these movements. It’s one of the reasons that we are trying to advocate for comprehensive, cradle to career [approaches], which does not mean pre-K to career. It means cradle to career.

“The science on this stuff is really clear, what happens to those young brains when kids are six months, one year. And if you’re in communities where people don’t know how to stimulate those brains appropriately, that’s going to put that kid at a disadvantage. So the question is: What is it going to take? It’s going to take us not giving up. (more…)

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