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Archive for the ‘National’ Category

“More Burlington youngsters would get access to improved daytime health and education under a new program announced Thursday by Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“The mayor proposed that $500,000 be set aside annually to expand the capacity of existing, high quality early-learning facilities.”

“‘By investing in our youngest children today, we will reap a better educated, healthier and more just tomorrow,’ he said.”

“Several other community leaders voiced support for the city’s new Early Learning Initiative, including Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe.

“Citing recent studies that link differences in cognitive development to income, Holcombe praised the initiative as an inspiration for the entire state.

“‘When we don’t pay attention to early care and learning, we are literally manufacturing inequity at the level of the brain.’”

“Pre-K education in Burlington gets big boost,” May 18, 2017, The Burlington Free Press

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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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“A Seattle organization is trying to help moms get their work done and get time with their kids. Women’s Business Incubator is a co-working space that has drop-in childcare with a preschool teacher.”

“The coworking space features a room where the little ones and moms can work and play side-by-side. There are additional rooms away from the kids where moms can focus on work while the kids spend time in a classroom or outside with a teacher.

“The program is significantly cheaper than traditional childcare and the group encourages members to network. They offer resources for moms who are trying to reenter the workforce after having children.

“The Incubator has only been open for a few months and they would like to expand. The goal is to put locations in other parts of Seattle and add hours giving more women the flexibility they desperately need to nurture their children and the dreams.”

“Seattle preschool allows moms and kids to work side-by-side,” KING5 News, May 11, 2017

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Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) in yellow. Photo: Strolling Thunder, Zero to Three

What makes members of Congress look good?

Babies!

Last week, the national nonprofit Zero to Three proved this point when it held a first-time-ever event called Strolling Thunder, a gathering of babies and parents from many states who came to Washington, D.C., to meet their Congressional representatives — and to put babies in the spotlight. (more…)

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“A new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, investigates how pre-K affects kids’ access to healthcare. The results suggest that universal pre-K programs are improving the odds that kids who need treatment for vision, hearing, or asthma issues get the help they need.”

“For example, the fact that the group of kids is 1% more likely to get hearing treatment overall means that hearing-impaired kids are actually 63% more likely to get treatment. For vision-impaired kids, the bump is 45%.”

“So why is pre-K changing health outcomes? The researchers suggest that putting kids in pre-K simply creates more opportunities for their health problems to get noticed, since early-childhood teachers are often trained to spot them.”

“Universal pre-K improves kids’ health in a hidden, powerful way, according to a new study,” Business Insider, April 12, 2017

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Vermont is pressing ahead on its preschool plans.

Back in 2014, then-Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill into a law that offered 10 hours a week of high-quality preschool programs to the state’s 3- and 4-year-olds. By 2016, more and more programs were up and running.

Now, Vermont is in its first year of fully implementing universal pre-K statewide.

As Vermont Public Radio (VPR) explains, “All of Vermont’s 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds who are not attending kindergarten are eligible to participate in Universal Pre-K, but it’s not required.”

The VPR report adds:

“Under Act 166, the state pays a set tuition to schools such as Wee Explorers to provide 10 hours of preschool a week, for the 35-week school year. This year the tuition is just under $3,100 per student. In total, the state is spending about $13.7 million on Pre-K tuition this year. That accounts for payments made to private preschools as well as payments to public preschools for out-of-district students who attend a preschool program run by a school district.”

“Basically, it works like a voucher program for preschool. Families can choose to send their child to pre-K at their local public school, if it’s offered. Or they can pick a private program that is ‘pre-qualified’ or, in other words, endorsed by the state.”

How’s it going? (more…)

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Massachusetts readers, please note that Early Education Advocacy Day at the State House has been rescheduled to April 24th, 2017, 10:30 a.m.

 

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What’s the best way to pay for child care? Here at Strategies for Children, we’re always looking at different approaches. As we’ve blogged, Finland uses tax revenues. And other European countries provide targeted subsidies to low-income families.

What about the United States?

Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst has an outside-the-box idea for a modernized education savings account. Whitehurst is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

The proposal: Invest $42 billion to “provide a substantial subsidy for every child from birth to fifth birthday in a family at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. This is nearly half the families in the U.S,” Whitehurst writes in “Why the federal government should subsidize childcare and how to pay for it.”

To finance this plan, Whitehurst calls for using the $26 billion that the country already spends on child care and adding another $16 billion that would come from revamping the country’s charitable donations tax deduction.  (more…)

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