On the morning of March 23rd, 2018, Congress approved an omnibus spending package that included a historic bipartisan provision to increase funding for the Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG) to $5.226 billion. This $2.37 billion increase from FY2017 levels nearly doubles CCDBG discretionary funding and represents the largest funding increase in the program’s history. Additionally, the omnibus bill also included provisions to allot $9.86 billion to Early Head Start & Head Start, and $250 million to the Preschool Development Grant program. Such increases in funding will enable states to implement critical quality improvements for child care programs to better serve the nation’s children.
These significant increases in federal early childhood education (ECE) funding add to the many layers of financing currently available for ECE. Many ECE providers use multiple sources of funding from separate programs, different funding streams, constituencies, eligibility requirements, and quality standards. A recent report from the Committee on Financing Early Care and Education with Highly Qualified Workforce has highlighted target areas of growth for financing ECE. We hope that the increases in federal funding will go directly toward supplementing these aims: 1.) financing a highly qualified workforce, 2.) providing affordable and equitable access to ECE, 3.) ensuring high quality ECE across contexts.
We are excited to see the positive benefits of this federal funding increase! Two of Teachstone’s central goals are to support a highly qualified ECE workforce and ensure high quality ECE across the country. We look forward to continuing to grow a highly qualified ECE workforce through professional development focused on teacher-child interactions. As increased federal funding creates new opportunity for the expansion for quality rating improvement systems (QRIS), we are eager to nurture high quality ECE through the use of CLASS.
Emma Granowsky is a research and public policy intern at Teachstone. In spring 2018, she graduated from Davidson College with a degree in public health. She is currently pursuing a masters in social work from UNC Chapel Hill.
As the former Vice President of Education and Program Operations, as well as the Head Start/Early Head Start Program Director, of a large Chicago Agency, I am often asked the question, “How did you get your CLASS scores to rise so much?” Our Pre-K Instructional Support scores rose from a 2.65 to a 3.74 the first year, and from a 3.74 to a 4.17 the second year. It wasn’t an easy process. And it was up to us to show our teachers the importance of teacher-student interactions and slowly introduce how CLASS scores could be used to improve these interactions.
Below are three steps we took to introduce the importance of CLASS and interactions to our teachers and, ultimately, raise our CLASS scores.
When my first child was born, I was 30. I was also married, had a master’s degree, and taught in a district that paid pretty well. During my pregnancy, I learned what to look for in high-quality child care and I thought I knew how to find it. What I didn’t know was that even though my husband and I both worked, we couldn’t afford quality child care.
A year ago, urged on by my insightful new colleague, Manda Klein, who was born and raised in Texas, I wrote a blog entitled, At Our Core. It praised the bipartisan efforts to discontinue the practice of separating children from their parents and caregivers at our country’s borders.