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.
On a hot summer day in July 2016, I had the good fortune of being the one not on vacation on our small policy and research team. Instead, I went to DC to serve as Teachstone’s representative for a convening of policymakers, researchers, and ECE practitioners. They were gathering to discuss if and how exemplary Head Start grantees might be identified for Leading by Exemplar, an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Bellwether Education Partners.
Decades of evidence indicate that high-quality early childhood education positively affects children. Yet studies reveal that too few programs implement high-quality programming. To date, improvement efforts have primarily focused on what occurs within the classroom. The Ounce of Prevention Fund (Ounce), in partnership with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research (UChicago Consortium), strives to broaden the focus of improvement efforts beyond the classroom to organizational conditions that support teachers and the relationships among staff, children, and families.
If you’ve been following the news lately, a lot is going on in North Carolina for young children and families! Leaders across the state—from businesses to state government to county municipalities—are leveraging partnerships that use research-based assessment and professional development models (like CLASS) to guarantee more of the state’s youngest residents have access to the high quality care they need and deserve.