Take heart! For too long, one of the least heartening perspectives on the federal government budget came from early childhood education advocates, who, year in and year out, felt left out of the political dialogue during budget talks. They were either ignored or, worse, the recipients of unwanted attention as federal spending on education was slashed or level-funded as costs increased. However, during a time when we see much division in our country, especially coming out of Washington, D.C., it actually is a bit –just a bit – encouraging to look at early childhood education programs which are garnering more and more bipartisan support.
In fact, for the first time in many years, the early childhood education field knows what the next federal fiscal year holds before it’s well-underway, unlike years past when we were retroactively scrambling to determine funding levels as the fiscal year progressed. On September 28th, President Trump signed legislation from Congress to fund the critically important programs housed in the Labor, Health & Human Services (DHHS), and Education (ED) departments before the federal fiscal year begins on October 1st. The FY19 “minibus” appropriations package, which includes funding for other parts of the federal government through Dec. 7, 2018, importantly funds these education programs for FY19:
We will continue to unpack these appropriations to find the opportunities for improving quality and achieving our shared mission of ensuring every child has access to warm, responsive, organized classrooms with emotionally, socially, and cognitively supportive teachers who fuel children’s natural curiosity and love of learning. To read more about ways in which this Congress can fund programs serving young children and their families, see NAEYC’s federal early childhood education policy agenda.
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.