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.
Many of our Teachstone staff members are parents, or enjoy nieces, nephews, godchildren, and “little friends.” It’s wonderful to welcome new additions to our staff family (the latest arrived just last week!) and to connect with the youngest children. Many others are former teachers and educators, who still keep track of their students’ accomplishments.
Whether you are writing your transition plan, preparing to return, or have already returned to in-person learning, you, like many other educational leaders, are likely facing many challenges and unknowns.
As you continue to craft and refine your plans, reflecting on the considerations below can help you more effectively build a blueprint for a successful reopening.
In the wake of the widespread civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd, the national conversation about the inequities in the educational opportunities provided white students and students of color has been amplified. Due to racial and socioeconomic segregation, Black students, and other students of color, are more likely to attend poorly funded schools. EdBuild, a non-profit focused on fair and equitable school funding, reports that high poverty school districts that predominantly enroll children of color receive on average, $1,600 less per student than the national average. By their calculations, there is a $23,000,000,000 gap between funding for schools that primarily serve high poverty Black students and those that predominantly serve white students. Schools that predominantly serve high poverty white students, only receive $1440 less per student (EdBuild, 2019).
I recognize and admit to having a chip on my shoulder about the field of early childhood education - and, at times, disbelief that others may not see that period of time as the power-packed years in our developmental timeline which can lay the groundwork and set the course for much of the rest of our lives.