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Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

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Even before they are born children face systemic inequalities.

A new report digs into this national problem.

“More than half of the 74 million children in the United States are children of color, and they are served by learning systems that are gravely inequitable. The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the health, economic wellbeing, and education of young children, only exacerbate existing inequalities,” according to the report, “Start with Equity: From the Early Years to the Early Grades.”

Released by The Children’s Equity Project, at Arizona State University, and the Bipartisan Policy Center, the report is, according to its website, “an actionable policy roadmap for states and the federal government—as well as for candidates at all levels of government vying for office—to take meaningful steps to remedy these inequities in early learning and education systems.”

These themes are also explored in a related webinar series. Links to recordings of the first two webinars, which took place earlier this month, are available on the report website. The next two webinars will be on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, and Thursday, August 6, 2020.

The report and webinars draw on two meetings of “more than 70 experts from universities, think tanks and organizations.” These experts focused on three policy areas where inequities persist: (more…)

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“Access to high-quality child care, particularly for families with low incomes, has always been a challenge. The coronavirus pandemic has made it even more challenging.”

“…policymakers must recognize how the difficulties of navigating this new child care landscape will be compounded for families with low incomes. These difficulties will be even more challenging for families harmed by systemic barriers related to race, ethnicity, language, and ability. BlackLatinx, and Native American families have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus, with disproportionate rates of death, unemployment, hunger, and housing insecurity.”

“States can equitably gather the full range of family child care needs by:

Expanding data collection methods to include surveys, focus groups, and community mapping

• Using multiple languages, technologies, accessibility supports, and engagement strategies

• Developing partnerships between government agencies, trusted community groups, and parent-led organizations to assist with collecting data, elevating parent voices, and informing families of available options

Oversampling underserved communities to gather insights that would ordinarily be seen as too small to report

Disaggregating data by race and ethnicity, ability, employment sector, age, and income to understand the multiple factors that shape family child care needs, also known as intersectionality”

 

“Child Care Coronavirus Recovery Conversations: Equitable Approaches to Elevating Parent Voices,” by Alycia Hardy, CLASP Blog Post, June 3, 2020

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Local philanthropy “has an essential role to play.”

That’s the conclusion of an article about early education and care and the coronavirus pandemic.

“My biggest fear now,’ Janet Dotolo, of Melrose Day Care Center and Preschool in Melrose, Mass., says in the article, “is that I won’t be able to reopen when it is safe to do so, because my staff won’t come back.”

The article, which was published by the Bridgespan Group — a nonprofit organization that helps organizations and philanthropists “achieve breakthrough results” — explains:

“The United States has about 129,000 child care centers (a mix of nonprofit, for-profit, and faith-based) and 115,000 licensed home-based providers, who fill a critical need for families not well-served by centers.”

Having a functioning child care system is “of course, a vital resource for the healthy development of the 15 million children under age 6 with working parents.”

But the pandemic has created economic hardships that could force many programs to close permanently, which threatens communities’ abilities “to educate young children and restart their economies.” (more…)

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“Here we are growing a team at Zion Education Center with teachers with certificates to teach… and I couldn’t speak the language. And that’s why I went back and obtained my doctorate in instructional management and educational leadership, because I felt that in order for me to grow my team, grow my staff, and to better serve the families within our community, which are low-income, economically disadvantaged families, I needed to know what was happening at every level — local, county, state, federal — that would invest in our kids.

“And so having that team, a great team, in place, [with the] same mission, and same focus to shape the lives of those children and pull them out of poverty, pull their families out of poverty, through early childhood education with a diverse workforce — both caucasian and African-American females, some with Asian descent, and, yes, we have some male representation, too — we needed our workforce to look like, or my team to look like the children that we serve. And that’s how we best identify with them.”

 

April Torrence, founder and executive director of the Zion Education Center, at New America’s event, Exploring Diversity in the Early Care & Education Workforce, May 2, 2019

Torrence was part of a panel discussion that also included:

Maria Martinez, teacher, Greenbelt Children’s Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Maria Potts, co-manager and teacher, Kids World Child Care, Fairfax, Va., and,

Danny Vasquez, lead teacher, ACCA Child Development Center, Annandale, Va.

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Screenshot: NIEER’s “The State of Preschool 2018”

 

“The State of Preschool 2018,” an annual look at pre-K programs in all 50 states, has just been released by NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research).

The 2018 yearbook, which analyzes data from the 2017-2018 school year, is a mix of good news and unmet challenges.

Across the country “more children are attending state-funded pre-K,” NIEER says in a press release, “but state funding is failing to keep pace, resulting in low compensation for pre-K teachers that too often undermines classroom quality…”

“Close to 1.6 million 3- and 4-year-olds attended state-funded pre-K programs in the 2017-18 year, with 85% of those children being 4-year-olds,” Education Dive reports. “This year’s report also includes two states — Montana and North Dakota — that operated pre-K programs for the first time last year. Overall, however, there has been little growth in enrollment — half of a percentage point for 3-year-olds and less than a percentage point for 4-year-olds.” (more…)

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It’s time to start getting ready for Census 2020.

The official Census 2020 day is April 1, 2020, a year away. But schools, elected officials, and community organizations are working hard today to make sure everyone is counted a year from now. An accurate Census count will mean that cities and states get the legal representation and federal funding that matches their population counts.

Early educators should join this effort. Please encourage your contacts and communities to participate in the Census.

As we’ve blogged, Census results affect Head Start and other educational opportunities. There is, however, a risk that the Census may fail to count an estimated one million children, which is what happened during the 2010 Census.

“The Census Bureau acknowledges the long-standing undercount of young children in decennial censuses and in Census Bureau surveys,” the Census explains on its website. (more…)

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh met a child care need last month at the third annual African-American Veterans Appreciation Brunch. Mayor’s Office Photo by Isabel Leon, posted on Mayor Walsh’s Flickr page.

 

Boston continues to lead the way on early childhood policy. Knowing that local, accurate, early childhood data is essential for program planning but often nonexistent, city officials are taking proactive steps to collect this data through the annual city census. Boston is asking parents to fill out a survey to explain their child care arrangements and challenges, as well as their family needs relating to language and disabilities.

The answers “will help inform a policy that works for all.”

The survey website provides more context, adding:

“For the first time ever, the City of Boston has added an optional survey to its annual citywide census. We’re hoping to better understand how people and households across Boston relate to language and disability. We also want to learn about how families access and experience care for their children ages five and under.”

Boston will be the first community in Massachusetts to collect child care information in its municipal census. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

This year’s MCAS test results have been released.

And while this assessment of Massachusetts students is 25 years old, this year’s results are part of a “new generation” of testing that’s designed “to measure how a school or district is doing and what kind of support it may need,” according to a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The next-generation MCAS “is more comprehensive than the previous system and complies with the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act.” This is the second year that the new MCAS has been administered, so this year’s results can only be compared to last year’s – and not to earlier years.

Students’ test scores are sorted into one of four assessment categories:

• exceeding expectations

• meeting expectations

• partially meeting expectations, and

• not meeting expectations

The year’s results are similar to last year’s, the press release notes. In English and math, “approximately 50 percent of the students who took the test scored Meeting Expectations or above.” (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

Census 2020 is coming. So now is the time to make sure all of the nation’s children get counted.

“If we don’t count children, we render their needs invisible and their futures uncertain,” Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says in a foundation blog post. “A major census undercount will result in overcrowded classrooms, shuttered Head Start programs, understaffed hospital emergency rooms, and more kids without health care.”

How many children could be missed? One million or more.

According to a Los Angeles Times article: “The problem has grown worse over the last four decades, experts said. In 2010, the census failed to count nearly 1 million children younger than 5. Experts warn that it could exceed that number in 2020.”

Casey says an undercount of this size would “short-change child well-being over the next decade by putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding for programs that are critical to family stability and opportunity.” (more…)

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“When it comes to early childhood education, the United States needs to step up. Many developed nations now have more than 90% enrollment in pre-K programs, surpassing the US with just 66% enrollment for 4-year-olds. Rising superpowers are making significant commitments to expand access to early education over the next few years, with China promising to have pre-K for every 4-year-old and most 3-year-olds by 2020.”

“The National Institute for Early Education Research began collecting data on state-funded preschool programs in 2002. Fifteen years later, the institute’s State of Preschool 2017 report released this week shows that even though many elected officials claim to support early education, actual enrollment of 4-year-olds has grown only slightly since the Great Recession of 2007-2009.”

“US is falling behind other nations in providing pre-K schooling,” CNN, by April 18, 2018

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