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Archive for the ‘National’ Category

 

Last week, Amy O’Leary participated in a town hall meeting on child care and paid family leave organized by the Coalition for Social Justice. (The meeting starts at the 10:09 time mark.)

Launching the meeting, Jynai McDonald, the family child care coordinator for SEIU 509, thanked Congress for its initial $7 billion support of child care programs, and she called for more advocacy.

Child care, McDonald says, needs $50 billion.

Other speakers addressed the need for paid family leave that can protect parents and caregivers from having to choose between caring for children and relatives and losing their jobs. This is particularly important now given the threat of COVID-19 and the need for people who get sick from this virus to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

Amy, the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign, shared “what we know” about child care now. (more…)

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Last week was the latest entry in Strategies for Children’s Advocacy 101 webinars.

The topic: state budget updates — or, to put it more bluntly, what COVID-19 has done to the budget.

Earlier this year, before the pandemic shut down Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker submitted his fiscal year ’21 budget.

“This budget would have continued an eighth consecutive year of increases for early education,” Titus DosRemedios, Strategies director of research and policy, says in the webinar. (more…)

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Source: NIEER

 

This year, in its annual Yearbook, NIEER is taking on the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the midst of this devastating crisis, NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) is wisely calling on the country to act by drawing on some of the valuable lessons learned from the Great Recession.

As its executive summary explains, the Yearbook offers government policymakers “valuable information for planning short- and long-term responses to the crisis” that includes “information on where children are served, operating schedules, and other program features relevant to planning the education of children in a post-COVID-19 world.”

Since NIEER launched its Yearbook in 2002, states have made consistent but slow progress on investing in early childhood programs.

When the Great Recession took its toll, states cut early childhood spending.

Now: “Despite a brief upturn, pre-K’s long-term growth rate remains lower than before the Great Recession.” And some states “had not fully reversed their quality standards reductions by 2018-2019.” (more…)

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Senator Elizabeth Warren talks to a very young constituent. Source: Senator Warren’s Instagram account

 

“I just want to start by thanking you for all the work you’re doing to keep children safe and to support our community,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said Friday when she joined a Strategies for Children Zoom call, adding:

“This is an unprecedented time for our communities, for our nation, for the entire world — and a time when it is so easy for the most vulnerable, the ones who don’t have their own lobbyists in Washington to get left behind.”

In a lively, inspiring conversation, Warren shared details about the $50 billon child care bailout bill she co-filed with Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) to help the early education and care field survive the coronavirus pandemic and thrive afterwards. Warren also listened to questions and feedback from providers.

“I know that a lot of you on this call have concerns about how the childcare market is going to make it through this very challenging situation. And that is the reason why I’m fighting so hard to help every child care provider weather this crisis and come out on the other side stronger than ever before,” Warren said.

“We’re fighting in Congress to make sure that the funding is there, so that when it’s safe, every child care provider is able to reopen their doors.”

Warren has a three-part plan for the field: (more…)

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“ ‘The coronavirus has crystallized in the minds of more people the absolute divisions between socioeconomic groups and between races,’ former Kansas City Mayor Sly James said.

“James tried unsuccessfully in his last year in office to pass a tax to expand preschool in the city.

“ ‘We are going to continue to have these problems until we make sure that every child has an even start at birth,’ he added. ‘That’s a whole lot more than pre-K, but pre-K is the one thing we have to even try to even it out.’ ”

 

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“ ‘We know in the last recession, enrollment, spending and quality standards were cut, and that spending impacts continued well after the economic recovery was underway,’ said NIEER director Steve Barnett. ‘In most states, pre-K is discretionary. But it needs to grow and improve, not just hold on.’ ”

“Unforeseen and daunting budget constraints caused by the pandemic shutdown leave little optimism for maintaining current spending levels, let alone any future investments in early childhood programs.

“ ‘As pre-K programs tend to serve lower and middle-income families, that means that cuts to pre-K like this exacerbate educational inequality,’ Barnett said.”

 

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“ ‘If we’re going to recover, financially, from this pandemic, access to quality affordable early childhood education is going to be a critical piece,’ said Gary Parker, director of the Clark-Fox Institute.”

“Financial Pain Of Pandemic Shutdown Could Stall Gains in Early Childhood Education,” by Ryan Delaney & Elle Moxley, St. Louis Public Radio NPR, April 22, 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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“Our child care providers are essential workers on the front-lines of this crisis. By taking care of them, we’re also ensuring that other essential personnel can go to work without having to worry about who is taking care of their children.

“Congress must prioritize child care funding in all recovery and stimulus efforts. Investing in child care is an investment in public health, and in our economic recovery from this crisis.

“The debate over the next coronavirus relief package is raging in Washington, and we need you to make your voice heard.

Click [here]… and we’ll help you deliver a message to your legislator: Congress must invest at least $50 billion in child care through their coronavirus relief packages.”

 

“Speak up for Child Care,” Child Care Aware of America

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As a presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) was famous for “having a plan for that.”

And while her presidential bid has ended, she still has another vital plan: A $50 billion plan to bailout child care.

Based in part on her personal experience, Warren is a powerful advocate who understands the personal and economic importance of child care.

Last month, Warren shared the need for this wise investment in a Boston Globe op-ed she coauthored.

This week, a Medium article that Warren co-wrote with Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) plainly says, “Here’s the stark truth: when the time comes, we will not be able to rebuild our economy if this country’s child care system has collapsed beneath the economic burden of this pandemic.”

“Meanwhile,” a Vox article about the senators’ position says, “parents are left wondering whether their children’s care providers will even be in business when the pandemic is over, making child care possibly harder to find and more expensive than before.”

This risk is real. As the senators say in their Medium article: (more…)

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As early education and care providers struggle through the coronavirus crisis, they have a business-world ally: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of Foundation.

The foundation’s stance is simple and clear: high-quality child care is good for children, families, and business.

And now in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, with “over 30 states implementing stay-at-home orders… the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is committed to helping the childcare industry weather this storm.”

To provide “more information for childcare businesses struggling to stay afloat, the Chamber Foundation hosted a webinar” that covers the virus’ impact on the child care industry, the federal response, and how providers can access loans and other resources for small businesses.

Neil Bradley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s chief policy officer, discussed the many features of the new federal CARES Act. And Bridget Weston, the acting CEO of the SCORE Association, explained that her organization provides volunteer business mentors who can help small businesses navigate during the immediate crisis and over time. SCORE, a partner of the federal Small Business Association, also offers online education and weekly webinars. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Some 500 organizations, including Strategies for Children, have signed a letter that asks Congress to make a $50 billion investment in child care.

“Child care’s essential status demands dedicated relief that acknowledges the unique needs of a system that was already teetering on the edge of financial viability before this pandemic,” the letter says. “Specifically, we request that Congress provide at least $50 billion in total funding dedicated to child care to offer immediate relief to providers, educators, and families during this crisis.”

“Without these investments, we risk the disintegration of our child care infrastructure, leaving children, families, and child care workers with no system to return to as we recover,” the letter adds.

“At the beginning of this crisis, nearly 50% of child care providers predicted that they would not survive more than two weeks of closures without support; many of these closures have begun, and, without a clear end in sight, the widespread effects are already being felt. Providers that remain open are struggling to cover their operational costs, with reduced enrollment, especially as they try to protect the wellbeing of their workers and the families they serve during this pandemic.” (more…)

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