Does state pre-K improve children’s achievement?

Friday, July 13, 2018

(Brookings) - Executive Summary  

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$1.6B Initiative 93: 170,000+ Signatures Submitted - Updated News Coverage

Thursday, July 12, 2018


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Want to Help Young Children? Extend Medicaid Coverage to Early Childhood Educators

Thursday, July 12, 2018

(Health Policy Institute at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University) -  

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Colorado 2018 election: Where Jared Polis and Walker Stapleton stand on education

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

(ChalkBeat) - What do the candidates for governor of Colorado think about school funding and school choice? How would they address the achievement gap? And what educational choices did they make for their own children? 

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How The Goddard School Adds To Its Franchisee-Only Childcare Network

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

(Forbes) - When we talk about the world of childcare and early education franchising, one system that simply must be part of the conversation is The Goddard School. Goddard maintains one of the larger networks in the country, and one that has been selling franchises since the late 1980s.

Founded by Lois Goddard Haines in 1983, Goddard was bought and franchised in 1988 by Joe Scandone and Anthony Martino, the mechanic and entrepreneur behind the auto parts and services franchises Aamco, Maaco and Sparks. “(Martino) foresaw the coming of double-income families and the need for childcare and preschool education and saw that it could also be a business that could be franchised,” says CEO Joe Schumacher, who was Martino’s lawyer at the time.

As of April, the Pennsylvania-based company had more than 480 schools in operation in 36 states, all of which are owned by franchisees, as the company prefers a purely franchised strategy and has never owned its own locations. According to a 2016 report from IBISWorld, a global business intel firm, Goddard held a 26% chunk of the $2.6 billion child education and developmental center franchise space, surpassing top names in the industry like The Primrose School and The Learning Experience.

Last year The Goddard home office saw more than $22.8 million in net earnings—up $6 million since 2015—off of $56.6 million in total revenue. As for how franchisees make out, schools that are considered mature—in operation for 18 months or longer—and maintain an occupancy rate of more than 90% report average EBITDA of about $386,000. Franchisees spend between $620,000 and $760,000 to launch a new location, according to the company.

Choosing Franchisees

The Goddard system is not unlike other childcare franchises in that franchise owners are not chosen on their educational experience. “The franchisee is the business face of the school,” says Schumacher. “Each franchisee has an educational director that’s approved by that state and approved by us.” That director implements the curriculum and staffs the facility. When assessing potential franchisees, “we are not looking for folks with an education background,” explains Schumacher. “We’re looking for folks with strong business backgrounds who are interested in education and childcare. ”When interested parties contact Goddard about buying a location, the school meets with the hopefuls and begins the process of conducting background checks and discussing the franchise in detail. “Throughout the process we encourage them to contact and visit as many of our franchisees as they possibly can,” says Schumacher.

New franchisees then enter a preliminary agreement, at which time the two parties begin searching for a new location, Schumacher explains. “It takes close to two years now to find a location, to do all the permitting, to get the building built. We don’t sign a franchise agreement until they’ve got a building permit.”

In 2017, The Goddard School added 17 new locations while 5 shuttered. The year before, it added 25 with no closings, and in 2015 the company added 23 new centers but saw 6 cease operations.

Once a new Goddard School comes online, the home office’s operations department maintains a connection to the franchisees and their education directors to assist with issues relating to implementing the curriculum and running the business. Each location receives two unannounced visits from home office personnel each year to assure compliance with quality and safety standards, says Schumacher.

The Industry Has Changed Focus

Since The Goddard School began franchising, the concept of early childhood care has changed, says Schumacher, and now there is greater emphasis on the educational development of children younger than age 5. When the company began offering licenses, childcare or daycare was the most pressing need for families with small children. Now centers like Goddard provide learn-by-play curriculums rather than simply babysitting young kids. Says Schumacher: “Over these 30 years it’s become much better understood that from birth to age 3 are probably the most important years in engaging a child’s brain and helping them learn, and helping them learn how to learn.”


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Funding Opportunity: Migrant and Seasonal Head Start in Colorado

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Colorado Head Start Collaboration Office and the The Colorado Head Start Collaboration Office and the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Collaboration Office Directors are hosting an informative dialogue about Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) services and an upcoming funding opportunity to operate a MSHS program. The event will be held on July 31 in the Denver metro area, with a remote participation option.

Attendees will learn about the uniqueness of MSHS programs; how MSHS addresses the delivery of comprehensive child development services; and how community organizations in Colorado can apply for this rare funding opportunity. Learn more or RSVP here!


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Why ‘Child Care Deserts’ Remain, Even As States Increase Preschool Funding

Monday, July 09, 2018

(huffpost) - Preschool state funding is up 47 percent in the past five years.  

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The cost of child care is driving Americans away from parenthood

Friday, July 06, 2018

(Quartz) - American adults are having fewer kids—or foregoing parenthood entirely. A new survey conducted by Morning Consult for The New York Times sheds light on the dynamics behind the trend.

The survey of 1,858 men and women between 20 to 45 years old identified plenty of personal factors that influence their choices about parenthood. But high on the list was a purely financial concern: The cost of child care.

Among survey respondents who either had children or planned to have kids, about a quarter said they had (or expected to have) smaller families than they’d consider ideal. The number-one reason: For 64% of that group, “child care is too expensive.” Money factored into the equation in other ways too; 49% said they were worried about the economy, while 44% said they couldn’t afford to have more kids, and 43% cited personal financial instability. Thirty-nine percent said they didn’t have enough paid family leave, and 38% said they had no paid family leave at all.

The cost of child care isn’t just prompting Americans to have fewer kids; it’s a factor in making some adults avoid having kids at all. Roughly half of the survey respondents were not already parents. The Times asked people who didn’t want children or weren’t sure if they would have them about their motivations. The most popular reasons were wanting more leisure time (36%) and not having a partner (34%). But the poll also shows that young adults are worried that they won’t be able to afford the trappings of parenthood, like paying for child care (31%) or buying a house (24%).

The survey responses show just how expensive it is to be a parent in the US, particularly when it comes to finding child care. In 2016, according to the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America (pdf), the cost of infant child care in 49 states and the District of Columbia exceeded the standard for affordable child care, according to the threshold established by the Department of Health and Human Services. According to the DHS, the cost of childcare should not be more than 7% of the state median income for a two-parent family.

US policymakers have reason to be concerned about the trend. If the US population were to fall below replacement level, that would leave a growing elderly population to be sustained by a shrinking workforce. In other countries facing this problem, such as Japan and Portugal, this tends to generate social anxiety, economic downturns, and a general sense of cultural malaise.

The fact that the cost of parenthood is deterring young adults from having kids means that US policies could have a real impact on the demographic downturn—notably by implementing more flexible rules and less prohibitive costs governing preschool education and child care, and by giving tax breaks to low-income working parents. We have a mountain of evidence about the policies that would help young families the most. But actually implementing them in the US is a much harder battle.

This reporting is part of a series supported by a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The author’s views are not necessarily those of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.


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More Money – and Stricter Scrutiny – for Child Care

Friday, July 06, 2018

(PEW) - Research suggests that early childhood education primes young minds for academic and social success. And yet in much of the country, many parents struggle to find any day care at all.

To get more young children into high-quality programs, an increasing number of cities and states are imposing academic standards and other rules on child care providers and using public money to expand access to them.

At least 16 states now offer preschool programs to more than a third of 4-year-olds, up from three states plus Washington, D.C., in 2002. And nationwide, states have increased preschool funding by 47 percent in the past five years.

“What we’re seeing is an influx of state policymakers starting to wrap their arms around the fact that learning doesn’t start in kindergarten,” said Bruce Atchison of the Education Commission of the States, a Denver-based nonprofit. “You have to have high-quality pre-K programs, and programs for younger children too.”

Closer scrutiny has come with a cost: In some places, stricter regulations for child care providers may be exacerbating the shortage of slots. Small providers who care for children in their homes also can find it difficult to comply with rules regarding sprinkler systems, radon detectors and fire escape plans.

In California, the number of licensed providers caring for children in private homes declined by 30 percent in the last 10 years, according to the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network.

“We’re trying to understand the barriers for home-care providers,” said Rowena Kamo, the network’s research director. “We want to build up the supply of what are really small businesses.”

‘Child Care Deserts’

In a 2017 study of 22 states that make up two-thirds of the U.S. population, the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., found that more than half of the children in those states lived in “child care deserts,” neighborhoods or communities with no child care options or so few providers that there are more than three children for every licensed child care slot.

Overall, child care deserts were most common in lower-income rural areas, but they could be found in urban areas too.

In Oakland, California, for example, 63 percent of children under 5 years old live in a child care desert, the study found. There also are significant child care shortages in San Jose (62 percent), Austin (50 percent), Miami (35 percent), Atlanta (33 percent), and Denver (27 percent).

The proportion of residents living in child care deserts ranged from 24 percent in Iowa to 62 percent in California.

“It shows just how ubiquitous the child care shortage is,” said Rasheed Malik, senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress. “In big cities, it’s very common, as well as in low-density rural areas. But it’s also a problem in suburbs of all types and in all the states that we looked at.”

Many areas with child care shortages would get a boost from the federal budget President Donald Trump signed several months ago. The budget includes an additional $5.8 billion over the next two years for the Child Care Development Block Grant, money that states can use to help low-income families pay for child care so they can work or attend job training.

In Arkansas, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his state would spend $26 million of its share of that money to wipe out its waitlist for subsidized child care.

Texas’ federal grant under the program would double to nearly $1 billion a year, according to Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of the Houston-based nonprofit Children at Risk, which advocates on issues affecting children.

“That will cause a huge push to help provide child care,” Sanborn said. But the new child care slots won’t all provide high-quality instruction, he cautioned.

“If parents don’t have a close-by relative, they are finding the cheapest, safest, cleanest place they can for their children, but it’s basically the warehousing of children,” Sanborn said. “It may be clean and safe, but there’s no learning going on.”

In the District of Columbia, widely considered a leader in providing child care to its residents, officials hope to avoid that problem by requiring that preschool teachers and directors have bachelor’s degrees or certificates in early childhood learning.

“We try to avoid the [term] ‘day care’ because this is about education,” said Elizabeth Groginsky, assistant superintendent of early learning in Washington, D.C. “It used to be babysitting, but it’s not anymore.”

Low Wages and Stricter Rules

Child care can be extraordinarily expensive, so much so that it was the top reason cited in a recent survey of young adults by Morning Consult for The New York Times about why they’ll have fewer children than they considered ideal. Child care is the highest single household expense in most regions of the country, and families are spending 20 to 30 percent of their incomes on it, according to the advocacy group Child Care Aware America. In 28 states and the District of Columbia, it costs more to send your child to day care than to a public university.

One reason for the shortage is that it doesn’t pay to be a child care provider. According to the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, the median wage for child care workers is about $10 an hour.

“People think it’s about holding a baby; it’s not,” said Judy Berman of the D.C. Appleseed Center for Law and Justice in Washington. “People think it’s just about changing a diaper; it’s not. A lot goes on when you’re changing a diaper.”

The first thousand days of a baby’s life are critical, said Lori Turk-Bicakci, a senior research manager at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in Palo Alto, California.

“You want a child care provider, whether it’s a relative or parent or whoever is touching the baby, to be looking at them, making eye contact, talking to them,” she said. “Those simple things are so important.”

But using public money to boost the salaries of child care workers can be a tough sell, even in liberal areas with a shortage of child care providers.

Voters in Alameda County, home of Oakland, narrowly defeated a ballot initiative last month that would have raised the sales tax a half-cent for 30 years, bringing in about $140 million a year to increase pay to $15 an hour for child care workers and expand access to child care for low- and middle-income parents.

Stricter regulations also can be a barrier to providing more child care opportunities, according to Carrie Lukas, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, a conservative nonprofit focused on economic issues facing women.

“All of these regulations sound like common sense, but you wonder how those are applied,” Lukas said. “If you’re having radon testing, and can’t have a baby sleeping in a room without an adult present, it needlessly raises costs.”

The Denver Fire Department recently barred new child care providers from caring for more than five children unless they have a sprinkler system. According to Liddy Romero, executive director of WorkLife Partnership, a nonprofit that is working with companies to create more child care in the city, a $30,000 sprinkler system is an expense that many at-home providers can’t afford.

Licensing issues are “going to prevent big change from happening” in child care availability, Romero said.


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Boulder County early childhood education centers receive grants for natural play areas

Thursday, July 05, 2018

(Times-Call) - Six early childhood education centers in Boulder County will receive grant funding to create naturalized outdoor learning environments and combat childhood obesity. 

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