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Many children of color and children from low-income families enter kindergarten without the academic skills they need to succeed; these disparities in skills early on likely contribute to later achievement gaps observed during elementary school, for children who enter kindergarten already behind are unlikely to catch up. Using empirical evidence, this report suggests that implementing a high-quality universal, publicly funded, pre-k program would significantly enhance children’s development, reduce achievement gaps at kindergarten entry, and even have long-term benefits for children’s long-term school trajectories.
Teachers in publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs across the nation are increasingly expected to earn educational qualifications and credentials similar to their peers teaching older children. Yet salaries and benefits remain consistently lower for pre-K teachers than for kindergarten and elementary school teachers. This report is to explore examples of strategies that states and cities have successfully taken forward along the path toward compensation parity for pre-K teachers; it examines a small set of states and cities with the goal of understanding the policy rationale and process for moving toward compensation parity in different contexts.
As New Jersey tentatively reopens K-12 schools after being closed for over five months, many of the state’s child care providers have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the children of essential workers. Throughout this time, providers have been required to observe more restrictive group sizes and child/staff ratios, while also increasing time and resources spent on cleaning and sanitizing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With unchanged tuition rates, these new standards push many child care providers from an already tight financial situation into one that cannot be sustained. This paper examines the impact of new and existing regulations on child care providers’ revenues and expenditures, and the subsidy rates required to financially sustain child care providers in New Jersey.
State policymakers consistently neglect adequately funding adult education, making it less accessible for low-skilled workers who want to build their skills, become financially self-sufficient and contribute to Michigan’s economy. Adult education is the key to preparing these workers for occupational training and skilled employment, and better funding and an expanded role will enable it to meet the demand more effectively. Expanding adult education services to help more low-skilled but highly motivated individuals succeed in post-secondary training will benefit Michigan, because skilled workers help attract and keep businesses in the state, spend more in their local communities, pay more in taxes, and are less likely to become unemployed or need public assistance
Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that provides education and support services to children and their families. Despite the fact that Head Start is a federally funded, national program, this report reveals that access to Head Start programs, funding per child, teacher education, quality of teaching, and duration of services all vary widely by state. Although in some states Head Start meets evidence-based quality standards and serves a high percentage of low-income children statewide, in other states Head Start reaches fewer of those in need, often with low-quality instruction, and insufficient hours. This report’s findings underscore the need for greater coordination between Head Start and state and local government agencies to build high-quality early learning programs with widespread reach and adequate funding.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are tasked with providing a quality education to their students, along with ensuring their safety and welfare, regardless if classes are being held in-person or virtually. Additionally, schools must adjust to the economic ramifications brought on by the pandemic, such as revenue uncertainty due to school districts being heavily reliant on state pass through revenue and local property taxes, and the need for new expenditures, including personal protective equipment and other items to ensure social distancing. GFOA’s Fiscal First Aid program lays out a 12-step process for recovering from financial distress. This research paper expands upon these fiscal first aid strategies with additional, school-district-specific considerations for mitigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.