Because knowledge about the importance of the infant and toddler years is not widely understood, new parents are often left without support to get children off to a strong start. Talk the Tot, a new initiative from Children Now, seeks to change that. Launched last week, Talk the Tot is in the early phases of its campaign and will continue to work to gather support from the public and lawmakers in coming weeks.
Last week the SF Chronicle published an opinion piece, written by Deborah Stipek, about the amount and timing of early learning investments in California’s state budget. She notes that Governor Newsom is giving the issue the attention it deserves, but she also points out that there is no reason to delay increased funding for the key drivers of quality– early learning educators.
During the past several months, Good2Know Network has posted about California state policymakers’ new emphasis on improvements and funding for early care and learning systems. While numerous bills are promising developments, low wage levels in the early childcare profession are not being addressed in Sacramento.
Hearings are underway in Sacramento to evaluate more than a dozen legislative proposals to improve access to quality early learning for California’s children and families. It is easy to let your assemblymember and senator know you care via a short email. The momentum for additional child care funding is strong, but lawmakers would be particularly motivated by letters of support from you, the professionals who actually deliver quality care and learning.
The California legislature is holding hearings on Assembly Bill 378, which would allow early childhood workers to join a union and participate in collective bargaining. There is broad support for more funding for subsidized child care in California, including for increasing child care provider salaries. The debate is largely about whether unionization is the best vehicle for accomplishing these goals.
Most of us are all too aware that most early learning teachers are underpaid, making it challenging for programs of any size to attract and retain good teachers. Early Edge California recently posted an article and graphs summarizing the results of a study comparing the salaries and benefits for TK-12 certificated teachers with salaries and benefits earned by early childhood permit educators in center-based State Preschool programs.
Every January California’s Governor proposes an annual budget, which is analyzed and negotiated with a final budget passing the Legislature no later than June 15th. During the months of February and March, Assembly and Senate Subcommittees hold hearings on specific elements of the proposed budget. This past Wednesday, February 20th, the Education Subcommittee held its first hearing in Sacramento. The topic was lessons California can learn from other States that have expanded quality early learning.
A short but enlightening video has been making the rounds of early learning agencies and advocates. It addresses a question that has confused many parents, policy makers, and believers in the importance of quality learning experiences for every young child: Why do parents spend so much on child care, yet early childhood educators earn so little?
When Governor Newsom presented his budget last week, he sent a clear message that improving access to quality care and learning for young children is at the top of his priority list. The Budget proposes the development of a plan to achieve universal preschool for all children in California, including a $500 million one-time General Fund to build child care infrastructure, including investing in education opportunities for California’s child care workforce.
Hopes are high for additional investment in quality early learning opportunities for California families. Early learning has long been a priority issue for many California senators and assembly members, and Governor-elect Gavin Newsom made early learning investment a key element of his campaign. Last week Assembly member Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, took advantage of this high-opportunity environment to introduce three pieces of legislation.