The new League of Cities report identifies cities on the “leading edge” of work that coordinates early learning and K-3 - Seattle, Boston, Hartford, San Antonio and San Jose – in five case studies.
These cities are working to restructure the historically disjointed relationship between early education providers and elementary schools by bringing together teachers and other key stakeholders from each system, better aligning preschool and school-based learning and improving transitions as children move from one level to the next.
One of the more interesting parts of the executive summary breaks down “10 common elements of a well-aligned educational system.” This list includes the need to build public awareness about the importance of early education and creative funding strategies.
For example, the report covers Seattle’s Families and Education Levy. Last fall, voters approved a new levy that should increase slots in public preschool programs, improve training for early learning educators and child care workers, expand health and mental health screenings for children in preschool, child care and in-home care, and create more help for kids who start kindergarten below grade level.
There is a lot of food for thought in this case study, which captures the history and status of a preK-3rd initiative in Seattle that could be on the cusp of even bigger steps.
Child Care Subsidies Follow-up: After I wrote about the importance of child care subsidies and falling support in states yesterday, I realized I forgot to include that Washington state improved its subsidies program this year, despite its budget deficit.
Among the changes, policymakers restored the income cap for child care subsidies to families making 200 percent of the federal poverty line from 175 percent and created a less frequent annual review of a recipient’s status.
(Thanks to the Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP for highlighting this work.)
BY: PAUL NYHAN