Category Archives: Child Care Workers

A Lesson For Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last

Source: Elissa Nadworny, NPR, November 17, 2016

Is preschool worth it? Policymakers, parents, researchers and us, at NPR Ed, have spent a lot of time thinking about this question.

We know that most pre-kindergarten programs do a good job of improving ‘ specific skills like phonics and counting, as well as broader social and emotional behaviors, by the time students enter kindergarten. Just this week, a study looking at more than 20,000 students in a state-funded preschool program in Virginia found that kids made large improvements in their alphabet recognition skills.
So the next big question to follow is, of course, Do these benefits last?

New research out of North Carolina says yes, they do. The study found that early childhood programs in that state resulted in higher test scores, a lower chance of being held back in a grade, and a fewer number of children with special education placements. Those gains lasted up through the fifth grade.
Related:
Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School
Source: Kenneth A. Dodge, Yu Bai, Helen F. Ladd, Clara G. Muschkin, Child Development, Early View, November 17, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four (MAF) early childhood programs were evaluated through the end of elementary school (age 11) by estimating the impact of state funding allocations to programs in each of 100 counties across 13 consecutive years on outcomes for all children in each county-year group (n = 1,004,571; 49% female; 61% non-Latinx White, 30% African American, 4% Latinx, 5% other). Student-level regression models with county and year fixed effects indicated significant positive impacts of each program on reading and math test scores and reductions in special education and grade retention in each grade. Effect sizes grew or held steady across years. Positive effects held for both high- and low-poverty families, suggesting spillover of effects to nonparticipating peers.

Child Care Deserts: An Analysis of Child Care Centers by ZIP Code in 8 States

Source: Rasheed Malik, Katie Hamm, Maryam Adamu, and Taryn Morrissey, Center for American Progress, October 2016

From the summary:
For working parents with young children, the task of finding child care can be daunting. Across the country, parents report frustration when trying to find affordable, high-quality child care. While the cost of child care is certainly a barrier to child care access, less understood are the roles of supply and location. This report examines the location of child care centers across eight states, comprising 20 percent of the U.S. population younger than the age of 5, and uncovers another cause driving the child care crisis: 42 percent of children under 5 years of age live in child care deserts.

The term “child care desert” is not currently part of the American lexicon. However, lack of child care supply is a serious national problem that disproportionately impacts rural areas. The Center for American Progress is introducing a working definition of child care deserts, which borrows its terminology from the frequently studied problem of food deserts—what the government defines as communities in which residents do not live in close proximity to affordable and healthy food retailers.1 For the purposes of this study, a child care desert is defined as a ZIP code with at least 30 children under the age of 5 and either no child care centers or so few centers that there are more than three times as many children under age 5 as there are spaces in centers.
Related:
Interactive maps

The Child Care Dilemma: An Overview

Source: Sarah Smith, Elizabeth Whitehouse, Council of State Governments, The Current State, Issue: 81, October 17, 2016

Affordable, high-quality and accessible child care is a challenge for many American families. CSG examines the balancing act familiar to many families in the United States–managing work and child care–and how states are working in conjunction with the federal government to improve the process for all families with young children.

Child care is an interdisciplinary policy issue touching education, health, workforce development and economic development. While studies show that early childhood education is important to cognitive development, programs can be relatively expensive, especially for low-income households. Oftentimes, families must make difficult choices between work and reliable child care. In this brief, we look at the demographics of families with children, the legislative landscape for the provision and regulation of child care, and the kinds of care that are available across the country.

Subsequent briefs will explore:
Affordability. How much does child care cost in each state, before and after subsidies?
Availability and Access. How many slots are available per child in each state, and how can families find quality options?
Quality. How are states managing certification requirements, assessing quality and developing the child care workforce?
Implications for the Workforce. What are the economic costs of child care for families? We take a look at what the cost of child care could mean for parents in the workforce and the innovative ways states are tackling the issue in their communities.

Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8 : a unifying foundation

Source: Allen LaRue and Bridget B. Kelly – editors, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies, Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, ISBN 978-0-309-32486-1, 2016

….. The major focus of this report is on those professionals who are responsible for regular, daily care and education of young children from birth through age 8, working in settings such as homes, childcare centers, preschools, educational programs, and elementary schools. Many of the report’s messages are also applicable to closely related care and education professionals who see these children somewhat less frequently or for periodic or referral services, such as home visitors, early intervention specialists, and mental health consultants. The report also encompasses professionals in leadership positions and those who provide professional learning for the care and education workforce. In addition, the report includes considerations for the interactions among care and education professionals and practitioners in the closely related health and social services sectors who also work with children and their families. Finally, findings presented in this report regarding foundational knowledge and competencies are applicable broadly for all adults with professional responsibilities for young children.

This report’s focus is on the competencies and professional learning that need to be shared among care and education professionals across professional roles and practice settings in order to support greater consistency. Although further specialized competencies and professional learning experiences differentiated by age, setting, and role are also important, this committee’s task was to bridge those competencies and experiences in ways that will enable these professionals to contribute collectively and more effectively to greater consistency in practices that support development and high-quality learning for young children. …..
Related:
Summary

Revisiting the Impact of Head Start

Source: Claire Montialoux, University of California – Berkeley, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Policy Brief, September 2016

From the blog post:
As millions of parents across the United States are getting their children back to school, academics and policymakers are also taking a closer look where it all begins for the nation’s earliest learners — preschool. Does it really work and is it worth the cost? ….

…. The question may be simple, but the answer is less so.

Early studies of Head Start and other preschool programs found large positive effects on both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, like vocabulary and self-control. But the first randomized experimental study of Head Start (the Head Start Impact Study, or HSIS), conducted in 2002, showed that the program produced smaller benefits that faded out by the time the students were in third grade. Some have interpreted this as evidence that Head Start is ineffective.

Several recent studies by UC Berkeley faculty and others, however, have shown that the HSIS data, when interpreted appropriately, indicates that Head Start has significant benefits. Some of these benefits last far beyond the Head Start years, like increases in health and lifetime earnings.

The reason for this misinterpretation is simple: unlike earlier studies, the HSIS compared Head Start participants to children in a broad range of childcare arrangements, many quite similar to Head Start. About one-third of the HSIS control group participated in alternative preschool programs, and the rest of the children in the control group were cared for at home…..

Paycheck To Paycheck 2016

Source: Brian Stromberg and Mindy Ault, National Housing Conference, 2016

From the abstract:
As for any other sector of the economy, the ability of school workers to live near their places of employment is an important aspect of developing strong, inclusive communities. School workers provide essential services to their communities, yet many are unable to afford to live near where they work. Teacher-specific affordable housing programs are important but can also overlook the difficulties faced by other school-related occupations. The 2016 edition of “Paycheck to Paycheck” focuses on the affordability challenges faced by both teachers and non-instructional school workers by highlighting five of the 81 occupations in the Paycheck to Paycheck database: bus driver, child care teacher, groundskeeper, social worker and high school teacher.
Related:
Paycheck to Paycheck 2016 database

New Business Models Demand New Forms of Worker Organizing

Source: Ai-jen Poo, Palak Shah, New Labor Forum, Vol. 25 no. 3, September 2016
(subscription required)

We welcome the opportunity to discuss the merits of the Good Work Code (GWC) and engage with Jay Youngdahl’s critique. As we read it, Youngdahl poses three main objections to the GWC: (1) the values framework articulated is aspirational and unenforceable, (2) it “greedwashes” companies engaged in bad labor practices, and (3) it is based on the notion that “Good Capitalism” can be mobilized to solve the problem of worker exploitation. In the course of his critique, Youngdahl also targets what he calls the “Philanthropic Labor Movement,” that is, those of us with the temerity to organize workers outside the frame of traditional labor unions.

Digital technology and on-demand hiring platforms are rapidly transforming how workers engage with various sectors of the labor market and their terms and conditions of work. Domestic work is among the many occupations affected by new technology. Increasingly, workers and employers are matched online for child care and elder care jobs through companies like Care.com, and the on-demand economy has penetrated the housecleaning market through companies like Handy and TaskRabbit.

National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) turned its attention to Silicon Valley not because, as Youngdahl implies, we were bedazzled by the bright, shiny objects dangled by tech companies, but because, the fact is, these models are transforming labor markets. Increasing numbers of domestic workers, and other low-wage workers, access work through these companies. This phenomenon is in its infancy, and our expectation is that it will grow. We believe these workers deserve the best wages and conditions of labor. We assume that Youngdahl agrees with us, at least on this point.

The labor movement is still in the early stages of determining how best to meet the multiple challenges posed by companies that aggregate and deploy workers through digital platforms. Mechanisms for exploiting labor are proliferating and changing far more rapidly than our capacity to organize workers and represent their interests. Tech companies are building new business models, often creating ever more precarious conditions of life and labor, lowering wage floors and job quality. …. At the same time, those who follow the gig economy know that it has been tech companies, not unions or labor advocates, driving the national conversation. By releasing a simple values framework, we have successfully inserted the demands and voices of workers into a narrative dominated by tech companies, with the intention of creating space for a conversation about what better employment practices could look like in the digital economy…..

Underpaid and Unequal: Racial Wage Disparities in the Early Childhood Workforce

Source: Rebecca Ullrich, Katie Hamm, Rachel Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Center for American Progress, August 2016

From the summary:
More than 3 million children younger than age 6 regularly attend center-based care and education. Formal care arrangements—such as child care centers and preschools—are an increasingly prominent part of children’s lives: 65 percent of young children have all available parents in the workforce. Policymakers, recognizing the importance of these early care and education environments—not just as a work support for parents but also as a means to promote children’s learning and development—are looking for strategies to boost program quality.

Experts know that effective teachers are central to quality early care and education. It is no surprise, then, that many quality improvement efforts have focused on increasing education requirements for teachers and bolstering access to professional development and training. Children’s learning and development is supported by thoughtful instruction and warm, engaging interactions. It takes a skilled and effective workforce to provide the level of instruction necessary to promote positive outcomes—including social skills and early literacy and numeracy skills—but the United States continues to pay most early childhood educators embarrassingly low wages. Preschool teachers and child care workers rank in the bottom 20th percentile for mean annual salaries. Moreover, many teachers lack access to important benefits such as health insurance and paid leave.

New analyses presented in this report suggest that poor compensation and benefits are felt most acutely by African American women in the early childhood workforce. On average, African American female teachers working full time make 84 cents for every $1 earned by their white counterparts. White teachers working full-time make an average of $13.86 per hour: This 16 percent wage gap means an African American teacher would make $366 less per month and $4,395 less per year, on average. When differences in educational backgrounds, years of experience, and employment characteristics are taken into account, the wage gap between African American and white female, full-time teachers is reduced to roughly 93 cents on the dollar. However, this is still a meaningful difference in a workforce that makes less than $30,000 per year, on average…..

The Childcare Gap is Widening

Source: Alissa Quart, Time, August 16, 2016

….Hanson and other middle class and rural parents are on the receiving end of an emerging type of unequal system that could be called daycare inequality.

Her problem is a familiar one to many mothers who would like to return to the workforce: for the most part, quality daycare is both affordable and accessible for the relatively wealthy only. In 31 states and Washington, D.C., the yearly cost of an infant in a daycare center full time is higher than yearly tuition and fees at a state public college.

Plus, it’s scarce nationwide: Colorado’s licensed daycare spots only meet the needs of a quarter of the state’s young children, for example. In Minnesota, the number of in-home childcare providers in three counties has declined by more than 17% in the last five years, leading to an extreme shortfall. Ditto in North Dakota; there’s a big shortage of childcare providers. And the spots that do exist are hard to find…..

2015 State Preschool Yearbook

Source: W. Steven Barnett, Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, Rebecca Gomez, Michelle Horowitz, G.G. Weisenfeld, Kirsty Clarke Brown, James H. Squires, National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), 2016

From the summary:
The 2015 State of Preschool Yearbook is the newest edition of our annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2014-2015 school year as well as documenting more than a decade of change in state pre-K since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. The 2015 Yearbook profiles 57 state-funded pre-K programs in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and also provides narrative information on early education efforts in the 8 states and the U.S. territories that do not provide state-funded pre-K. Nationally, the 2014-2015 school year showed continues improvement in state funded pre-K with larger increases in enrollment, spending, spending per child, and quality standards than the previous year. State funded pre-K served almost 1.4 million children in 2014-2015, an increase of 37,167 children from the previous year. State spending topped $6.2 billion, an increase of over $553 million, although two-thirds of this increase can be attributed to New York. Spending per child saw the largest increase in a decade, reaching $4,489 per child. Six programs in five states met new quality standards benchmarks and two new states, West Virginia and Mississippi, joined the group of states meeting all 10 quality standards benchmarks. However, progress has been unequal and uneven with some states taking large steps forward and other states moving backward. At the recent rate of progress it will take decades to serve even 50% of 4-year-olds in state pre-K. Government at every level will need to redouble their efforts and move forward.

The 2015 Yearbook is organized into three major sections. The first section offers a summary of the data and describes national trends in enrollment, quality standards, and spending for state-funded preschool. This year, a special supplemental section on state pre-K policies to support Dual Language Learners and the Workforce is also included. The second section presents detailed profiles outlining each state’s policies with respect to preschool access, quality standards, and resources for the 2014-2015 year. A description of our methodology follows the state profiles, and the last section of the report contains appendices. The appendices include tables that provide the complete 2014-2015 survey data obtained from every state, as well as Head Start, child care, U.S. Census, and special education data. This year, additional appendices are included that show the complete supplemental survey data on Dual Language Learners and the workforce.
Related:
Executive Summary
Table of Contents
State Data
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