As an owner-operator of an Early Education and Care Center, I’ve watched for years as the EEC requires new regulations and places burdens upon Childcare Providers with no regard to cost or student population, nor differences from program to program. EEC follows a one-size-fits-all attitude.
These challenges with the government begin with the simple fact that the bureaucrats don’t understand the realities of Early Education and Care.
- Early Education and Care studies focus on proving that certain models work, rather than looking at our widely varying types of staffing and student populations. Studies of Perry and Abecedarian programs come up with a per-student cost of $22,000 per year, compared to the reality of less than $7000 per student in most programs. Bad information such as this, however, is too often used to create the regulations forced upon Early Childhood and Care Centers, and Daycare providers – regardless of size or actual per-student costs.
- Grover J “Russ” Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution concluded that extrapolating studies of Perry and Abecedarian programs is like a TV spokesperson for Weight Watchers demonstrating the impact of joining a diet program.
- Studies such as those of Boston pre-school programs and Chicago Child Parent Centers are widely cited and used, but employed questionable standards — and didn’t track students over time.
- The Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) of Federal Head Start Programs was one of the most ambitious, methodologically rigorous and expensive federal studies ever, costing $8.5 billion. Drawing from sample size of 2600 students and 23 states, HSIS found modest gains in math, reading and some positive effects on social behaviors from Head Start. However, a 2016 study by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and others found children in these controlled groups leveled out to be at roughly the same levels by the end of kindergarten as children with no Pre-School. (Reference: Cato Institute)
The billions of dollars the Federal and State Government spends on Early Education and Care do not need to be cut. However, the WAY those dollars are spent needs to change dramatically. Agencies like EEC must work better with actual program providers and daycare providers. Programs need to meet local community needs, not a one-size-fits-all approach from the Federal and State Governments. Agencies like EEC should be working with local schools’ K-3 and local Early Education and Care programs to meet the unique needs and challenges of individual communities. Some communities need help with non-English-speaking students, and need tools to teach English in the 2.9-5 year-old age group. Other communities’ needs are very different. EEC and other agencies must have the staff and flexibility to be effective partners with those communities.
My commitment to all Daycare providers and Early Education and Care providers is simple: An open line of communication, including state-of-the-art tools such as online forums, quarterly reports on progress, and direct avenues for your valued input.
It will not be easy to take on entrenched government bureaucracies and special interest groups that will do everything to try and stop me. But I have never shied away from taking on bureaucracies.