• Advertisement

Kuster introduces legislation aimed at increasing STEM learning in early education

Congresswoman Kuster introduces her new early education STEM legislation at the Child and Family Development Center at NHTI 

(Concord, NH) – This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) introduced legislation aimed at increasing STEM learning in early education during a visit to the Child and Family Development Center at NHTI-Concord’s Community College. The legislation will establish a competitive grant program under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education to provide assistance for early childhood STEM programs and teacher training that meet certain requirements.

“There is an ever growing demand for jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, yet data show we are not doing enough to train students in these skills,” Congresswoman Kuster said. “This legislation will help provide teachers and schools the tools they need to prepare the workforce of tomorrow.  When I return to Washington, I will get back to work urging my colleagues in the House of Representatives to immediately pass this legislation, so we can best ensure hands-on learning for our future workforce and economy.”

Joining Congresswoman Kuster at the event were representatives from NHTI, Early Learning NH, Every Child Matters and Moms Rising-New Hampshire, among others.

“Early Learning NH is grateful to Congresswoman Kuster for introducing an important bill to support early childhood education programs’ ability to promote essential learning in the early years,” said Jackie Cowell, Executive of Early Learning NH.   “STEM learning, along with its accompanying learning in the essential life skills of perseverance, problem solving, curiosity, and the ability to work well in teams, is critical for today’s youngest children to help them become the productive citizens of tomorrow.  The Kindergartners we met today will graduate from high school in 2030.  Since many of them will hold jobs that haven’t even been invented yet, how do we prepare them for the complex world they will inherit?  This bill addresses just that – the answer is promoting STEM learning in the earliest years.” 

“Moms Rising is very eager to support initiatives that help to increase the quality of early childhood education programs, such as this new focus on STEM in early learning,” said Christina D’Allesandro, state director of Moms Rising. “Increasing access to high quality affordable early learning is a high priority for MomsRising members both in New Hampshire and nationwide.”

“NHTI has been a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education in the state of New Hampshire since we were founded in 1965,” said Susan B. Dunton, NHTI President. “As the demand for a workforce educated in the STEM fields promises only to grow in the future, introducing students to the STEM fields at the earliest possible opportunity is critical.  Rep. Kuster’s proposal is an important step in helping achieve this shared goal of making STEM an integral part of Early Childhood Education. “

Video on Governor Sununu’s Consultation with the NH State Board of Education

Concord, NH – Governor Chris Sununu held a consultation with the NH State Board of Education this morning on his nominee for Education Commissioner, Frank Edelblut.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Governor Sununu was unprepared and delivered a standing, rushed overview of his education commissioner nominee, which is in keeping with how he has handled the entire nomination process to date. Governor Sununu could not answer simple questions regarding Frank Edelblut’s education policy stances, and he blankly rejected that the Education Commissioner, like all Department of Education staff, should be highly trained and qualified. When pressed, the Governor repeatedly retreated to campaign rhetoric, further demonstrating he is not taking the real work of governing seriously. Governor Sununu nominated an unqualified and unfit individual to serve as the state’s top education chief. He should withdraw the nomination and start anew.”

Granite State Progress filmed the State Board of Education meeting this morning. Granite State Progress as well as several community members also spoke in opposition to Frank Edelblut for Education Commissioner during the open comment period of the meeting. 

Senator Hassan Participates in Floor Debate in Opposition to Betsy DeVos’s Nomination

Senator Highlighted Stories of Granite Staters Concerned with Mrs. DeVos’s Nomination 

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan participated in the floor debate on Betsy DeVos’s nomination, highlighting that Mrs. DeVos is completely unqualified and unprepared to serve as Secretary of Education. 

“All public officials – regardless of their party affiliation – should share a reverence for the importance of public education to our country’s success, both now and into the future. And they must show a commitment to enforcing our laws so that all students have the opportunity to succeed. I agree with my colleagues that Mrs. DeVos has not shown a commitment to, or an understanding of, these principles – and that is why I oppose her nomination,” said Senator Hassan today in comments delivered on the Senate floor.

Senator Hassan stressed Mrs. DeVos’ lack of experience with public education, as well as her support for diverting taxpayer dollars to private schools without accountability requirements, which would undermine efforts to ensure that every child has access to the education they need to be competitive and successful leaders in the 21st century economy.

“Mrs. DeVos demonstrated a complete lack of experience in, knowledge of and support for public education. She was unable to address basic issues that any New Hampshire school board member could discuss fluently,” Senator Hassan said.

Senator Hassan also highlighted the stories of the thousands of constituents who have reached out to her office expressing fear for what Mrs. DeVos’s confirmation would mean for their families, saying, “Mrs. DeVos’s unfamiliarity with IDEA, her comments on students with disabilities was something my office heard about often from Granite State parents who contacted the office with concerns about her nomination.” 

Senator Hassan spoke of a constituent from Concord who said she was feeling “vulnerable” about the future of her stepdaughter, who experiences both physical and cognitive disabilities, as a result of Mrs. DeVos’s nomination.  

“Parents across our nation deserve to know that the rights of their children will be protected – and they are rightfully concerned with Mrs. DeVos’s nomination,” Senator Hassan stated.

Shaheen Reads Letters From Granite State Parents And Educators Who Oppose Betsy DeVos’ Nomination

SHAHEEN: Because Betsy DeVos does not understand these basic truths about education in America, because she is driven by an ideological hostility to our public schools, she is the wrong person to serve as our Secretary of Education.”

Shaheen’s office has received more than 4,000 letters and emails, nearly all opposing DeVos, and 1,405 calls in opposition to her nomination

Watch Here

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor today in opposition of President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. “I value public schools as one of our nation’s bedrock civic and democratic institutions,” Shaheen said. “[Public schools] provide the best opportunity for kids from all walks of life to get a quality education. And they pass on to each new generation – including children of immigrants – America’s shared ideals and values. Regrettably, after careful study of Ms. DeVos’s record as an activist, I have concluded that she does not agree with this view of our public schools.”

“Given her past record, it makes no sense to put Ms. DeVos in charge of the Department of Education unless the aim is to devalue, defund, and perhaps eventually destroy our public schools,” Shaheen stated. “And I think that is unacceptable.”

On the Senate floor, Shaheen looked back on her own education and how she benefitted from public schools spanning grade school to higher education. She also cited her background as a public school teacher in Mississippi and New Hampshire, as well as her experience both as a parent and as New Hampshire’s governor.

 Shaheen drew attention to the heightened interest among constituents on DeVos’ nomination, saying her “office has been inundated with letters, emails, and phone calls strongly opposing the DeVos nomination.” Shaheen’s office has received more than 4,000 letters and emails from Granite Staters, and almost all of them oppose this nomination, in addition to 1,405 calls in opposition, with only three phone calls in support.

Shaheen read letters from Granite State educators, parents and concerned constituents that her office received opposing Ms. DeVos’ nomination. Megan, a social studies teacher, wrote: “Mrs. DeVos clearly lacks even a basic understanding of federal education policy, laws, and instructional practices. She has no relevant experience. There is just no way I would ever be certified to instruct students in New Hampshire if I lacked as much knowledge and experience in my field.  But she gets to be the nation’s chief educator.  How is this good for kids?” 

Referencing Ms. DeVos’ unawareness of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Shaheen read a letter from a parent in Western New Hampshire who wrote, “As the parent of a daughter with Down syndrome, I fear for the future of IDEA if DeVos is in charge.”

“What Ms. DeVos fails to understand is that quality education has nothing to do with whether a school is public or private,” concluded Shaheen. “What counts are high-quality teachers, support from parents and communities, facilities where kids can enjoy learning and be safe, rigorous academic standards, and the resources to make sure that children can get the learning that they need, including individualized assistance to kids with special needs. What counts is the political and budgetary commitment to create high-quality schools in every neighborhood, regardless of zip code.”

Breaking: Governor Sununu Considered Free State Project Member Jody Underwood for NH Education Commissioner*

*According to Free Stater Jody Underwood, she was under consideration for NH Education Commissioner 

New Hampshire deserves to know if Frank Edelblut will consider her for any division director openings at Department of Education – at the same time her family is pushing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country

From Wikipedia CC

MANCHESTER, NH – Free State Project member Jody Underwood claims she was considered for the position of NH Commissioner of Education. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: 

“Governor Sununu should answer whether he considered Jody Underwood for the position of NH Commissioner of Education, and whether he or current nominee Frank Edelblut plan to consider her for any open division director appointments. Underwood is part of an extreme political movement with a stated mission to take over state government and dismantle it, and her husband is actively organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country. Governor Sununu is playing dangerous games with New Hampshire’s future. Did Governor Sununu actually consider her for the role and does Frank Edelblut plan to work closely with her as he has in the past? Both Jody Underwood and her husband testified in support of Frank Edelblut for Education Commissioner at the Executive Council public hearing.”

Free State Project member Jody Underwood claims she was considered for NH Education Commissioner. Underwood made the claim in the description for a workshop she gave at the Free State Project’s NH Liberty Forum in Manchester this past weekend. The workshop “We don’t need no stinkin’ leaders: Getting things done in the world of NH Education” (sic) was held Saturday, February 4th at 4:00 PM. The last line of the workshop description – which was likely written before Sununu announced Edelblut – states: “I now find myself being considered for the position of NH Commissioner of Education. How does that happen, especially to someone who isn’t particularly political? Maybe I am a leader. Come find out.” http://nhlibertyforum.com/schedule/ Sat Feb 4 4:00 PM 

According to the Free State Project, the Underwoods moved to New Hampshire with the Free State Project in 2007 as “early movers” – the FSP’s most ardent supporters who moved early. Jody Underwood served on the FSP board of directors until last summer. She is currently a school board member in Croydon and brought a lawsuit against the NH Department of Education.

https://freestateproject.org/blogs/mover-stories/early-movers-education 

Underwood’s husband Ian – who also testified in support of Frank Edelblut – also hosted a workshop at the event. Title: “A Case for New Hampshire Independence.” Description: “The goal of the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, a 501c3 nonprofit, is to educate Granite Staters about the benefits of the ‘Live Free or Die’ state peacefully declaring its independence and separating from the federal government of the United States. Join FNHI board members Ian Underwood of Bardo Project and Carla Gericke, president of FNHI, to discuss what the future of New Hampshire could look like as an autonomous state.” http://nhlibertyforum.com/schedule/ Fri Feb 3 10:00 AM (Carla Gericke is the former President of the Free State Project – she also testified in support of Frank Edelblut) 

Frank Edelblut has a history of involvement with the Free State Project. As recently as last summer, Edelblut participated in a panel at the Free State Project’s annual PorcFest. The workshop was titled “Exploring Your Child’s Educational Fit” and the description read: “This group of experienced parents have directed their children’s educations. Come hear their experiences with homeschooling, charter schools, private schools, and online education.” The workshop notably does not include traditional public education as a potential educational fit, nor does it include any perspectives from a traditional public education family. The panel was moderated by Jody Underwood and Frank Edelblut participated as a panelist.

https://freestateproject.org/blogs/education-activism-track-porcfest-xiii-exceptional-dont-miss-it

About the Free State Project. A decade ago, the ultra-extreme Free State Project voted on a state to move 20,000 libertarians to, with the stated purpose to take over state government and dismantle it. New Hampshire was unfortunately the unlucky recipient of that vote. The Free State Project seeks to create a libertarian “utopia” void of public infrastructure and common laws, and to use their numbers to dramatically change New Hampshire. The Free State Project even threatens to secede from the rest of the country once it meets its initial goals: 

“Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.”

          Announcement:
The Free State Project
 by Founder Jason Sorens

Granite State Progress has monitored the Free State Project since 2008, particularly its attempts to field candidates and disrupt public policy.

AFT-NH Opposes Edelblut For Commissioner Of Education, Releases ‘Lesson Plan’ On Edelblut

NH Students Deserve a Commissioner of Education
Who Is
QUALIFIED and SUPPORTS Public Education

AFT-NH ‘Lesson Plan’ on Frank Edelblut

Objectives

  • Determine if the nominee for Education Commissioner is qualified to serve the 180,000+ public school students in NH;
  • Advise fellow citizens how to have their voices heard on the Edelblut nomination 

Background

  • Governor Sununu has nominated Frank Edelblut to be the next NH Commissioner of Education.
  • Mr. Edelblut served as a state representative for one term and then ran for Governor.
  • Frank Edelblut ran in the republican primary against Gov. Sununu and lost by 800 votes.
  • Mr. Edelblut has no background in education.
  • Mr. Edelblut has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies. He attended K-12 public school.
  • He home-schooled his 7 children.
  • His work experience includes Price Waterhouse Coopers, Niagara Corporation and his own business, Control Solutions International.
  • He supports school choice in all forms such as private, charter, religious, public schools, and home-school. As a legislator, he supported school choice legislation.
  • He has never served on a local school board. He did serve on the Water Commission in the Town of Wilton.

What is the job of the Education Commissioner?

  •  Department of Education Responsibilities

21-N:2 Establishment; General Functions. –
I. There is hereby established the department of education, an agency of the state under the executive direction of a commissioner of education.
II. The department of education, through its officials, shall be responsible for the following  general functions:
(a) Providing general supervision for elementary and secondary schools, teachers and administrators.
(b) Providing a variety of educational services to schools and particular groups.
(c) Providing vocational rehabilitation and social security disability determination services for persons with    disabilities.

  • RSA 21-N:3, I states in relevant part, “…The commissioner and deputy commissioner shall be qualified to hold their positions by reason of education and experience.”
  • The specific duties of the Commissioner of Education are outlined in law at RSA 21-N:4 Duties of Commissioner. The Commissioner needs to be qualified in order to efficiently and effectively run the NH Department of Education and support our schools across the state.

Who approves the nomination of Frank Edelblut as Commissioner of Education?

The five elected members of the NH Executive Council. The vote could occur as soon as January 31st. 

AFT-NH OPPOSES THE NOMINATION OF FRANK EDELBLUT.

NH STUDENTS, PARENTS AND TEACHERS DESERVE BETTER.

You can express your opinion about this nomination by sending an email to all five Executive Councilors at gcweb@nh.gov.

Hassan Grills DeVos On Protecting Students With Disabilities

Under Questioning from Senator Hassan, Betsy DeVos Refuses to Commit to Enforcing the Law to Protect Students with Disabilities

Senator Hassan to DeVos: “It’s not about sensitivity – although that helps – it’s about being willing to enforce the law.”

DeVos Also Admits She Was Confused About Whether the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Is A Federal Law 

WASHINGTON — Today, during the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee confirmation hearing for President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, Senator Maggie Hassan questioned Mrs. DeVos on her commitment to protecting students who experience disabilities.

After describing how her son Ben, who experiences severe disabilities, was able to get a quality education at his local public school because of the countless advocates who fought to ensure that public schools would have adequate resources and protections for children like Ben, Senator Hassan pushed Mrs. DeVos on whether she would enforce the law in regards to students who experience disabilities.

The Senator explained that when students who experience disabilities receive a publicly-funded voucher to attend a private school, these students often do not receive adequate resources and may need to sign over their legal rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Senator Hassan pressed Mrs. DeVos on whether or not she would enforce the IDEA and if she believes that families should have a recourse in the courts if their child’s education does not adequately meet his or her needs.

In response to Mrs. DeVos’s statement that if she is confirmed she will be very “sensitive to the needs of special needs students and the policies surrounding that,” Senator Hassan responded, “With all due respect, it’s not about sensitivity – although that helps. It’s about being willing to enforce the law to make sure that my child and every child has the same access to public education – high quality public education.”

Not only did Mrs. DeVos refuse to commit to enforcing the law to protect students with disabilities, but she also admitted that she was confused about whether the IDEA is a federal law.

Senator-Elect Hassan’s Initial Senate Committee Assignments Important to New Hampshire

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator-elect Maggie Hassan today announced two initial Senate committee assignments for the 115th Congress, with additional committee assignments expected in the coming weeks. She will serve on the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

These committee appointments are subject to ratification by the Democratic Caucus and the full Senate.

“I’m honored to be appointed to these important Senate committees that will allow me to continue to focus on critical New Hampshire priorities,” said Governor and Senator-elect Maggie Hassan. “I look forward to hitting the ground running in January and bringing my bipartisan approach and commitment to problem solving to the U.S. Senate to expand economic opportunity, support innovative small businesses, and keep New Hampshire and America safe, secure, and strong.”

Senator-elect Hassan’s initial committee assignments will enable her to continue her efforts to combat the heroin, fentanyl and opioid crisis; ensure access to quality and affordable health care; make higher education and job training more affordable and accessible; and keep our communities safe.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is the principal oversight committee of the United States Senate, overseeing homeland security policies and reviewing government efficiency and effectiveness more broadly. As Governor, Senator-elect Hassan worked with state homeland security and emergency management officials, local police departments, fire fighters and public safety officials, and federal partners to keep Granite Staters safe. In addition to overseeing the Department of Homeland Security and other critical homeland security priorities to keep America safe and secure – including cybersecurity efforts – Senator-elect Hassan’s appointment to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will also allow her to continue efforts to improve government efficiency and protect taxpayer dollars.  

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has broad jurisdiction over America’s health care, education, employment and retirement policies. Senator-elect Hassan’s appointment to the HELP Committee will allow her to build on her work as Governor to combat the heroin, fentanyl and opioid crisis, to ensure that every Granite Stater has access to quality, affordable health care and to hold down the cost of college tuition and reduce the burden of student loan debt. She will fight to protect New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion program and preserve benefits for seniors, including standing up to those trying to turn Medicare into a voucher system, which would undermine retirement security and is expected to be debated in the upcoming Congress.

Granite State Rumbling: Every Child Matters NH’s Goals For 2017

Now that the elections and Thanksgiving are in our rearview mirror, our attention turns to the holidays of December and the hope of what a new year will bring.

2016 has been a long year for the advocates, organizations, and agencies across the state and across the country who have worked tirelessly to ensure that basic needs are met for our most vulnerable populations. It has been an even longer and much harder year for the children and families who continue to feel the effects of a shredded safety net and an opiate crisis that shows no mercy on those who are afflicted with the disease and the innocent victims caught in the current.

We have watched more of our children slip into poverty, go to bed hungry, and wonder where that bed is going to be tomorrow night. And as December’s cold winds blow through the state we now fear for those who have no place warm to escape them.

The Thanksgiving break afforded me the time to spend time with loved ones, eat some great desserts, watch some football, and reflect on the feelings of frustration and anger I have felt lately. I have regrouped and am now ready to get back to work. That work means playing offense instead of playing defense (stealing some football terminology).

We have gotten pretty good at playing defense when it comes to addressing the difficult challenges that face our state. The primary obstacle we face is not related to a lack of goodwill, but rather to the fundamental way we understand the nature of the problems we face. More times than not, we merely respond to symptoms of a given problem [defense] and don’t pay adequate attention to the problem that is producing the symptoms [offense]. All of which puts the cart before the horse and keeps us from truly moving forward.

Take, for instance, the growing issue of child poverty. When we think about helping those in need (“giving back to those less fortunate,” as the popular adage goes), many of us usually focus on acts of charitable giving. After all it is the season of giving. In the malls we find Christmas trees with cards on them asking for a gift for a child in need. At the grocery store are pre-packaged groceries that we can purchase for a family in need. Charity in its many forms tries to help people who are in need, which is certainly important and worthy of our best efforts.

But even more important is figuring out why people are in need in the first place, and then working toward alleviating the root causes of such need (it’s one thing to give food to a person who is hungry, but it’s another thing entirely to eliminate the reasons they are hungry in the first place). While we can of course celebrate acts of charity that take place in our community, the ultimate goal isn’t simply about responding to symptoms, but abolishing the problems that produce the symptoms.

So, don’t you think that at a time when we see the income gap widening, ninety-five percent of the recovery gains since 2009 going to the top 1%, over ¼ of all jobs in the U.S. paying below poverty wages, and child well-being indicators falling in our state, now is the right time for all of us to rally around a set of common goals that will strengthen families and put them on a course leading to economic security?

Take a look at Every Child Matters’ 5 priority areas in the section below. Is there an area that catches your attention? Give us a call or send us an e-mail and we’ll give you some ideas about how you can help advocate. Your voice is especially important now.  

Many New Hampshire kids are doing fine – but many are not.

1. Equal Opportunity:  Children remain more likely to be poor than any other age group, with more than one in ten in poverty in New Hampshire in 2015 (10.7 percent), and the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to grow.

2. Family and Work:  The Census Bureau data shows that in 58 percent of poor New Hampshire families, at least one person worked, although not always full time or year-round. Even when work and other income helps people to live up to twice the poverty line (up to $37,742 for a family of three), most people recognize that making ends meet is not that easy for those this near poverty. One in five Granite Staters are trying to get by with incomes this low. 

The average cost in New Hampshire for an infant in a child care center is more than $11,800 a year for an infant and for a 4-year-old, it’s more than $21,250.

3. Access to Education:  New Hampshire currently does not have a state-funded preschool program. Only 4 percent of 3-year-olds and 6 percent of 4-year-olds are enrolled in a public preschool program. A year of tuition for an instate student at the University of New Hampshire costs $16,017 plus room, board, books and incidentals $27,000+. The maximum Pell grant award covers only $5,775.

4. Children’s Healthcare:  12,000 New Hampshire children were without health insurance in 2014 and 94,153 children in New Hampshire were enrolled in Medicaid in 2014, increasing 15.1% from 2013. 

5. Children’s Safety: In 2014, New Hampshire had 15,184 total referrals for child abuse and neglect. Of those, 9,289 reports were referred for investigation.

In 2014, there were 646 victims of abuse or neglect in New Hampshire, a rate of 2.4 per 1,000 children, decreasing 21.4% from 2013. Of these children, 79.1% were neglected, 8.7% were physically abused, and 15.5% were sexually abused.

Equal Opportunity. Individual outcomes will always vary. But when every child gets a fair shot at success, America’s families, communities and the economy as a whole will benefit. Lifting children from poverty and removing discrimination or other barriers to development and achievement are a key government function. As noted by the eminent researcher and author Robert Putnam, denial of equal opportunity is a dagger to the heart of the American Dream.

Family and Work. Stagnant incomes and workplace practices that pit being a parent against being a provider strain families and harm kids. Working and having a family shouldn’t be so hard. Paid sick and family medical leave, access to affordable childcare and better incomes can help provide the economic security and flexibility that parents need to build their careers and support their families

Access to Education.  Research demonstrates that 80 percent of a child’s brain development occurs between the ages of zero and five. Yet little is invested at the federal level in early childhood education. All kids should have access to high-quality preschool regardless of parental income or where they live. Later in life, a teenager willing to work hard in college to get skills needed for success should not be blocked due to race and should not be burdened with a level of debt more crushing than that endured by any previous generation.

Children’s Healthcare.  More children have access to health care than ever due to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) and children’s protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While not perfect, these laws prohibit insurance company discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions, require insurance companies to cover child preventive care, and help ensure families won’t go broke when their child gets sick. Proposed policy changes must detail how children’s protections will be maintained or enhanced.

Children’s Safety. Every child needs a safe environment in their home, school and neighborhood. Preventing child abuse and neglect, as well as minimizing gun violence, a leading killer of children and teens, are top priorities for voters.

Granite State Rumblings: 5 Facts About The Early Childhood Workforce

From our friends at Child Trends comes this list of 5 critical facts about the early childhood workforce. 

About 3 in 4 young children are in non-parental care. Research on early brain development highlights the importance of quality early care and education, yet low wages make it difficult to attract and retain qualified staff.  

Half of the early childhood workforce are home-based care providers.

When you think of an early educator, you might imagine a preschool teacher in a classroom full of children. In reality, only half of the 2 million early educators and caregivers in the early childhood workforce work in formal settings like schools and centers. The other half of paid early childhood caregivers and teachers provide care through formal and informal arrangements in homes. Of the 20 million U.S. children under age 5, nearly 7 million receive care in a center-based program and 3 million are cared for in home-based settings. An additional 4 million children are cared for by an unpaid caregiver who is not their parent.

The average early childhood teacher or caregiver has 10 to 14 years of experience.

There is a popular misconception that early educators are inexperienced and do not have much knowledge of the field. But the recent National Survey of Early Care and Education reveals that the average educator or child care provider has 10 to 14 years of experience. In addition to having experience in the field, early educators across settings tend to work full-time hours. The average center-based teacher works 39 hours per week; the average home-based caregiver works nearly 54 hours per week.

Low wages result in significant percentages of early childhood teachers and caregivers receiving public assistance.

According to the National Survey of Early Care and Education, the average hourly wage for an early childhood caregiver is $10.60. Hourly wages vary depending on the age of the children in care. For example, caregivers serving infants and toddlers average $9.30 per hour, while their counterparts serving preschoolers make $11.90 per hour. Wages also depend on the setting in which teachers and caregivers work. A preschool teacher with a bachelor’s degree working in a public school earns an average of $22.90 per hour, but a provider operating a child care business in their home earns only $12.44 per hour. Nearly 1 in 3 preschool teachers and almost half of home-based providers are enrolled in a public assistance program to obtain health insurance, food support, and/or income support for their own families.

A call for increased qualifications for early care and education teachers and caregivers will require significant investments.

Last year, the Institute of Medicine released a report on transforming the early childhood workforce that calls for all early childhood lead teachers to have a bachelor’s degree by 2025.While policy initiatives through Head Start have had some success in increasing the qualifications of early childhood workers, additional strategies will be required to meet this goal across settings. As of 2012, only 45 percent of center-based preschool teachers, 19 percent of center-based infant-toddler teachers, and 16 percent of home-based providers had earned bachelor’s degrees. The Institute of Medicine recommends strategies, such as scholarships and tuition reimbursement, that increase the affordability of higher education, and supports to improve access to higher education.

Moving up in an early childhood career is challenging, but efforts are underway to support growth.

Many early educators find it difficult to advance their careers. A 2016 policy statement from the federal Administration for Children and Families calls for states to take action in several policy areas, such as 1) creating shared terminology for credentials across early care and education sectors, 2) aligning credentialing and higher education systems, 3) increasing access to professional development and higher education, and 4) tracking their state’s early childhood workforce (for example, through Workforce Registries). Some states, such as Wisconsin, Vermont, Nebraska, Indiana, and North Carolina, have already begun such efforts by engaging in statewide early childhood workforce surveys. However, even with better alignment and access to higher education, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment points out that low wages dissuade early educators from pursuing a higher degree. For many early educators, the cost of higher education is not worth the low wages that await them when they complete their degree.


GROWING UP GRANITE

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are 5 pictures that tell the story of why investing in early childhood education and our young children is imperative to building strong children and a strong economy.

2-5gsr 2-4gsr 2-3gsr 2-2gsr 2-1gsr

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 198 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement