Thursday, May 19, 2011

Investing in Early Childhood Education

Governor Markell’s advocacy for Delaware’s early childhood education programs has been an intense area of focus for the past several weeks. Our WMS staff, parents, and extended community have made sizeable efforts to voice their support for this unprecedented $22 million funding for early childhood in the state of Delaware.

This new funding will be an annually reoccurring allocation aimed at making quality early childhood programming available to more children in Delaware. The funds would support Delaware’s Purchase of Care (POC) program, a subsidy that supports early childhood and after-school education and care for children. Additionally, it would subsidize Delaware STARS, which establishes quality standards for early childhood programs-including Wilmington Montessori School.

Governor Markell held two events to unveil the third part of his jobs plan, one at Delaware State University’s optics lab in Dover and one at Kingswood Community Center in Wilmington. The following is the event excerpt from State of Delaware’s news page:

Early Childhood Education

Markell joined community leaders and early childhood educators at Kingswood Community Center to talk about the economic and social benefits of investing in early childhood education. More than 50 child/early education providers and advocates stood to applaud the plan.

A 2005 study of Delaware’s early child care and education programs concluded that factors contributing to poor quality included limited teacher education levels, inexperience and inadequate training for practitioners and low wages for all employees. The governor is proposing investing $22 million in Delaware early child care and education to build stronger staff and encourage stronger services at early childhood education centers. This includes $9 million for an across-the-board increase in Purchase of Care rates to 65 percent of the market rate for all providers and an additional $13 million in higher reimbursement rates, grants and technical assistance for providers that participate in the Delaware Stars for Early Success quality rating program and to support and reward teachers for pursuing and obtaining higher education degrees. Providers rated at 3,4 or 5 Stars will receive reimbursement rates of 80, 90 or 100 percent of the market rates, respectively. All participating centers will receive technical assistance and grants to assist in addressing the specific issues preventing them from getting a higher rating.

“Investing in early childhood education is investing in our public schools because children receiving quality early care and education are less likely to be disruptive and much more likely to be successful,” said Governor Jack Markell.

“Excellence will be encouraged and rewarded. Education does not stop when you graduate and it cannot and must not start the day a child arrives for kindergarten. Together, we’re going to keep fighting to build Delaware’s future in a way that creates jobs for these children’s parents now and creates real economic opportunity for them when they graduate.”

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1 comment:

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