The recession is taking its toll and jeopardizing expansion of early childhood in some states, so it was interesting to read this week about effort to ramp up the quality of current programs.
The issue of quality is a huge one for child care and early education programs. Professor Sharon Lynn Kagan of Teachers College consults with early childhood programs around the world, and when she speaks about the U.S. she often points out how few programs are of high quality — meaning well-funded, with trained staffs and teachers, a well thought out curriculum and clear standards.
In California, there are some new efforts to create a child-care rating system based on the education of staff, the way adults interact with children and parental involvement in a program, according to a recent story.
And Massachusetts this week moved a step closer to creating a system to evaluate the quality of programs and provide incentives for them to approve, according to a story in the “eye on early education,” blog, which notes that 21 states are piloting a program that defines standards for four levels of quality. Creating such a system is important for Massachusetts, where 92 percent of all children under the age of 7 are regularly cared for by someone who is not a family member, according a recent brief.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the Child Care Quality Rating System (QRS) Assessment: Compendium of Quality Rating Systems and Evaluations, a helpful document for journalists or anyone who is looking at the critical issue of child care services and programs.