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2014 News and Bulletins Archives
January 23, 2014 | Volume 5, Number 3
By Tim Fitzharris, Ph.D., Fitzharris & Associates
"Representing Early Education Since 1996"
Federal Budget Compromise Has New Early Ed Funding
The Senate now has approved and sent to the White House a monumental spending bill that keeps the government running through September. The $1.012 trillion measure, designed to bring a fresh sense of order to the federal budget process, passed 72-26 just a day after the House passed it with similarly broad bipartisan support. The bill won the support of 17 Republicans, 53 Democrats and 2 independents. President Obama now has signed it into law.
So, what’s in the federal budget bill for Early Education? According to Helen Blank, Director of Child Care and Early Learning at the National Women's Law Center, it’s good news.
- Head Start received an increase of $1.025 billion to restore the funding cut by the Sequester and provide programs with a cost-of-living increase. Of this increase, $500 million is set aside for new Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships. Early Head Start partnership funding will be available to every state and programs will compete for the funding within each state. These grants will allow new or existing Early Head Start programs to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers serving low-income infants and toddlers. Funding will be available to help child care programs meet the Early Head Start standards and for training and technical assistance.
Here’s more from ABC News: The new budget deal includes $8.6 billion for Head Start programs — a $1 billion increase from 2013 that would expand Head Start to 90,000 new kids, according to the office of Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Among those children are an estimated 40,000 new babies and toddlers who would be eligible for services under a $500 million expansion of early Head Start programs.
- The Child Care and Development Block Grant received a $154 million increase. CCDBG continues to have set-asides for after-school and resource and referral activities, a national toll-free hotline, quality improvement activities, infant/toddler care, and research. This means a total of $2.4 billion for CCDBG. The increase means that 22,000 additional, low-income children can be helped nationwide.
- A new initiative for preschool development grants received $250 million in funding (a Race to the Top competitive grant program). The funding will be awarded competitively to states to build their capacity to develop, enhance, or expand high-quality preschool programs, including comprehensive services and family engagement, for preschool-age children from families at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. States can subgrant funds to local educational agencies and other early learning providers, such as Head Start programs and licensed child care providers, or consortia of providers, for preschool programs.
Local educational agencies that receive subgrant funding must collaborate with early learning providers, and early learning providers that receive subgrant funding must collaborate with local educational agencies. Up to 3 percent of the funding for this early care and education initiative can be used for technical assistance, evaluation, and other national activities. The program will be jointly administered by the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There will be two types of grants to states: one to states that do not fund preschool or have only small preschool programs and another to states that already fund sizeable preschool programs. Funds may be used to assist early childhood teachers with attaining higher credentials and degrees. States receiving awards must ensure that any use of assessment follows the National Research Council’s recommendations on appropriate use and practices for assessment of young children. Funds cannot be used for renovation or construction of facilities.
Increases Fueled by Head Start Sequester Cuts, Says Education Week
Here’s what Education Week says about Head Start and the Early Education increases in the new Budget:
As numerous media outlets are reporting, Head Start is the clear winner on early childhood funding in the Omnibus bill and the administration is going to get to declare a modest victory on its pre-k proposal, too. Three observations on this:
1) These increases suggest that the Head Start impact study hasn't significantly undermined support in Congress for Head Start funding.
2) The success in restoring and securing increases in Head Start funding likely has something to do with the intensive media coverage of sequester-related cuts in Head Start services, which were among the most visible, local, and sympathetic victims of the sequester, and the presence of Head Start grantees in every Congressional district.
3) Of all the potential avenues for increasing early childhood funding, increasing Head Start funds appears to be the one that Congress is most open to at the moment --underscoring the importance of focusing on Head Start quality and effectiveness as a critical complement to any efforts to expand pre-k access.
Governor Brown’s State of the State Address
Governor Brown delivered his “State of the State” speech in the Assembly chambers yesterday. While emphasizing Education, he said nothing specific about Early Education.
He did, however, warn about spending the projected fiscal surpluses.
“So we can’t go back to “business as usual,” the chief executive said. “Boom and bust is our lot and we must follow the ancient advice, recounted in the Book of Genesis, that Joseph gave to the Pharaoh: ‘Put away your surplus during the years of great plenty so you will be ready for the lean years which are sure to follow.’” …
“Most governors and legislatures – in modern times – have forgotten this advice. This time we won’t do that. We will pay down our debts and remember the lessons of history. The American philosopher, George Santayana, famously said: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’”
This does not augur well for replenishing, re-building, and re-investing in Child Care and Development in the next fiscal year.
New Leaders for Senate and Assembly Announced
Both Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) will be termed-out at the end of this year. New leaders for both houses have been designated, although it is not likely that either will take control immediately.
In the Senate, Steinberg said that Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) will be the next leader. He indicated that he will call for a vote on de Leon's leadership after the Budget is complete in June.
In the Assembly, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the current Assembly Majority leader, has been picked by a vote of the Democratic Caucus this week. Atkins would become the first openly gay woman to serve as Speaker.
CA Budget Project Comments on Child Care Funding (or Lack Thereof) in Governor’s New Budget
The California Budget Project has completed its initial analysis of Governor Brown’s FY 2014-15 Fiscal proposal. Here’s what it said about his Child Care and Development investment:
“State policymakers have repeatedly cut child care and development programs in recent years in order to help close budget shortfalls. Since 2007-08, state policymakers have cut total funding for child care and preschool programs by nearly 40 percent, resulting in the elimination of about 110,000 child care and preschool ‘slots.’
“The Governor’s proposed 2014-15 budget generally maintains the prior year’s funding levels for subsidized child care and the state preschool program, with no significant increases in funding and – in some cases – slight funding reductions.”
In a new analysis – the first in a series of briefs on Governor Brown's 2014-15 proposed budget – the CBP takes a look at child care and preschool funding, and shows that the Governor's proposal would leave in place current, diminished levels of support. “Despite increased state revenues, the Governor's budget proposal includes no major reinvestment in child care and preschool funding, which state policymakers have cut by nearly 40 percent in recent years.”
This CBP brief – Child Care and Preschool in the Governor's Proposed 2014-15 Budget: Deep Cuts from Prior Years Remain in Place (Jan 21, 2014) – looks at several key benefits of subsidized child care and preschool, and identifies policy options for boosting support for these programs. Here are the listed options:
State policymakers can take steps to strengthen California’s subsidized child care and preschool system. Specifically, they can:
- Increase funding and boost the number of slots to ensure that a greater number of eligible families have access to child care and preschool;
- Raise the income eligibility limit for child care and state preschool programs, which was lowered in 2011-12, causing thousands of children to lose care; and
- Increase payment rates for both licensed and license-exempt providers, which either have not been updated or have been cut in recent years.
Child care and preschool programs provide substantial benefits for the state’s children and working families, as well as offering economic benefits to the state. Investment in child care and preschool is fiscally sound policy that helps lay the foundation for broadly shared prosperity.
Children Now’s Report Card Released
The Oakland-based Children Now has released its annual Children's Report Card evaluating the state's performance in education, health and child welfare issues. There is much room for improvement in the way California cares for its children, ranging from health care to education ton to welfare, says the advocacy group.
The Contra Costa Times' Theresa Harrington: "The organization rated the state in 27 categories. Overall, the state scored mostly average or below, with six Bs, eight Cs and 13 Ds. I n each area, Children Now outlined a "Pro-Kid Policy Agenda" aimed at helping the state do better."
“California's top grade was a B+ for health insurance, based on an increase in public insurance that has helped offset the decline in employer-based insurance programs. But even in this area, the state could improve." Although more than 738,000 uninsured children in California are eligible for public coverage, 78 percent of them are not enrolled, the report shows. Children Now suggests that the state should provide every child with affordable, comprehensive health insurance."
Kong Takes Over at Early Edge California
Deborah Kong, formerly Early Edge California’s vice president of policy and operations, has become president of the organization. Catherine Atkin, former president has left to develop and launch a new enterprise focused on creating large-scale, innovative change in the training of early childhood teachers, caregivers and parents.
Deborah is an accomplished leader in the field, having worked for over six and a half years as a key member of the organization’s leadership team as it has successfully advanced an early learning agenda. She brings an exceptional balance of deep policy and communications experience and administrative skill to her new position as president of the organization. After 15 years as a journalist, including a position as a national writer for the Associated Press, Deborah pursued a Masters of Public Policy degree at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy so that she could take a more active role in effecting change.
New Data Base Which Tracks Business-Led, Community-based ECE Initiatives
Ready Nation – a national business and ECE collaboration – has announced the launch of Ready2Go, a collection of national, state and local early childhood initiatives with significant business involvement. While many business leaders are passionate advocates for policy change, some also want to tackle hands-on projects that show immediate results. “Ready2Go provides diverse examples of early childhood projects that suit a variety of circumstances and preferences for business,” says Ready Nation. Projects range from small and locally developed, to “turn-key” examples with well-established guidelines and outcomes data.
Ready2Go is searchable by geographic area and topic, and includes a point of contact for each project included. Please go to: http://www.readynation.org/ready2go
Correction: LAO report
In the last The Capitol Plus, I listed Legislative Analyst comments about the Governor’s Budget on Child Care. Actually, the comments were from the LAO’s November Fiscal Forecast and not comments on Governor Brown’s new fiscal proposal. The LAO’s initial “overview” Budget response (Please see http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2014/budget/overview/budget-overview-2014.pdf ) does not contain a review of his child care proposals (or lack thereof).
The LAO’s analysis of Child Care, Child Development, and State PreK, with recommendations, will be coming out in a few weeks.
Notice: This is a report on California politics, a very dynamic, fluid circumstance at best. Information contained herein is our best effort to be both timely and accurate, but things change. Readers are cautioned to investigate the conditions and facts themselves before acting upon any information presented here.
The Child Development Policy Institute - Education, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to help establish sound public policy that benefits the children of California, is providing access to its website and managing subscriptions this publication.The opinions expressed in herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Child Development Policy Institute - Education or its individual board members.