“At the root of this crisis is America’s relationship with child care itself. Unlike every other developed country, the United States has never, with the exception of a few years during World War II, treated child care as an essential service. Since at least the 1970s, when President Richard Nixon vetoed a bipartisan effort to implement a universal child-care system because it had what he called ‘family-weakening implications,’ the industry has been cast as a personal choice — more specifically, a mother’s choice.
‘We have never valued the work that goes into caring for our families — we’ve never accounted for it, we have made it invisible and have always taken for granted that women will shoulder the responsibility,’ said Ai-jen Poo, senior adviser for the nonprofit Care in Action and an expert on the care economy.”
Kimberly Haskins of the Barr Foundation has written a post on A New Model of Quality Improvement in Early Education, an interesting pilot project in Boston. Participating early education programs begin with a needs assessment that informs an improvement plan. The plans include targeted professional development and coaching to address the site’s identified needs. According to Haskins,
This multi-year initiative seeks to advance early education programs in Boston centers and home-based care sites to the highest level of quality, ensuring that all programs: 1) identify the needs of children; 2) provide appropriate resources and supports to meet those needs; and 3) demonstrate measurable improvement in child outcomes. The goal is for programs to build their capacity to use data for continuous quality improvement.
In its first year, the Ready Educators Quality Improvement Pilot worked with ten center-based early education programs, one large family childcare system, and four of its home-based providers. Each participating program was assessed to identify its strengths and areas for improvement. Based on these assessments, Wellesley Centers for Women helped the programs develop customized improvement plans, including targeted professional development, coaching, and consultation.