There has been a lot of media attention on early care and education in Connecticut over the last week or so. First, Connecticut officials received the bad news that our state's application for Race to the Top funding was denied. The Malloy administration had hoped to land $50 million to implement a variety of initiatives to try to improve early education in the state. In a statement, Malloy called the application "strong" and plans to use the nearly 289-page application as a "road map as we move forward on education reform."
Just days later, Governor Malloy sent a letter to the leaders in the General Assembly outlining his principles for education reform. Those principles will serve as a “roadmap” for the upcoming 2012 session of the General Assembly, a session in which the Governor has repeatedly said he will focus on education.
Family Childcare providers also made the news last week, voting 1,603 to 88 to join the CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 union. There are about 4,000 Family Childcare providers in CT, covering all 169 cities and towns. They all participate in the Care 4 Kids program, the state's primary child care subsidy that is managed by the state Department of Social Services. It is the Governor's hope and the hope of many advocates that being able to unionize will give Family Childcare providers a collective voice to effect positive changes to the Care 4 Kids program.
Finally, CT Voices for Children released their 2011 Early Care and Education Progress Report. Key findings of the report indicate that funding for early care and education has been stagnant and is more than 10% below 2002 levels; Connecticut is not serving many of the children who need help with over 86% of infants and toddlers, and at least 25% of preschoolers living in struggling families unserved by any state or federal subsidy for early care and education; and Connecticut’s patchwork of early care and education programs needs reforming in order to streamline multiple funding streams and multiple agencies with varied reporting and eligibility and data requirements.