Op-Ed: What Brown Center scholars will be watching in education policy and politics in 2023
Daphna Bassok (@DaphnaBassok)
Nonresident Senior Fellow:
In 2023, I’ll be watching innovative state and local efforts to better fund childcare and better support early educators. The pandemic highlighted the essential role childcare plays in the lives of children, families, and the U.S. economy. It also made clear that without greater public support, childcare providers cannot pay teachers adequately and cannot offer families essential supports. The high teacher turnover rates common in early childhood settings compromise quality, and during the pandemic, they also compromised access to care. In Virginia, two thirds of publicly funded childcare centers shut down classrooms or turned families away because they could not recruit and retain teachers.
Pandemic relief dollars provided an essential lifeline to childcare. However, as these funds run out, states are now facing a stark funding cliff which will exacerbate staffing challenges considerably. New Mexico recently passed a ballot measure to establish a permanent funding source in the state constitution, making it the first state in the country to do so. Washington, D.C. approved funding to work towards childcare compensation that approaches the pay of other D.C. teachers. Virginia recently changed their approach to funding subsidized childcare to better account for the true cost of childcare, including better compensation. I’m hopeful other states will follow with big investments and that as the federal funding cliff approaches, we’ll finally see large federal investments in childcare.
This article was originally written and featured by The Brookings Institution. Read the full article here.