On Monday, August 24, the Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC) held a meeting to further discuss its work to date to inform the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (MPELC) and to discuss how to ensure equity is addressed as part of the MPELC. An overview of the Preschool Development Grant Initial and Renewal were also provided to the ECPC members.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris opened the meeting, sharing that ECPC members met one-on-one with the MPELC team to offer input and shared expertise to be incorporated into the MPELC’s development. She also emphasized that she wants to continue to keep racial justice and equity front and center in all early learning and care (ELC) decisions and that this meeting’s MPELC working session would focus on equity.
Next, Parent Advisory Committee Chair Mary Ignatius and Workforce Advisory Committee Chair Tonia McMillian reported out on the first meeting of their respective committees. Learn more on what was discussed at the Parent Advisory Committee meeting and the Workforce Advisory Committee meeting.
Sarah Neville Morgan, Deputy Superintendent for CDE’s Teaching and Learning Support Branch, and Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary of Early Childhood Development in the California Health and Human Services Agency, then provided an overview of the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) work to date and plans for the future. Slides from their presentation are available here.
PDG B-5 seeks to support states in their efforts to analyze the landscape of their ELC mixed-delivery system and implement changes to the system that:
- Maximize availability of high-quality ELC options for high-impact families;
- Streamline administrative infrastructure;
- Improve state-level early learning and care funding efficiencies; and
- Improve the quality of care.
The Preschool Development Grant Renewal is a $40.2 million grant over a three-year grant period (Dec 2019 –Dec 2022). Goals for the renewal grant are to:
- Build cross-system capacity and streamline governance at the state and local level.
- Maximize parent and family knowledge, elevate parent voices, and strengthen parent connections to ELC and other supportive services.
- Develop a unified system for workforce professional development that employs consistent standards and offers aligned, stackable, competency-based, credit bearing professional development.
- Increase the supply and quality of ELC opportunities by redesigning and aligning quality standards, professional development systems, and monitoring processes.
The next portion of the meeting was a working session for the MPELC led by Lupita Alcala and Jannelle Kubinec from WestEd. They began by sharing that since June, they have conducted interviews with ECPC members, sessions with ECPC workforce and parent advisory committees, and engagement with stakeholders, experts, and policymakers. Highlights of what was heard through this outreach include the need to address inequities for children, parents, caregivers, and educators, embrace diversity, and advance quality.
The focus of the working session was how to address California’s Early Childhood Equity challenge and address the long-term impacts of childhood poverty. How do we break this cycle? They presented possible solutions for advancing equity through policy and practice for children and families, including:
- End discriminatory practices
- Embrace diversity (DLLs – support to children and training to workforce)
- Remove barriers to access
- Prepare and support the workforce
- Collect and use data for accountability
- Provide technical assistance to build and sustain an equity-focused approach to early childhood
- Restructure funding consistent with equity and expectations for care and learning
They also presented examples of addressing equity:
- Prepare all childcare professionals to meet the diverse and critical needs of young children:
- Require competency and training in dual language learning, trauma-informed practices, and special needs.
- Address racial disparities in compensation and career advancement:
- Rebuild the rate structure to address equity
- Make available professional learning supports that contribute to advancement in competency and compensation
- Include pathways for learning and career that are fully inclusive of all caregivers and educators
Carlise King, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Data Collaborative at Child Trends, then shared a presentation around equity and data and how to develop equity-focused, data-driven policies and practices. Ms. King shared that data use that is equity-focused must be guided by the following:
- Examine the backgrounds and biases of decision-makers
- Commit to digging deeper into the data
- Recognize that the data collection process itself impacts people and communities
- Ensure there is a balance of burden and benefit to communities
- Engage communities as partners in research and credit them for their contribution
- Guard against the implied or explicit assumption that white is the normative, standard, or default position
The WestEd team closed by sharing next steps for the MPELC, which include an early October release, engaging stakeholders to inform and implement, and adapting to current conditions and leverage opportunities.