Press Release

Report: Idaho among dwindling number of states choosing not to invest in preschool

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While most states enrolled more young children in public preschool, Idaho remains one of seven states opting not to fund early education programs, according to “The State of Preschool 2017” report issued Wednesday by the National Institute of Early Education Research.

“The State of Preschool” annual report is the only national report on state-funded preschool programs. This year’s report, based on 2016-17 academic year data, includes a special section on policies affecting Dual Language Learners, and highlights changes since 2002, when NIEER began tracking state pre-K.

“Recent changes in federal policy – including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – make it clear that progress in early education depends more than ever on the states,” said NIEER Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett. “Our report highlights which states invest best in their young children and which leave too many children behind. Idaho is one state leaving children behind.” 

Research shows early childhood education can help prepare all children for greater success in elementary school and beyond – but only if quality is high. Enrollment in state-funded preschool programs has more than doubled since 2002, with more than 1.5 million children now enrolled nationwide.

National highlights include:

  • 43 states, D.C. and Guam provide publicly funded preschool to more than 1.5 million children
  • 7 states, including Idaho, do not invest in preschool programs
  • 10 states enroll 50% or more of their 4-year-olds in public pre-K
  • States spent a total of $7.6 billion on pre-K in 2016-17, a 2% increase from the previous year (inflation-adjusted) while real state spending per child enrolled in pre-K decreased
  • Alabama, Michigan and Rhode Island are the only states meeting all 10 new quality standards benchmarks
  • Most states don’t know how many dual language learners are enrolled in pre-K and most do not require pre-K teachers to have any training specific to working with DLLs

“Most developed nations now offer universal preschool – even China has committed to pre-K for every 4-year-old by 2020,” Dr. Barnett said. “Meanwhile, the United States has made little progress … This is no way to compete globally now or in the future. Our first step back to leadership is quality preschool.”

Advocates gather in Capitol to push for state investment in early education

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On the heels of a new report showing widespread support among voters for state investment in preschool, advocates took to the Capitol Wednesday to illustrate the importance of high-quality early learning.

Young children from local early learning programs and parents with their children gathered in the Rotunda for BLOCK Fest®, an interactive exhibit developed in Idaho that demonstrates the importance of early learning through play. Rotating through stations featuring blocks of different sizes, children created patterns, built structures and told stories.

“Young children learn through play. They need hands-on experiences to develop the early math, literacy and social skills needed to excel later in life,” said Beth Oppenheimer, executive director of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children. “Block play is just one example of the kinds of active learning experiences that should be a part of every early learning program.”

Idaho voters and parents recognize that these kinds of experiences are crucial for a child’s brain development, according to a report released last month by the public opinion research firm Moore Information and Idaho AEYC. Moore Information conducted a total of 509 interviews for the survey – 406 among a representative sample of registered voters statewide in Idaho, plus an oversample of 103 parents of children age 5 or younger. Nearly seven in ten of the voters and parents surveyed believe the state of Idaho should be doing more to ensure that children begin kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need to do their best in school. Seventy-six percent of voters and 80% of parents said they support state investments in preschool.

“Idaho remains one of a handful of states that does not invest in preschool options for children 3 to 5 years old, and teachers statewide continue to see children entering kindergarten without the foundational skills they need to succeed,” Oppenheimer said. “We need quality, affordable, voluntary preschool options for Idaho families so that children can excel throughout school and throughout life.”

This is the fourth year that Idaho AEYC has hosted an Early Learning Legislative Day at the Capitol. The nonprofit was joined by Idaho Voices for Children, the Idaho Head Start Association, the Twiga Foundation, the Idaho Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Building Villages and the Idaho Commission for Libraries’ Read to Me program.

Advocates gather in Capitol to push for state investment in early education

IMG_0106.JPG

On the heels of a new report showing widespread support among voters for state investment in preschool, advocates took to the Capitol Wednesday to illustrate the importance of high-quality early learning.

Young children from local early learning programs and parents with their children gathered in the Rotunda for BLOCK Fest®, an interactive exhibit developed in Idaho that demonstrates the importance of early learning through play. Rotating through stations featuring blocks of different sizes, children created patterns, built structures and told stories.

“Young children learn through play. They need hands-on experiences to develop the early math, literacy and social skills needed to excel later in life,” said Beth Oppenheimer, executive director of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children. “Block play is just one example of the kinds of active learning experiences that should be a part of every early learning program.”

Idaho voters and parents recognize that these kinds of experiences are crucial for a child’s brain development, according to a report released last month by the public opinion research firm Moore Information and Idaho AEYC. Moore Information conducted a total of 509 interviews for the survey – 406 among a representative sample of registered voters statewide in Idaho, plus an oversample of 103 parents of children age 5 or younger. Nearly seven in ten of the voters and parents surveyed believe the state of Idaho should be doing more to ensure that children begin kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need to do their best in school. Seventy-six percent of voters and 80% of parents said they support state investments in preschool.

“Idaho remains one of a handful of states that does not invest in preschool options for children 3 to 5 years old, and teachers statewide continue to see children entering kindergarten without the foundational skills they need to succeed,” Oppenheimer said. “We need quality, affordable, voluntary preschool options for Idaho families so that children can excel throughout school and throughout life.”

This is the fourth year that Idaho AEYC has hosted an Early Learning Legislative Day at the Capitol. The nonprofit was joined by Idaho Voices for Children, the Idaho Head Start Association, the Twiga Foundation, the Idaho Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Building Villages and the Idaho Commission for Libraries’ Read to Me program.

Survey finds strong support for state investment in early childhood education

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Idaho voters and parents believe the early years of life are important in a child’s brain development and that the state should be doing more to support preschool opportunities, according to a survey conducted by the public opinion research firm Moore Information for the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children.

Among parents of children ages 0 to 5, just over a third (36%) surveyed have children currently attending preschool outside the home and 57% say they are planning to send their children to preschool. Importantly, three in four parents of children age 0 to 5 say they would be “very” (53%) or “somewhat” (23%) likely to utilize a public preschool opportunity for their 3- to 5-year-old child if it were offered in their community.

Only 22% of voters surveyed rate the quality of preschool opportunities in Idaho for children ages 3 to 5 years old as “excellent” or “above average,” while 32% say these opportunities are only “average” and 24% say they are “below average” or “poor.” Just a third of Idaho voters and parents of young children believe that “most” preschool programs are affordable for a majority of Idaho families (31% among voters, 33% among parents).

Roughly 80% of voters and parents agree there are three key benefits that result from early childhood education:

  • Access to quality, affordable preschool options for Idaho families enhances their children’s educational performance.
  • Supporting quality, affordable preschool options for Idaho families is important to building the economy through a qualified and educated workforce.
  • State funding for preschool programs results in direct returns for our state and communities – the more we invest in preschool-age children, the more they give back later in life.

Given this, it’s not surprising that nearly seven in ten voters and parents surveyed (69% of each group) believe the state of Idaho should be doing more to ensure that children begin kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need to do their best in school. Seventy-six percent of voters and 80% of parents support state investments in preschool. Further, that support is deep, in that a majority of parents and voters feel “strongly” in their support (53% of voters, 58% of parents). 

“It’s pretty clear from the research that early childhood education is important to Idaho voters and parents,” said Erik Iverson, President of Moore Information. “Idahoans believe that a quality preschool education is not only good for kids but also for the future of the state. And they want to see more done to make sure it’s accessible and affordable for Idaho families.”

Idaho is one of six states that does not invest in preschool options for families with children 3 to 5 years old. Idaho AEYC, Idaho Business for Education, Idaho Voices for Children, Head Start and other partners have joined in an effort to increase access to high-quality pre-K for all Idahoans.

"Experts know that the early years of a child's life are the most critical time for the developing brain,” said Idaho AEYC Executive Director Beth Oppenheimer. “Access to high-quality, affordable preschool options mean that our children are entering kindergarten more prepared to learn and excel. We wanted to find out what Idahoans’ feelings were on pre-K, and the results were astoundingly positive.”

Moore Information conducted a total of 509 interviews for the survey – 406 among a representative sample of registered voters statewide in Idaho, plus an oversample of 103 parents of children age 5 or younger. The live interviews were conducted April 27 to May 2, 2017, using both cell phone and landlines. The potential sampling error for the N=406 voter sample is +/-5% at the 95% confidence level and +/- 10% for the N=103 parent sample.

You're invited! Idaho AEYC and Moore Information to report on Idahoan opinions of state investment in preschool

What: The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, the public opinion research firm Moore Information and select early education advocates will present the results of a statewide poll and discuss interviews with Idaho voters, child care and preschool providers and parents of young children. The research provides insight into Idahoans’ views on state investment in preschool and the challenges many families face in their efforts to locate affordable, high-quality early learning programs.

Who: Beth Oppenheimer, Executive Director of Idaho AEYC
Erik Iverson, CEO of Moore Information

When: Wednesday, Jan. 10th, at 11 a.m.

Where: Idaho State Capitol, Room W-433
700 W. Jefferson St., Boise, ID 83702

Why: Idaho is one of six states that does not invest in preschool options for families with children 3 to 5 years old. Idaho AEYC, Idaho Business for Education, Idaho Voices for Children, Head Start and other partners have joined in an effort to increase access to high-quality pre-K for all Idahoans.

"Experts know that the early years of a child's life are the most critical time for the developing brain,” says Idaho AEYC Executive Director Beth Oppenheimer. “Access to high-quality, affordable preschool options mean that our children are entering kindergarten more prepared to learn and excel. We wanted to find out what Idahoans’ feelings were on pre-K, and the results were astoundingly positive.”

Note: A detailed press kit outlining the research will be available 5 minutes prior to the event. An open Q&A will occur after the presentation.

Contact: Martin Balben, Idaho AEYC Project Director
208-709-1921, mbalben@idahoaeyc.org

Report details burden of high child care costs

Idaho families frequently find themselves paying more in annual child care costs than they would for a year’s tuition at a state college, according to a new report by Child Care Aware of America. And in all regions of the United States, average fees for an infant in a child care center are more than the average amount that families spend on food and transportation combined.

The 2017 “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care” report, released this week, found that the average annual cost of child care for one Idaho infant can range from $6,500 for home-based care to nearly $7,400 for center-based care. And for two children – an infant and a 4-year-old, as an example – those costs can exceed $13,900 annually. As a point of comparison, the average year’s tuition at a state college is $6,800. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deems child care “affordable” at or below 7% of household income. In Idaho, married parents pay 10.7% of income for center-based infant care, and those costs jump to 33.1% of income for single parents. Married parents at the poverty line can see between 62% and 70% of their income going toward child care fees.

“A state preschool system could help alleviate some of the financial burden of child care for families, but Idaho does not offer state-funded preschool programs for 3- to 5-year-olds,” said Beth Oppenheimer, executive director for the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children. “We have a lot of work to do to ensure that every Idaho family has access to affordable, high-quality child care and early learning.”

Here are some additional findings from the 2017 report:

  • An estimated $28.9 billion in wages is lost annually by working families who do not have access to affordable child care and paid family and medical leave. 
  • Adjusted for inflation, U.S. businesses lose approximately $4.4 billion annually due to employee absenteeism as the result of child care breakdowns.
  • Families in the United States are overburdened by the high cost of child care. About 60 percent of funding for child care in the United States comes directly from parents. In comparison, families pay only about 23 percent of the cost of a public college education, with the remainder subsidized by state and federal funds.
  • Providers aren’t paid enough to cover the high costs of child care for their own kids. In every state plus the District of Columbia, the cost of center-based care for two children costs more than half of average child care provider income.
  • 65% of parents’ work schedules are affected by child care challenges an average of 7.5 times over a six-month period.

The nonprofit Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC) is dedicated to advancing Idaho’s early learning profession and advocating for children and families. The organization was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Boise, Idaho. Learn more at idahoaeyc.org.

Child Care Aware® of America is based in Arlington, Va. The organization’s mission is to advance a child care system that effectively serves all families; supports children’s growth, development and educational advancement; and creates positive economic impact for families and communities. Learn more at usa.childcareaware.org.

National Organization Provides Snapshots of Idaho Child Care Landscape

July 14, 2017 (Boise, ID) – Yesterday, Child Care Aware® of America released their 2017 State Fact Sheet outlining the use, supply, and cost of child care across all 50 states. The report finds Idaho has over 76,000 children, from birth to age 6, who are in need of child care across the state. These children come from households where both parents are in the work force or working single-parent families.

Charming Charlie Fundraiser

Charming Charlie is hosting a fundraiser for Idaho AEYC at The Village in Meridian!

For every item you purchase, whether it be jewelry, handbags or various accessories, Idaho AEYC will receive a portion of your purchase. If you haven’t found your statement necklace yet, that’s the place to go. If you find one you like, buy it in every color! The more you buy; the more we benefit.

Idaho CapEd Foundation Donates Books to Prevent Summer Learning Loss

The Idaho CapEd Foundation donated over 1,700 new books to the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC) to support their efforts to increase reading over the summer months. The donated books, for children birth to third grade, will be given out this spring to parents and child care centers serving low-income families in the Treasure Valley. 

Our Voices Matter

This Thursday, March 30, please raise yours by joining NAEYC, Child Care Aware of America, CLASP, NAFCC, NBCDI, NWLC, YWCA and ZERO TO THREE for a national call-in day for child care.

Every member of Congress has the opportunity to make funding requests during the appropriations process. There is an upcoming deadline for these requests, and while we're all working hard to demonstrate the need for overall discretionary funding levels that allow for sufficient investments in critical programs for children and families, we are also having a call-in day to focus specifically and especially on child care.

We hope you will join early childhood educators and advocates across the country in calling your Representatives on Thursday. You will ask them to ask the Appropriations Chairman to increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $1.4 billion in the FY 2018 appropriations bill.

Without this additional $1.4 billion, states will not be able to implement the important reforms contained in the CCDBG Act of 2014 while maintaining the current number of children served. Already, there has been a significant decline in the number of children served, with 373,100 fewer children receiving child care assistance in 2015 than in 2006. Congress needs to hear about the importance of funding a strong foundation for child care and early learning through CCDBG.         

Take Action!

Call 202-224-3121 for the Capitol Switchboard or find your representative here. Find the suggested script here.

And don't forget - if you need a boost to help you make that call, check out how to call your reps (when you have social anxiety) and learn why calling is better than emailing.  

Please join us on Thursday and make sure your elected official hears your voice, loud and clear! #powertotheprofession 

Early Learning Supporters Plan Event at the Capitol

February 6, 2017 (Boise, ID) - Efforts continue to gain support for investments in quality early learning programs for Idaho’s youngest children. Research is clear that children with access to high quality early learning programs enter school better prepared than children who do not have these opportunities. At Early Learning Legislative Day, on Wednesday, February 8th, supporters will bring attention to the importance of early learning through an interactive BLOCK Fest for Idaho kids in the Capitol Rotunda.

New Horizon Academy Receives National Accreditation

The New Horizon Academy’s Boise Avenue Center  has earned recognition for the highest level of quality through accreditation with National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC Accreditation represents the gold mark of quality in early childhood education and measures the early childhood program against 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria.

In an Era of Growing State-funded Pre-K, Idaho Has None

Many 3- and 4-year olds still lack access to high-quality preschool education despite modest gains in enrollment, quality, and funding, according to an annual report by the nonpartisan National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. While several states, including New York, made significant progress through a concerted effort to increase enrollment and funding and improve quality, progress is slow and uneven nationally and quality standards are particularly low in some of the nation’s largest states like California, Florida and Texas. Despite the relatively good news this year, the rate of progress is so slow that it will take 150 years for the nation to reach 75 percent enrollment in state pre-K even at age 4.