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Call to Action by the Children's Advocacy Alliance

Message from the Children's Advocacy Alliance - March 24, 2013

Dear Children’s Advocacy Alliance Supporters and Advocates,

As you are aware, the CAA has been closely watching a few bills being presented to the Legislature this Session.  One of those that we are monitoring is Assembly Bill 109 (AB109).  AB109 enhances policies for professional development and certification of Early Childhood professionals.

They need your help!

A wealth of research supports that when children’s needs are met during the critical years of development, the benefits are lifelong.  Nearly 80% of the physical growth of the brain occurs in the first 5 years of life.  We know that providing children with the right start will lead to less intervention and remediation in later grades, ultimately resulting in increased rates of graduation and success in adulthood.  There are nearly 236,000 children ages 0-5 in the state of Nevada – more than half (about 61%) of these children have all parents in the labor force.  A recent study commissioned by the Nevada Early Childhood Advisory Council, Assessment of Center-based Quality 2011-12, found that only one quarter of the infant-toddler classrooms assessed across the state were rated as having reached minimal quality.  Only 4.69% of all licensed child care programs (9% of centers and 1% of family child care) in Nevada are accredited by a national accrediting organization.  According to the Children’s Cabinet 2009 Child Care Demographics Report: “Only 10.63% of the licensed child care workforce [in Nevada] has an associate’s degree in ECE or higher.  The vast majority of child care providers have a high school diploma (67.11%) and less than 30% of the workforce has an associate’s degree or higher, regardless of the field of study.”

A high quality system of early childhood care and education relies on a highly qualified workforce.  Nevada has some of the lowest standards and qualifications for early childhood professionals in the country.  Enhancing qualifications and training requirements, beginning with Directors, will assist in improving the quality of programs that are aimed at ensuring that our children enter school ready to learn.  A recent evaluation of Nevada’s State Pre-K program found that “the positive short-term results of the Nevada ECE program can, in part, be attributed to the fact that Nevada state law requires pre-Kindergarten teachers to be highly qualified… teacher effectiveness is among the most important factors in determining program impact.” 

The recommendations in AB109 are aimed at improving the quality of early childhood education programs in Nevada by enhancing the qualifications and training of providers in the field.  This is one of several efforts targeted to improve the overall system of early childhood education in our state.

Testimony provided by Denise Tanata Ashby, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, addresses concerns expressed by providers in rural communities regarding access to training as well as costs and resources currently available for early childhood professionals.  To read her testimony, please click here.  You may also find a summary of the current language and proposed changes to AB109 by clicking here.

Here’s how you can help:  We’re asking you to call, share your opinion, and/or write a letter to your legislators letting them know how important quality early childhood education is to you and your family.  Having access to high quality early childhood education centers provides many benefits including ensuring our children enter Kindergarten ready to learn. 

We have until Friday, March 29 to send the message to the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services that many parents, caregivers, and providers support the proposed changes to Director Qualifications and ongoing training requirements.  Will you join us?  And if you are interested in offering support on any other issues, please contact us at info@caanv.org.

Sincerely,
Children’s Advocacy Alliance

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