Children race during the Smart Start rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, May 23, 2006. Source: AP/Karen Tam
Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–November 18, 2016. A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress outlines ways that governors can exercise their executive authority in order to improve early learning opportunities, with a focus on setting a vision for early learning by utilizing executive orders and directing state agencies to ensure programs are administered efficiently; inclusive of all children; and take maximum advantage of all available funding streams. Governors can also lead the charge to increase funding for early childhood programs and work with their legislature to prioritize state investments in young children.
“As executives, governors have a broad array of tools and strategies at their disposal to elevate any number of issues. Given the importance of early learning to children, families, and the economy, it is critical that governors use their bully pulpit to demonstrate a commitment to these issues,” said Simon Workman, Associate Director of Early Childhood Policy at CAP.
The issue brief focuses on 17 ways that governors can use nonlegislative actions to support early learning programs and opportunities. These actions do not necessarily fall under the category of executive orders but include a variety of ways to leverage the power and flexibility of the executive office and state agencies to elevate early learning. Ways to improve early learning opportunities and programs include:
- Create a state vision for early learning by developing a statewide strategic plan. Such a plan can be developed by commissioning an assessment of a state’s early learning needs based on existing strengths and challenges.
- Convene groups to prioritize early learning by establishing task forces, forming a children’s cabinet, and appointing a business advisory committee.
- Raise public awareness of the importance of early learning by leading a campaign on the need to support early learning and promote the importance of quality.
- Create a governing structure that supports early learning by creating an office of early learning, encouraging interagency coordination, and appointing an early learning adviser to the administration’s staff.
- Identify gaps between revenue and expenses for high-quality early learning programs by conducting a cost of quality study, aligning financial incentives with the actual cost of quality, and including increased funding for early childhood in the state budget.
- Maximize federal funding opportunities for early learning programs by using Medicaid financing for home visiting and initiating applications for federal funding competitions.
- Use data more effectively by requiring interagency data collaboration and utilizing data to map needs and tailor services. Developing a centralized intake system is also part of this strategy.
- Link providers to state early learning systems by requiring all licensed providers to participate in the state quality rating and improvement system, or QRIS, and maximizing the effectiveness of workforce registries.
Click here to read “Taking Action on Early Learning: 17 Executive Actions for Governors” by Jessica Troe and Simon Workman.
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