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Early Childhood Learning Centers and Public Funding Essay

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Updated: Jun 21st, 2021

Describe each of the following public funding sources and their intended purpose. Responses should be a least 1 paragraph in length for each funding source.

Head Start

Head Start can be defined as a program used by the Department of Health and Human Services in the US for the provision of quality early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services for children in low-income families. The program aims to help at-risk children by giving them equal opportunities as other better-placed children (Wallen & Hubbard, 2013). The program takes into account the difficulties and the unique opportunities the children find themselves in, as presented by their environments. The intended purpose of the Head Start program is to develop strong and stable familial relationships and at the same time, also build a child’s physical and emotional structure. It is expected that by doing all the stated, the child will be in a better position to develop desired cognitive skills. Just as the name suggests, therefore, the Head Start program gives vulnerable children a head start in life, despite their situation.

Child Care Subsidies

Defined as deductions and discounts given on services provided to children from low income working families (Barnett & Hustedt, 2011), child care subsidies have been identified as one of the government initiatives that do not go hand in hand with their purpose. The fact that education is not considered a top priority when the child care subsidiaries are meant for pre-school education, shows the misalignment between purpose and definition. Barnett and Hustedt (2011) state that the funding is only viable in families that earn 85% of the median income in the state they reside. However, other provisions within the funding mandate allow for funding for families that are defined as “needy” by the state.

Child Care Tax Credits

Child Care Tax credits are divided into two programs, the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) (Barnett & Hustedt, 2011). According to the Citizen’s Budget Commission of New York (2013), even though state budgets have been increased to facilitate the different needs in education, there are very few reforms that support such an action. Some of the reforms that are suggested are based on tax credits. As Roach (2009) explains, tax-deductible gifts given to public schools have been used as a method of lowering the number of money students are required to pay as fees to the school. Despite the challenges that have been experienced in the implementation of child care tax credits, the funding’s main purpose is to lower the amount of money a child is required to pay in school to get a quality education.

Title 1

Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, simply referred to as Title 1, targets disadvantaged children in an attempt to help them get quality early childhood education (Barnett & Hustedt, 2011; US Department of Education, 2014). According to the US Department of Education (2014), Title 1’s purpose is to not leave any child behind in regards to the attainment of quality education. Barnett and Hustedt (2011) explain that the Act made it possible for districts that desired to incorporate preschool education to have the policies needed to look for funds to support vulnerable children in the said programs. Additionally, Barnett and Hustedt (2011) reveal that a requirement that limits such funding is the 40% cap. The cap denotes that districts looking for funding for pre-K have to have at least 40% of their children population defined as poor.

Early Childhood Special Education (IDEA)

Unlike the discussed funding options, the IDEA only focuses on providing funding options for vulnerable children with disabilities (Barnett & Hustedt, 2011). Currently, all states adhere to the policies upheld by IDEA and provide free education to children who are physically disabled. It is crucial to note that even though the funds are directly targeting children with disabilities, it does not bar them from getting other funds. Barnett and Hustedt (2011) explain that idea is divided into two main parts. The first part, referred to as Part B, offers guidelines for funding for physically challenges children who are between ages 3 and 5. The second part, referred to as Part C, gives guidelines for funding of infants and toddlers with developmental delays who are less than three years old (Barnett & Hustedt, 2011).

State-Funded Pre-Kindergarten

Barnett and Hustedt (2011) explain that state-funded pre-kindergarten funds are provided by the state government. According to Noble (2013), there are currently 39 states that offer to fund pre-K. There are several ways in which the state achieves its mandate in the said capacity. First, the state is responsible for developing policies that allow the growth of other forms of funding platforms. Secondly, the state itself gives some amounts to public schools to support vulnerable children. Apart from the public schools, states also provide policies and guidelines for private schools by stating and adhering to national policies on quality of education. Barnett and Hustedt (2011) argue that different states have, however, given different levels of education support. The same can be said of the different ages of children that are enrolled in such problems.

Read the descriptions of the two early childhood learning centers below. Both Checkers and Smart Start will be seeking funding from one of several sources: Head Start, child care tax credits, Title I, or early childhood special education (IDEA). Determine which funding sources are most appropriate for each center and explain why.

Checkers Early Childhood Learning Center

Checkers Early Childhood Learning Center is a comprehensive program providing a full range of services to children ages 6 weeks to 5 years and their families. There are several locations throughout Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Checkers also provides a full range of educational, social, and health services to children and families who are low income. Services for adults and families are available through family medicine and mental health. Licensed professionals provide comprehensive evaluation, early intervention, and therapeutic services.

Smart Start Early Childhood Learning Center

Smart Start Early Childhood Learning Center provides a secure, nurturing, and stimulating preschool environment that helps children to understand themselves as individuals as well as members of a community. We believe that a good early-school experience can set the tone for a lifetime of learning. Through daily lessons, community involvement, and self-exploration, we strive to spark and encourage creativity and imagination in each child. Our preschool programs strive to establish comfortable environments for each child to reach new developmental milestones. Services for the community are provided at no out-of-pocket cost to families who meet income guidelines.

Checkers Early Childhood Learning Center should seek funds from Head Start. The main reason why Head Start is suggested is the fact that it is the only source that also incorporates health and nutrition (Barnett & Hustedt, 2011). It can be argued that the nutritional aspect tied to Head Start is essential for the target audience described.

It does not make sense to take a hungry child to school. The child will not be able to concentrate despite the quality of education offered. Therefore, the Checkers Early Childhood Learning Center targets very vulnerable children in low-income families. Head Start is also suggested as it also takes into consideration the social needs of the child.

From the given brief of Checkers Early Childhood Learning Center, one of their core activities is providing social support to their children. Nutritional status goes hand in hand with health indicators, and these are also considered in Head Start funding. To top it all off, the program includes children from 6 weeks through to 5 years. The said category fits within the provisions of Head Start.

On the other hand, Smart Start Early Childhood Learning Center can use both Early Childhood Special Education (IDEA) and Child Care Tax Credits. One of the reasons why this is suggested is the fact that no age limit has been given in the brief on Smart Start Early Childhood Learning Center. Secondly, the brief suggests that the children targeted have special needs in regards to developmental milestone achievements. The Center can also use Child Care Tax Credits to lower the amount of money required as tuition fees. Both suggested sources also support the age of the children targeted.

In addition to public funding, both Checkers Early Learning Center and Smart Start Early Learning Center have decided to pursue funding from private sources. Research private funding sources that would be applicable for each of the centers. Choose one source for each center and explain why the center is a good candidate for receiving this funding. Explain the process for obtaining the private funding sources you identified.

Tomlin (2008) explains that appropriate grant writing can be used to source for private donors to fund educational activities. One way of acquiring private funding is through corporates. Tomlin (2008) identifies corporate funding as key in ensuring that families that do not qualify for public pre-K programs also get a chance to offer quality education to their children at affordable rates.

The second way of sourcing for private funding is through private foundations. Just like corporates, private foundations normally request well-constructed proposals. It is important to note that many of the foundations that offer different kinds of funding for pre-K have their methodology for identifying the schools to support. Therefore, both centers have to make sure they qualify for any foundation they apply to, to raise their chances of acquiring funding.

Checkers Early Learning Center would benefit more from applying to a foundation as opposed to a corporate. The main reason why this is suggested is that corporates are more flexible and can adopt the agenda of the center in their own CSR. Thereby, the center has higher chances of getting funded.

On the same note, the corporates have the power to decide which one of the different elements of focus they want to fund. In the same breath, due to the numerous areas of focus that the center has, it would be easier to get different corporates supporting each area, as opposed to getting different foundations supporting each of the said areas.

Smart Start Early Learning Center can use funding from foundations to their advantage. One reason why the foundations are the best fit to help the center is their involvement with children who have developmental milestone challenges. There are currently many foundations that seek to help children with such challenges attain the highest quality of education. The clear definition of the target audience also makes it easier to get one foundation that supports all fundraising elements required.

Overall, both the Early Learning Center and Smart Start Early Learning Center can seek financial support from the two stated sources. However, the strengths of each source, and the purpose and target of each center, have been put into consideration to come up with the arguments presented.

Explain the challenges New York is experiencing in funding universal pre-kindergarten

According to the Citizen’s Budget Commission of New York (2013), one of the challenges New York is facing regarding funding universal pre-K is the lack of reforms to support the implementation and utilization of the funds that are given. Another challenge that can be identified is the double taxation of health activities, which affects the quality of Head Start that is given to the pre-K.

Describe at least three potential funding sources for Universal Pre-K described in the Citizens Budget Commission report

One potential funding source for Universal pre-K is the Foundation Aid, which is provided by the state and offers financial support to public school districts. Therefore, it only targets districts that have public schools. The funding can be turned universal as all districts have public schools. A second potential funding source is the state school district grant where a selection of criteria will be based on school wealth, degree of need, number of children to be served, and quality of the proposal (Citizen’s Budget Commission of New York, 2013).

The Citizen’s Budget Commission of New York (2013) also identifies the influence of local, national, and state actors in ensuring universal pre-K. The report states that all the named actors can help achieve universal pre-K by creating policies that are in sync, and support the development and management of funding for pre-K.

How might policies like universal pre-kindergarten impact funding for early childhood centers and the children and families they serve?

Funding such as the Universal pre-kindergarten will influence funding for early childhood centers and the children and families they serve positively. One way it will do so is through standardizing help given to children, across all states, thus, taking in more children. Secondly, universal funding will make it easier for states to have a similar quality of education as they will adhere to similar payment requirements.

References

Barnett, W., & Hustedt, J. (2011). Improving public financing for early learning programs. NIEER, 23, 1-29.

Citizen’s Budget Commission of New York. (2013). The challenge of making universal pre-kindergarten a reality in New York State. Citizen’s Budget Commission, 1-27.

Noble, J. (2013). Early education funding: Federal, states, and private resources [Blog Post]. Web.

Roach, H. A. (2009). Fundraising basics for private school facilities. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

Tomlin, R. C. (2008). Grant writing 101. Web.

US Department of Education (2014). Increasing access to high quality early childhood education. Web.

Wallen, M., & Hubbard, A. (2013). Blending and braiding early childhood funding streams toolkit. Ounce of Prevention, 2, 3-26.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Early Childhood Learning Centers and Public Funding." June 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/early-childhood-learning-centers-and-public-funding/.

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