Roundtable: State Advisory Councils On Early Childhood Education and Care: The Vision and the Reality
(Child Policy)

Friday, November 9, 2012: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Hanover B (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Deanna Schexnayder, LBJ School/ Univ of Texas
Speakers:  Linda K. Smith, US Department of Health and Human Services, Deanna Schexnayder, LBJ School/ Univ of Texas, Bobbie Weber, Oregon State University and Lee Kreader, NCCP/ Columbia University
Moderators:  Albert Wat, National Governors Association

The 2007 Head Start Reauthorization Act directed states to create advisory councils on early childhood education and care. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included implementation funding and HHS Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awarded $100 million to the states to establish advisory councils. The overall responsibility of the state councils is to develop or enhance a high-quality, comprehensive system of early childhood development and care across the wide range of early childhood programs and services present in each state, including child care, Head Start, IDEA, and pre-kindergarten. States make the critical decisions with general guidance from the law. Roundtable participants will discuss both the national vision for these councils and the variety of approaches states have taken. They will ground the conversation by discussing the fall 2012 ACF report on state advisory councils and sharing three very different state processes and experiences. Oregon first created a Council by governor’s executive. A new governor expanded the vision for the Council and the state legislature put it in statute as a policy-making tool to prepare all children for kindergarten. Council staff report directly to the Governor. The Texas grant, administered several levels removed from political center of the state, is funding the state’s most comprehensive needs assessment of early childhood education in over 40 years. The Texas Council also contracted for development of an integrated data system without first establishing governance for such a system, then later cancelled the contract and recommended that governance be addressed in the next legislative session. Created by executive order, New York’s Early Childhood Advisory Council’s comprehensive scope embraces early education and care, human services, social-emotional development, and health care supports and services. It is housed within the state’s statutory Council on Children and Families, long established to facilitate inter-departmental coordination of health, education and human services. We are roughly at the mid-point of these grants, which is an opportune time to reflect on what we are learning from this investment. Based on the choices that states have made to-date, what are the prospects for these grants to advance the cause of high-quality integrated early care and education policies and programs? Discussion topics will include involvement of state legislatures, goals adopted, types of activities undertaken, and involvement of various stakeholders. Participants will explore the advantages and disadvantages of different types of governance structures and the extent to which state council efforts are sustainable over time. Roundtable participants are well-positioned to discuss this topic from various viewpoints. Linda Smith is the ACF Deputy Assistant Secretary whose office administers these grants and serves as the focal point for early childhood policy at the federal level. Kreader (NY) and Weber (OR) serve on their states’ early learning councils while Schexnayder is principal investigator of the Texas needs assessment, a required grant component. All three are long-time members of the HHS Child Care Policy Research Consortium. Albert Wat of the National Governor’s Association has closely monitored state activities and will moderate the roundtable.

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