P-20 Charts Path Forward; Signs onto RTTT-ELC

October 7th, 2011

Category: Early Childhood Education

Yesterday, the Delaware P-20 Council met for the first time since the membership was expanded and authority was clarified by legislation, focusing on the need to enact cross-agency data sharing regulations that meet our Race to the Top promises. With support from USED’s longitudinal data experts, they now will be drafting regulations for data governance, including data warehouse structure, mechanisms for sharing data, and privacy and security issues.

Their focus is on transitions, both from birth to third grade, where reading on grade level is a highly-predictive indicator of future success, and from K-12 to secondary education and careers. The meeting focused on the former, due to focus on developing a plan for the October 19 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge deadlines.

The Secretaries of the Education, Health and Social Services, and Kids’ Departments emphasized the Governor’s commitment to early childhood and the benefits of the cross-agency plan even if Delaware does not win. We believe we have a strong chance, but it is a competitive field, especially among states that are farther along in kindergarten readiness—such as Maryland and Washington—and quality rating systems—such as Oklahoma and North Carolina.

Delaware’s application will focus on:

  • Highlighting the great work already underway through the state, in particular through the $22M investment, which increases purchase of care subsidy rates, provides tiered rates based on quality, and merit grants to support providers as they improve quality indicators;
  • Expanding our Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS, or Delaware STARS) among providers – building awareness and demand among parents for high quality program;
  • Establishing a process for assessing and supporting kindergarten readiness, which will require alignment between our K-12 and early-childhood systems and build off our work underway through Race to the Top; and
  • Focusing on the whole child, including their social/emotional development, such as Help Me Grow.

Delaware’s focus on increasing the quantity and quality of early-learning opportunities—especially for high-need children— will have implications across the board, including for higher education institutions, who can benefit from partnership opportunities, establish ongoing professional development and career paths, and develop pathways for different types of students (working adults, those in degree and non-degree coursework).  And the P-20 Council joins numerous other stakeholders signing letters of support for Delaware’s application, which we are all hoping will be selected as a winner in December.

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Madeleine Bayard




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