High-quality childcare can play a significant role in children’s learning and skills development, building a strong foundation for a lifetime of positive outcomes. Regrettably, Tennessee’s approach to public investment in child care does not promote the program quality needed to maximize young children’s potential to learn and grow. In addition to quality problems, accessibility is a pressing issue for Tennessee families.
Economic stability and mobility depends on the ability to work, and many parents find themselves faced with limited options related to quality, affordable childcare, leaving them to make difficult decisions about substandard care or no care at all. For impoverished and middle-income families alike, quality options are severely limited. Failing quality and accessibility, coupled with the fact that Tennessee invests more than $200 million in childcare annually, there is a clear and urgent need to overhaul the way Tennessee delivers and invests in childcare.
Did you know?
85% of Tennesseans favor requiring the stats subsidized childcare vouchers to be used only for childcare providers that meet quality standards; while at the same time 80% favor increasing the dollar amount for the vouchers so they can pay for well-qualified teachers.
Our priorities for improving childcare quality and accessibility are that Tennessee will:
- Revise the current child care quality rating and reimbursement system to reward program and teaching quality, aligned to Tennessee’s Early Learning Developmental Standards;
- Expand training and quality professional development options for childcare providers to ensure teachers have the knowledge and skills needed to effectively teach young children;
- Revise eligibility requirements to expand Tennessee families’ access to high quality childcare, enabling more parents to work and more children to become kindergarten ready.