Last week, early childhood education stakeholders and Groundwork partners convened at the Statehouse to give testimony before the Senate Education Committee concerning proposed Senate Bill 216- Public School Deregulation Act in an effort to protect the Ohio's statewide Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) from being eliminated. Groundwork Ohio joined over eight independent stakeholders testifying this week in support of preserving, and even improving, the existing statewide KRA. Stakeholders included Kindergarten teachers, statewide and local early childhood education advocates and private philanthropy.
It was clear that advocates from across the state are opposed to language in SB 216 that undermines the state's ability to asses all of our youngest learners and measure the success of Ohio's early childhood system. In Groundwork's testimony, Executive Director Shannon Jones said, "It is no coincidence that only 40% of Ohio Kindergartners come to the classroom ready to learn and only 43% of Ohio adults have a postsecondary degree or credential that they need for the jobs that will be available. This gap cannot be closed unless we understand and respond to it when it first emerges, which is before Kindergarten."
Groundwork asked the committee to "invest in our future workforce by preserving the statewide Kindergarten assessment that allows us to measure our progress before, during and after Kindergarten so that we can close this attainment gap. The KRA is one of the most critical measures we have to ensure our state’s economic future." All testimony from the December 6th hearing can be viewed here.
The Health Policy Institute of Ohio released a new report, Social Determinants of Infant Mortality: A new approach to reduce infant mortality and achieve equity: Policy recommendations to improve housing, transportation,education and employment.
Review the Report, Executive Summary, and Snapshot, by clicking the image above. The report was created with the support of an advisory group of which Groundwork Ohio participated. The report recognizes that access to healthcare is necessary, but not sufficient to responding to Ohio's infant mortality challenge. To hear Groundwork Ohio's response to the release of the report, listen to an interview with Executive Director, Shannon Jones here.