By: Susan Tebben Access article The removal of the Step Up to Quality child care standards system as proposed in the Ohio Senate’s version of the budget was not only against the wishes of some child care leaders, but also came without any warning.
“It was calculated,” said Dawn Blalock, co-owner of the Little Miracles Early Development Center. “It was a motive and they did it in a way to blindside everyone.”
Blalock said she had talked with legislators about the new budget plan recently, and eliminating Step Up to Quality was “not on the table.”
Step Up to Quality is a quality rating system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which seeks to maintain program standards that lead to kindergarten readiness. They also incentivize child care facilities to keep up their standards in order to receive state support.
The standards include a minimum amount of time that lead teachers interact with children, the skills that teachers and employees have in the facilities and curriculum standards.
Participants in a virtual call hosted by early learning advocacy group Groundwork Ohio said removing these standards could lead to drastic reductions in child care quality and a lack of focus on the future workforce in the state.