Ohioans Urge Senate to Restore Step Up to Quality
Eliminating Step Up to Quality Will Devastate Ohio’s Child Care System
COLUMBUS, OH -- On the heels of the Ohio Senate’s proposal to eliminate Step Up to Quality – Ohio’s 5-star Quality Rating and Improvement System – in the state biennial budget, Ohio business leaders, early childhood professionals, philanthropic leaders, parents, and others joined Groundwork Ohio on Friday for a press conference to speak out against the Senate’s proposal.
During the press conference, speakers discussed how eliminating Step Up to Quality would deal a devastating blow to Ohio’s child care system, as well as why businesses, early childhood educators, philanthropies, and parents support the Step Up to Quality initiative.
Business leaders discussed why investment in quality child care is critical to Ohio’s workforce, supporting not just the workforce of today but also the workforce of tomorrow.
“Child care is a two-generation workforce issue,” said Kevin McDonnell, CEO of Skyline Chili. “Just as I want our customers to see us at our best, our state needs to focus on the highest quality of care for the dollars it invests. This means you don’t cut corners – you invest to get results.”
“As an employer, our team members cannot and will not come to work if they do not have safe, quality child care for their children,” said Jane Grote Abell, Chairwoman of the Board of Donatos Pizza. “Every one of our team members’ success at work greatly depends on the well-being of their children.”
Speakers also explained how the Senate’s proposal to end Step Up to Quality betrays communities, philanthropies, and businesses that have invested millions of dollars to make sure Ohio’s young children have access to the high-quality early learning they deserve.
“Ohio’s local communities – our business leaders, our local governments, our local philanthropies – have invested millions of dollars over the last ten years to help providers earn higher star ratings,” said Robyn Lightcap, Executive Director of Preschool Promise, Inc. in Montgomery County. “While this local investment is impressive and critical, it is not enough. We cannot do it without the state’s help, especially in our rural communities.”
“Investing now in high-quality early learning builds our future workforce and in the long-term it boosts the local economy,” said Joy Bivens, Deputy County Administrator for Franklin County. “We surveyed Franklin County residents about Step Up to Quality and the importance of early learning for several years and the response has been resounding. They believe every child should have access to high-quality early learning and pre-school.”
Early childhood professionals – including child care providers and pediatricians – have voiced their support for Ohio’s Step Up to Quality Initiative, emphasizing the importance of quality early learning for young children’s physical, emotional, and behavioral development.
“Quality makes a difference. Quality makes children better, ready to learn. Quality makes children ready for kindergarten,” said Dr. Judy Romano, pediatrician and past president of the Ohio Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics. “Why is it important for children to be ready in kindergarten? Because that sets the tone…for a lifetime.”
“Step Up to Quality is crucial to Ohio’s providers, workforce, and children for many reasons,” said Dawn Blalock, Program Manager at Little Miracles Early Development Center in Columbus. “We provide evidence-based curriculum set up by Step Up to Quality, and it introduces new experiences to the children which helps with their social and emotional development.”
Two independent studies have validated the success of Ohio’s Step Up to Quality, affirming that star-rated programs better prepare young children for kindergarten. Additionally, a new study by the University of Cincinnati Economics Center and commissioned by Groundwork Ohio proves the tremendous value of quality child care and the significant return on public investment. The Economics Center study finds that public investment in quality child care generates a 10% return on public investment annually through numerous health, economic, and educational benefits and cost-savings to Ohio taxpayers.
Here what others are saying about the importance of Step Up to Quality:
Groundwork Ohio is a committed, nonpartisan public-policy research and advocacy organization formed in 2004 that champions high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five, that lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids, families and communities. Learn more about Groundwork Ohio at groundworkohio.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.