Groundwork Ohio continues to ensure that Ohio’s next governor understands the current state of Ohio’s early childhood programs and the importance of prioritizing investments in Ohio’s earliest learners (see the Gubernatorial Reference Manual we’ve shared with candidates for a thorough overview of these areas).
In addition to providing all candidates with current early childhood content, we are also meeting with any interested candidates as they work on their platforms. Just Monday, we had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable with gubernatorial candidate Rich Cordray, which was focused on Ohio early childhood education. Groundwork, along with one of our Co-Chairs, Robyn Lightcap with Dayton-Montgomery County Preschool Promise, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, early childhood providers, school administrators, and parents, outlined the importance of providing working families with high-quality child care, high-quality preschool, and voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs.
Throughout this conversation, a common theme was the need to improve access to quality child care programs across the state. Ohio law mandates that 100% of programs must be rated (1-5 stars) by 2020 and 100% of programs must be highly-rated (3-5 stars) in our quality rating system, Step Up to Quality (SUTQ), in order to receive publicly funded childcare dollars. Despite this mandate, Ohio has made slow progress in getting children access to quality early childhood programs. According to a January 2018 briefing from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, only 20% of programs are highly rated and only 29% of programs are even rated at all.
Unless Ohio’s next governor prioritizes increased investments in quality early childhood programs, we will not be able to lay the foundation for the economic success of our most at-risk kids and our state as a whole. As the gubernatorial campaign progresses, Groundwork looks forward to elevating this issue as well as issues surrounding early childhood health care with the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association through the Vote for Ohio Kids Campaign. If you’re interested in joining the coalition, sponsoring our effort, or learning more, visit our website—and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Groundwork's Breakfast Briefings for Business Leaders
Once again, thank you to everyone who made our Breakfast Briefings for Business Leaders a huge success! If you’re interested in reading Dr. Katharine Stevens’ report or referencing her presentation, you can access both resources here.