ORGANIZATION SIGN ON OPPORTUNITY
Business Community Priorities for Early Education
The establishment of universal preschool through Proposition EE is a historic opportunity to invest in early education in Colorado, expand preschool access to all children, and rebuild the early education system. With careful consideration and dedication, we can go beyond simply adding another funding stream to an already-complex and fractured landscape, and instead create a more rational and child-centered system with the new universal preschool program as its foundational element.
Early education in Colorado should:
- Meet the needs of as many families as possible and prioritize access for those furthest from opportunity. In other states with universal preschool, programs serve up to 87% of the state need. We want to be better.
- Build a great workforce for the future and help Colorado employers retain employees and related productivity.
- Prioritize transparency for revenue collected, and invest and adapt through implementation with limited bureaucratic hurdles.
Children and Families: Ensuring Access for All students
Support Colorado’s future workforce and economic development by ensuring all children have access to quality preschool experiences.
- To realize the promise of preschool and ensure all children can reach their highest educational and career aspirations, quality investments must be made into programs providing preschool in all parts of the state and in communities furthest from opportunity to achieve access to high quality early learning experiences.
Empower family choice and individualize funding to meet unique child needs and streamline with other community investments.
- Two-thirds of Colorado families with children under age six have all adults in the workforce, and families should be able to choose the preschool program that works best for their child and their schedules. This requires structuring the funding model so financial supports can be layered and follow the child to the state-licensed preschool of their choice, regardless of geography, school type, or program design.
Ensure all children have access to preschool and prioritize those with the greatest need.
- Preschool is one of the most effective ways to reduce disparities in academic achievement and ensure children of all backgrounds succeed in school and life. To realize the promise of preschool as a tool for equity, the program should be structured to provide the greatest resources to children and families who lack sufficient access to economic and community resources.
Preschool Providers: Ensuring Access for All Licensed Providers
Ensure participation and public funding is equally accessible to all licensed preschool providers.
- All state-licensed preschool providers (over 3,400) should be eligible and encouraged to participate equally in state-funded programs, including those operated by public school districts, public charter schools, independent schools, for profit and nonprofit community-based child care centers, and for profit and nonprofit child care home providers.
Address long-term capacity needs and reduce barriers to entry for individuals seeking opportunities to open child care and preschool programs.
- Colorado needs to increase preschool capacity for nearly 7,000 additional 4-year-old children. As a matter of economic development and creating equal opportunity for all, infrastructure investments and resources to support the creation and expansion of child care and preschool businesses should be made available with a priority placed on communities with limited to no preschool access, women, and communities of color.
Design and Implementation: Ensuring Agility, Innovation, Efficiency, and Transparency
Design processes and systems with simplicity, efficiency, and ease of use for families and preschool providers.
- Universal preschool should be part of a coordinated model with a single access point and a universal application for families, which is designed with Colorado children, families, and preschool providers at the center and with the greatest value placed on easy navigation, customer service, and access.
Implement program administration with agility, innovation, and transparency.
- The universal preschool program should be implemented in a way that allows for iterative and rapid adaptation in response to external conditions.
- Information on the universal preschool program finances and results should be open for review by taxpayers and policymakers to assess return on investment.
- Bureaucratic processes and program administration expenses should be limited to maximize the value to children, families, and preschool providers.
Please join us in expressing support for these Business Community Priorities for Early Education. Fill out the form below to be added to the list of supporting organizations.
* Legislative Update *
House Bill 1304: Early Childhood Systems (Reps. Sirota and Garnett and Sens. Fenberg and Buckner) seeks to create a new state agency – the Colorado Department of Early Childhood – and directs the Governor’s Office to work with existing state agencies, stakeholders, and expert consultants to develop recommendations for the scope and structure of this new agency and the operations and focus of a new, statewide, voluntary preschool program that will begin operating in 2023-24. Click here to see how this proposed legislation aligns with the Business Community Priorities for Early Education.