JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EARLY EDUCATION AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
REASONS FOR BILL:
To bring together a variety of state programs concerning early childhood education to form one cohesive department with the goal of providing the means to lessen the learning achievement gap within the state for children ages birth to 8 years.
Substitute Language is lengthy and is on file in the Education Committee
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
The Connecticut Commission on Children testified in support of the bill. They believe that by putting everything under one roof, the bill offers clear direction with a focus on systems change including family centered services, cultural relevance, research-based practices, the integration of early childhood education and special education services, use of performance measures, and non-duplication of monitoring and evaluation.
The Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement testified in support of the bill. They are confident that the bill will bring efficiency and will allow for both quality control and a quality ratings system that will be beneficial to students, their parents and the state.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
The CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) supports the intent of the bill with reservations. Please see below.
Patrice Peterson, President SEIU Local 2001 testified in support of the bill. She stated that the state needs one comprehensive and coordinated system of early care and education to make sure that all children in CT have the same opportunities to develop their potential and succeed in school and life.
The CT Association for the Education of Young Children supports the bill. They stated that the bill is critical to ensuring that children in this state are successful. The development of an integrated, efficient early care and education system is vital to both the short- and long-term success of the state's children, families, and economy.
David Nee, Executive Director of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund testified in support of the bill. He stated that The Graustein Fund has worked with the CT communities and other partners to improve outcomes for young children since 1994. Their experience expands the definition of an early childhood infrastructure to include other capacities such as: local decision-making structures, parent engagement, results-based community plans, integration of state and local efforts, and measurement of progress. CT needs an early childhood system to address educational disparities and ensure quality services that support early childhood development for every child.
Annemarie Hillman, from CT Voices for Children testified in support of the bill. She stated that investment in early care and education provides a multitude of benefits to our children, working families, and the state. State-subsidized child care and education allows parents to keep working, while assuring them that their children are receiving safe and beneficial care.
Ann Pratt, Executive Director of CT Early Childhood Alliance testified in support of the bill. She stated that the bill is a gigantic step in maximizing and advancing the state's investments in early care and education. The state's current disorganized approach fails to assure quality standards for thousands of children in early care and education settings. Families and providers frequently must interact with an erratic system of services with multiple agencies. The bill provides the state with a badly needed solution to fix the broken system.
Louis Bach from CBIA testified in support of the bill. He stated that the proposed DEECD is central to establishing effective state leadership in the drive to reform our schools. It is important for the different components currently delivering services to our children to build a relationship of trust, respect, and understanding during this process.
Sherry Linton-Massiah, from the CT Association for Human Services (CAHS) testified that CAHS strongly supports the intent of the bill to foster increased consolidation, streamlining, partnerships and authority to the early care and education delivery system through the establishment of DEECD.
Merrill Gay, Executive Director of the New Britain Early Childhood Collaborative testified in support of the bill. Current programs often operate in isolation, fragmented because they are administered by several different agencies, with different data collection requirements, reporting and methods of payment. There is little or no coordination or collaboration between programs. A DEECD would position CT to coordinate early childhood efforts, and reduce redundancies created when multiple agencies are collecting and analyzing similar data and reports. The DEECD would focus solely on meeting the needs of our youngest children.
Cathy Sarri, Deputy Director of the Public Services Division of SEIU testified in support of Sec. 36 of the bill. She stated that the bill establishes the rights of family child care providers in the state who participate in the Care4Kids Program to negotiate the terms and conditions of the services they provide pursuant to that program. The bill enables those providers to elect a representative and negotiate with the state through that representative. The bill addresses some of the key concerns raised by parents, advocates and providers with regard to regulatory oversight, reimbursement levels, and the exclusion of providers from partnership participation in the current system.
Iris Heidar, a Daycare Provider in Hartford testified in support of Sec. 36 of the bill. She stated that allowing daycare providers to negotiate through a union would truly make family child care providers partners in improving early education and learning throughout Connecticut.
The following Daycare Providers also testified in support of Sec. 36: Rose Clark from W. Hartford, Catherine Castiglioni from Clinton, Denise Javinet from New Britain, Guillermina Sanchez from Waterbury, Rhonda Butler from Branford, Naomi Mitchell from Hartford, Shelta Wilson from New Haven, Nieda Nieves from Hartford, Eugennia Rainford from Hartford, Michelle Little from New Haven, Deborah Tyson from Hartford, Dena Scholl from Manchester, Miriam Papadimitriou from New Britain. Linda O'Bright from New Britain, Mary Boakye from Hartford, Janet Cruz from Bridgeport, Amelia Darrell from Bridgeport, Adelaida Garcia from Waterbury, Polly Herring from Danbury, Mary Garnes from Hartford, and Josephine Signorelli from W. Hartford.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
The Connecticut Education Association (CEA) spoke in opposition to the bill. CEA believes that the new department proposed in the bill should reside within the SDE. It would provide greater consistence in providing programs and would align with the Governor's wish to consolidate state agencies.
CAPPS opposes the requirement for local school systems to have to report to one state agency for their pre-k programs, and to SDE for the grades 1 – 12 programs. It would then develop the probability of program incoherence.
Reported by: Dianne Slopak
Date: March 28, 2011