Stephanie Ebbert’s article “Lacking staff, child-care sites slice services: Opening become scarce, forcing parents to scramble” (Page A1, Aug. 23) highlighted challenges within the Commonwealth’s early education and child care sector that have been building for years. The pandemic exposed difficulties faced by child-care providers and early educators who operate small businesses in an evolving economic landscape and struggle to maintain qualified staff, many of whom are low-paid and women of color. Severe, longstanding challenges for these providers have reached a crisis point. The Legislature is keenly aware of these challenges, and addressing them is a top priority for the Joint Committee on Education and legislative leadership.
The fiscal 2021 budget, passed at the end of last year, established an Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission, of which we are cochairs. The commission, made up of legislators, leaders in early education, and public and private child-care stakeholders, has been holding public meetings since early spring and is developing recommendations for the Legislature on how best to reform this critical sector of our economy. We anticipate that the commission will wrap up its fact-finding work by late fall 2021 and issue its report shortly thereafter.
The goal of the commission, and ultimately of the Legislature, is to make sure that we enact policy and provide funding that ensures that children and families have broad access to the highest-quality, most affordable child care and early education the sector can provide. Equipped with the commission’s recommendations and significant federal funding from stimulus legislation passed by Congress this year, we believe the Legislature will be able to do just that.
Representative Alice Peisch
Senator Jason Lewis
Cochairs, Joint Committee on Education