Open Letter to Congress on Funding Needed for Child Care and K-12 Education

September 16, 2020


Dear Members of Congress:


As the new school year begins, families and educators across the country are in crisis. Congress has not provided the funding necessary to support child care programs and schools in safely delivering high-quality education and care for children of all ages.


As a result, millions of parents are scrambling to make arrangements for child care and distance learning while they work from home or report to work. Some teachers are struggling to begin the school year virtually without needed technology while others struggle with a lack of PPE for in-person teaching, and many are simultaneously trying to balance teaching with caring for their own children. School districts and early learning programs are trying to deliver services that families depend on, from meals to housing support to early intervention and special education programs. Many child care providers have already closed and those that are open are struggling to keep their programs afloat with added expenses and less revenue.


Amidst these challenges, more than 125 national and state organizations, and the nearly 10 million families and educators we represent, will not fall prey to blaming one another for individual choices made within the context of systems that have failed us all; rather, we stand together to collectively demand that policymakers do what needs to be done. Congress must immediately pass at least $50 billion to stabilize child care and $200 billion for K-12 education.


Whether we stay home with children, work in a school with teenagers, run a family child care home with infants, strive to both work and parent, or provide child care at a center with four-year olds, we spend our lives caring for young people and this is an especially difficult time to do the critical work we do. While we face incredible uncertainty in almost every aspect of our lives, one thing we are certain about is that Congress has the ability to make this time substantially more safe and less burdensome by providing significant additional federal relief funding for the child care and K-12 sectors.


For years, our care and education systems have been underfunded and undervalued. When the coronavirus pandemic began, parents, teachers, and child care providers stepped up. We learned new ways to help children learn, put our own lives on the line to care for children, and invested our own resources to keep ourselves, our families, our colleagues, and the communities around us safe. While other industries, like airlines, have received a large influx of funds to help them stay afloat, no such rescue package has been available for child care and public education, both of which should be essential public goods.


The House passed a $50 billion relief bill for child care on a bipartisan basis and included in the HEROES Act an initial investment of $90 billion for K-12 and higher education. The HEROES Act also included $5 billion to help students close digital gaps for remote learning and almost $1 trillion in stabilization aid to state and local governments, some of which can be used to avoid cuts to education. Unfortunately, however, when parents, child care providers, and teachers needed it most, Congress did not follow through to ensure our safety and success. When child care programs were forced into permanent closures and school districts needed resources to plan for reopening, Congress did not prioritize our needs. This has left the economy reeling, and resulted in exacerbated racial, gender, and economic inequality. Children who have already been made vulnerable stand to be most affected by Congress’ failure to invest in the parents, institutions and individuals that care for them and shape their learning. In addition, as women bear the brunt of added caregiving responsibilities at home, we are witnessing decreased female labor force participation, with dire consequences that could last for decades. Finally, because the majority of teachers and child care providers are women, with women of color making up a disproportionate share of the child care workforce, they bear the brunt of the lack of significant federal funding that is putting significant stress on all of our education systems, and pushing the child care sector to its breaking point.


We are tired of hearing that our work is essential while parents, teachers and school administrators, early educators, after school providers, and child care providers are continually expected to bear the full burden to ensure our own safe existence. We are devastated hearing that teachers and early childhood educators are being driven out of the profession or writing wills because they are unsure whether there will be adequate safety precautions taken to protect their lives. We are angry that our nation could lose half of its child care capacity because Congress did not take action to save our child care programs, despite proof that child care is critical for children’s healthy development and for parents’ ability to work. We are frustrated that students, educators, and families are not being provided with the resources needed to address the mental health, emotional, and physical toll that the ongoing pandemic has taken. We are not interested in symbolic gestures that don’t equate to real relief for children, families, child care providers, teachers, and school staff. We need bicameral, bipartisan agreement and passage of significant relief funding for the child care and K-12 sectors now, before it is too late.


We can’t safely do our jobs until Congress does its job! We, the undersigned, are united in our call for Congress to pass stabilization funding for the K-12 education and child care sectors NOW. In a world turned upside down by a global pandemic, these backbone institutions need ample financial resources and support to continue serving this generation, the next generation, and their families in ways that keep everyone safe. Our children, our students, our families, our educators, our businesses, and our economy won’t safely recover without it.


In Solidarity,


A Better Balance

Afterschool Alliance

Alliance for Early Success

All Our Kin

American Federation of Teachers

ASCD

Association Montessori International/USA

Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS)

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Child & Family Resources, Inc

Child Care Aware® of America

Children Unlimited, Inc.

Children's Advocacy Alliance

Children's Aid

Children's HealthWatch

Children's Home & Aid

Children's Institute

Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Common Sense

Community Change Action

Council for Professional Recognition

Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children Educare Learning Network

ExpandED Schools

Family Enrichment Network, Inc.

Family Values At Work

First Five Years Fund

First Focus Campaign for Children

International Montessori Council (IMC)

Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF)

MomsRising/MamásConPoder

Montessori Public Policy Initiative

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) National Association of Secondary School Principals National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) National Domestic Workers Alliance

National Education Association

National Summer Learning Association (NSLA)

National Superintendents Roundtable

National Women's Law Center

National Writing Project

Next100

Oxfam America

ParentsTogether Action

Teach Plus

The Education Trust

United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN)

ZERO TO THREE


STATE ORGANIZATIONS


Advance Illinois

Advocates for Children of New York

Annsworth Academy

Appalachian Early Childhood Network

Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children Arizona Early Childhood Alliance

California Child Care Resource & Referral Network

Capital Area and Illinois AEYC

Capital District YMCA

Center for Children's Initiatives

Children's Institute - Oregon

Christ Presbyterian Preschool

Citizens' Committee for Children of New York

Coalition of Oregon School Administrators

Colorado Children's Campaign

Common Good Iowa

CT Association for the Education of Young Children

DC Association for the Education of Young Children

Early Care and Education Consortium

Early Care & Learning Council

Early Childhood Alliance - Onondaga

EARLY CHILDHOOD OPTIONS

EDGE Consulting Partners

Florida Association for the Education of Young Children GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children GoAEYC-Golden Corridor Association for the Education of Young Children Good Shepherd Services

Greater Rochester After-School & Summer Alliance

Groundwork Ohio

Hudson Bluehawk Nation Afterschool Program

Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children

Joyful Noise Child Development Centers Inc.

Kansas Action for Children

Kansas Association for the Education of Young Children Kentucky Youth Advocates

Lake Magdalene Academy

Maine Head Start Directors Association (MHSDA)

MaineAEYC

Maryland Association for the Education of Young Children Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children MT Child Care Resource & Referral Network

North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children Nevada Association for the Education of Young Children New Jersey Association for the Education of Young Children New York Association for the Education of Young Children New Hampshire Association for the Education of Young Children Northern Interior Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children Northwest Florida State College

NYS Network for Youth Success, Inc.

Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children

Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness

Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children Orange County Association for the Education of Young Children (OCAEYC) Oregon Education Association

OSBA

Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children Puerto Rico Association for the Education of Young Children (PRAEYC) Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy

South Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children (SCAEYC) Southeast Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children Starpoint dba Developmental Opportunities

Texas Association for the Education of Young Children

The Children's Agenda

The Early Childhood Partnership of Adams County

The Joy of Learning

Utah Association for the Education of Young Children

Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children Voices for Illinois Children

Voices for Virginia's Children

Washington Association for the Education of Young Children Winter Park Presbyterian Preschool

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association


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ABOUT DCAEYC

The District of Columbia Association for the Education of Young Children (DCAEYC) is the DC Affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

 

NAEYC is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.

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