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Statewide Early Childhood Organizations Announce Equitable Access Coalition Unified and Mobilized Behind Shared Policy Agenda

 
Columbus, Ohio: Groundwork Ohio, the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRRA), Ohio Association of Child Care Providers (OACCP), Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children (Ohio AEYC), and Southwest Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children (SWOAEYC) today announced the formation of the Ohio Early Childhood Equitable Access Coalition, a coalition of early childhood educators unified behind a common policy agenda and committed to mobilize stakeholders behind shared priorities to advocate for increased quality and access to early education programs in the FY20-21 state budget and beyond.


In Ohio, the majority of kids do not start school ready to learn. Only 40% of incoming kindergarteners demonstrate school readiness—so it is not a surprise that only 43% of Ohio’s workforce has a degree or credential that qualifies them for available jobs in the state. But children of color are faring far worse, with only 23.9% of black students demonstrating kindergarten readiness compared to 47% of white students. Concentrated poverty in Ohio’s rural Appalachian region also creates unique challenges to achieving positive education and health outcomes for kids.


“Recognizing the unique barriers children of color and those living in Ohio’s Appalachian region face is a crucial first step to working toward equity for all Ohio kids,” said Groundwork Ohio Executive Director Shannon Jones. “Quality child care for our most at-risk kids is the proven intervention to prevent gaps in early learning and development from occurring and reducing disparities in educational and health outcomes throughout the life course.”


“Given Governor DeWine’s clear commitment to increase funding for early education programs as outlined in his ‘Opportunity for Every Kid’ agenda, the Coalition is committed to advancing a shared policy agenda throughout the coming budget process and making real progress toward ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive,” added Todd Barnhouse, CEO of OCCRRA.

 

Together, the Coalition aims to influence state decision makers and elevate bipartisan policy discussions to demonstrate the demand for greater access to quality child care programs. The Coalition will also offer a series of advocacy trainings led by Groundwork Ohio to mobilize early education providers, administrators, and teachers to advocate for increased access to and funding for quality early learning programs with specific focus on achieving equity for children of color and those living in Ohio’s rural Appalachian region.

 

The Ohio Equitable Access Coalition is funded by a partnership formed by Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), the Center for American Progress (CAP), and the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) through the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Groundwork Ohio is a committed, nonpartisan advocacy organization formed in 2004 that advances quality early learning and development as the most transformative strategy to improve school outcomes, increase the life-long success of Ohio’s children, and lay a strong foundation for economic prosperity in the state of Ohio. To learn more about Groundwork Ohio visit www.GroundworkOhio.org and follow us on Twitter @GroundworkOhio and Facebook, www.facebook.com/GroundworkOhio.


The Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRRA) and the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) network is a proven high functioning public-private partnership. Seven private non-profit CCR&R agencies serve as regional hubs throughout Ohio's 88 counties. These agencies provide professional development and technical assistance to local child care, early learning, and out of school time programs. In addition, these agencies provide support to providers, parents and the community. OCCRRA coordinates and ensures consistency among the seven CCR&R agencies, and is responsible for managing several statewide quality initiatives. To learn more about OCCRRA, visit www.occrra.org and follow us on Twitter @OhioCCRRA and Facebook, www.facebook.com/OhioCCRRA.

 

The Ohio Association of Child Care Providers (OACCP) represents the Directors and Business Owners of over 600 licensed child care centers. Our members educate and care for over 50,000 of Ohio's youngest citizens, including private pay and publicly funded children, who are served in faith-based, for-profit and non-profit programs. To learn more about OACCP, visit www.oaccp.org and follow us on Twitter @OHOACCP and Facebook, www.facebook.com/OACCP.

 

The Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children (Ohio AEYC) is state affiliate of NAEYC. We are a diverse community of professionals who are passionate about serving children age 0-8 including center directors & administrators, teachers (public, private & homeschool), state agency employees, family care providers, social workers, school administrators, early intervention specialists, college faculty & students. To learn more about Ohio AEYC, visit www.oaeyc.org and follow us on Twitter @OhioAEYC_ECE and Facebook, www.facebook.com/oaeyc%20


The Southwest Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children (SWOAEYC) is a state affiliate of NAEYC who promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. To learn more about Southwest Ohio AEYC, visit www.swoaeyc.org and follow us on Twitter @swoaeyc and Facebook, www.facebook.com/Southwest-Ohio-AEYC-229890060304.


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