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Prolonged Financial Malnutrition
May 29, 2015

What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
-Confucius

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In his article, "Prolonged Financial Malnutrition: Impact on our Field" in the May/June 2015 issue of Exchange, George Philipp observes:

"It is an amazing time to be in the early education field.  In every state and community we see new funding opportunities and innovative approaches to supporting young children.  Public acceptance of the importance of the first few years of life continues to spread rapidly.  But watching the dramatic evolution of our field over the last few decades, I find myself haunted by a fundamental question.  On the surface, we seem to be making great progress.  Public policy is catching up with the wealth of new research on child development.  New initiatives and funding opportunities are cropping up all over the country.  Yet despite this, our field still seems to be struggling.  Why is that?

"In my mind, historically and presently, one persistent core issue has prevented us from creating a high-quality system for all children.  That issue is the fact that we have never received adequate funding to achieve our goals.  And even when policymakers acknowledge that our field is currently underfunded, they fail to take into account the effects of decades of previous inadequate funding.  My diagnosis: the early education field is suffering the effects of prolonged financial malnutrition.

"A person suffering from prolonged malnutrition would exhibit the following symptoms: constant hunger, weakness, confusion, stress, depression, and desperation.  Analogously, these are all conditions that plague our field.  And just as a person suffering from prolonged malnutrition needs to be put on a long-term recovery plan, so, too, our field needs a long-term, comprehensive solution that will allow us to recover from decades of poor funding."





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Displaying All 2 Comments
Margo Sipes
Downtown Baltimore Child Care, Inc
Baltimore, MD, United States
05/29/2015 06:11 am

I agree with this article but it is missing one very important point. The people who staff the early care and education field also suffer from "Prolonged Financial Malnutrition." Compensation, including wages, benefits, and support for professional development continue to be profoundly lacking.

The great progress we are making has been made on the backs of incredibly wonderful and dedicated teachers and administrators who work for substandards wages.

Francis Wardle
CSBC
Denver, CO, United States
05/29/2015 06:01 am

Its not so much a continued lack of funding, its that two things have not changed with the times, 1) in general, early childhood education has not received universal public funding in the same way as k-12 education and higher education, and 2) educrats have simply not understood that the central element of any quality program is the people, which means that in early childhood the staff need adequate pay and benefits. It simply amazes me to see everyone saying how important quality early childhood education is, but no-one saying this means that we need to pay teachers and caregivers!


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