Friday, May 27, 2022


High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.


Education Secretary Cardona calls for action in after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to the U.S. and its allies.


High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

Child-Care Wages Called Key to Boosting Early-Education Access


Monday, May 10, 2021   

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Early-childhood educators in the state say they support President Joe Biden's American Families Plan, which would include an estimated $200 billion for free universal preschool programs.

However, they argued low wages for workers are a major barrier to expanding high-quality pre-K programming.

Geania Dickey, public policy chair for the Arkansas Early Childhood Association, pointed to research, which showed even before the pandemic, rural early-childhood education centers struggled to pay workers an affordable wage and experienced high staff turnover rates, as high as 96%.

"It's already more expensive than some parents can afford as it is, right?" Dickey explained. "So then, how do you increase the compensation and how do you increase quality?"

On average, child-care workers in the U.S. earn around $11 per hour, and Dickey noted the situation grew worse over the past year as the pandemic forced more centers to shut their doors.

Biden's plan includes an additional $225 billion for child care. Opponents of the proposal say it would increase taxes and hurt the U.S. economy. Biden's proposal would also create a national comprehensive paid family- and medical-leave program.

Dickey believes strong paid-leave policies are needed to fill the gap in access to learning options for toddlers.

"There is so little quality infant and toddler care in this country," Dickey asserted. "And in my state, the only way to get rid of that deficit in access is to provide family leave."

She added higher-quality centers tend to employ staff with better qualifications, which increases spending for compensation and benefits, and emphasized retirement and health-care plans are often needed to retain teachers.

Dickey contended access to four-year or community college is viewed as a public good, and believes access to preschool should be viewed the same way.

"So I think it's thinking about early education in that way," Dickey remarked. "How can we support that infrastructure and really provide a foundation?"

More than 9,000 Arkansas kids are estimated to receive child-care subsidies each month, provided through the state's Child Care and Development Fund.

But Dickey stressed current financial reimbursement options for child care still aren't enough to meet the increasing cost.

get more stories like this via email
Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …

Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …


This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …

There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …


Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021