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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

CT child advocates hope to blunt impacts of new education law

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Thursday, November 9, 2023   

Child advocates across Connecticut are imploring Gov. Ned Lamont to increase state funding for subsidized preschool and child care slots.

It would offset the impacts of a new law, which requires children to be five years old before Sept. 1 the year they start kindergarten. While advocates support the change, they are worried about the burden it could put on the state's already strained early education system.

Courtney Parkerson, director of The Connecticut Project, described how it will affect some families.

"There is a concern that families that were not anticipating they would have to pay for another year of preschool and child care will now have to pay for it," Parkerson explained. "In Connecticut, that averages about $13,000 per child."

Without state intervention, it is estimated around 9,000 kids will not be eligible to start kindergarten at the same time they did in the past. The state's Office of Early Childhood and the Connecticut Department of Education reported 6,300 children will have to find preschool spaces, while the other 2,700 will not have any formal education for another year.

As many parents are going to have to scramble to find child care, Parkerson noted the timing of the rollout is equally inopportune. Given the shortage of child care providers in the state, Parkerson feels people should have more time to prepare for the doing into effect.

"Timing is definitely a concern," Parkerson emphasized. "The Legislature didn't create a lot of time for this policy change. And so it will require the state Legislature to act early in the session to give families and school districts and early childhood educators the time they need to adjust to this change."

Another major concern is whether the state's early childhood education system can handle the increase in kids. A Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance report showed almost 72% of child care centers are short-staffed.

The state is taking action to address this crisis. Earlier this year, a law was passed clarifying and enforcing protections for licensed group and family child care homes.


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