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ABCs and 123s of Early Childhood Ed in Idaho

November 26, 2007

Boise, ID – Put up a sign and anyone can be in the child care business in Idaho. The state is still one of just a few with no health and safety requirements for day care providers or early childhood education programs. This week, a legislative task force is reviewing the situation.

Plans to set standards have stalled in the legislature in recent years because several key lawmakers say children should stay at home with their mothers. Karen Mason with the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children says a compromise is in the works: a proposal to create a measurement system without setting requirements.

"We don't have a standard to measure the quality of programs, so the intent is to help parents have a guideline by which to choose."

Mason says Idaho has one of the highest percentages of mothers in the workforce with children under age five.
Right now, there is no way to check and see that promises are kept when programs are advertised, she adds.

"You have to be able to assess whether or not a program is doing what it says it's going to do, or doing what you think it needs to be doing, on behalf of children and parents."

The Early Childhood Development Task Force meets Friday at 9:00 AM in the Capitol Annex West Conference Room in Boise.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ID