In 2011, Bright from the Start, Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, began implementing a tiered quality rating and improvement system for early childhood education schools. The Quality Rated program was launched in January of 2012.
Although there are dedicated team efforts to complete the Georgia’s Quality Rated System; Favorite Time values NAEYC Accreditation over Georgia’s initiate for many reasons. First, the current Child Care Licensing Rules and Regulations are poor and unsafe. We believe minimal baselines for safety should improve first and foremost! Second, we believe the Quality Rating System is only effective if it is a mandatory participation for all centers and currently it is only voluntary. Third, we believe the Quality Rated System currently devalues NAEYC Accreditation, the Gold Standard in Quality Early Childhood Education, and in doing so, the Quality Rated System adds further confusion and misleading information for conscientious parents.
Again, Favorite Time Academy is currently NOT RATED by Georgia yet holds the Highest Mark for Quality in the nation, NAEYC Accreditation. We continue to pursue the program as we attempt to influence and follow the programs progress or lack there of. In 2013, a federal Early Care and Learning Race to the Top Grant was granted to Georgia. In this grant the state has communicated the alleged commitment by Governor Nathan Deal that by 2015 all centers will be mandated to participate in the Quality Rated program. We wait patiently to see if there is truly a commitment to improve quality childcare for all Georgia children and stop enabling illegitimate licensed childcare providers. Thus far, on a number of issues, the state has not held centers accountable for mandated rule changes such as Teacher Credentials and continues to give waivers like distributing candy. On critical safety issues, the state continues to compromise and allow loop holes in the current rules including Fingerprint Background Checks, Transportation Safety Standards, Child Groups Sizes, Teacher Child Ratios, etc….
For additional information, updates, and advocacy efforts please see our Quality in the News blog. CLICK HERE: Quality in the News
More About Georgia’s Quality Rated System:
Quality Rated is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early education and school‐age care programs. Similar to rating systems for other service related industries, Quality Rated assigns a quality rating (one star, two star, or three star) to early education and school‐age care programs that meet a set of defined program standards. By participating in Georgia’s voluntary Quality Rated, early education and school‐age care programs embark on a path of continuous quality improvement.
More and more children in the United States and in Georgia are cared for every day in out-of-home early care and education settings. Research supports that the quality of care children receive in their child care settings dramatically affects their physical, mental, and academic development. Consequently, the emphasis on improving the quality of early care and education services has increased.
Quality Rated provides opportunities for Georgia to:
- Identify indicators that enhance children’s development and promote school readiness.
- Increase quality of early care and education services.
- Increase families’ understanding and demand for higher quality early care and education.
- Increase professional development opportunities, benchmarks, and rewards for a range of early care and education practitioners and providers.
- Create a cross‐sector framework that can link standards, technical assistance, monitoring, finance, and consumer engagement for programs in a range of settings, including family day care homes, child care centers, school‐based programs, Head Start programs, and others.
- The quality of care children receive in child care facilities matters…to our children, our families, our education system, our economy, and our future. Research studies clearly support a connection between early care and education program quality and child outcomes that promote school readiness (Vandell, 2004). One study, The Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Studyexamined children’s outcomes over time in elementary school in light of their participation in quality early care and education programs (Peisner-Feinberg and Burchinal, 1997, 1999, 2001). In this study, young children who attended higher quality early care and education programs had better language development, problem solving, and social skills. Most importantly, the positive effects of a quality early care and education experience continued through kindergarten into the second grade. Ongoing research supports that better program quality is associated with better outcomes for children. The goal of Quality Rated is to increase the number of and access to high quality early education and school‐age care programs for Georgia’s children and thereby better prepare them for success in school.
- Early education benefits children, their families, and their communities. From improved academic outcomes to the economic savings to schools and states, the benefits of high-quality early education are irrefutable.
- Science has proven that early experiences and education shape the brain. Early childhood education and experiences have lasting impacts on later learning, behavior and health. Differences in the size of children’s vocabulary first appear at 18 months of age, depending on whether they were born into a family with high or low education and income. By three years old, children with college-educated parents have vocabularies two to three times larger than those whose parents did not graduate high school. In the first few years of a child’s life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second through the interaction of genes and a baby’s environment and experiences. These connections build the brain’s foundation upon which all learning, behavior and health depend.
- Children who receive high quality early education are more likely to graduate high school, attend college and are better equipped for the workforce. The first step to ensuring we have a highly skilled workforce to compete in the global economy is improving early education. The foundation of skills needed in school and the workforce is built during a child’s first five years.
- Continuing support for early education has both short- and long-term economic benefits for Georgia. The early care and education industry is an important part of Georgia’s economy. It creates over 73,000 jobs and generates $4.1 billion of economic activity in the state each year. The availability of childcare in Georgia supports annual parent earnings of at least $13.6 billion, according to a study commissioned by the state’s Department of Early Care and Learning.