Today, 62 percent of children in the United States are enrolled in childcare programs. Because public programs do not have the capacity to serve these millions of children, for-profit programs have been critical in addressing this need because of their ability to expand rapidly and adapt to consumer needs. The current early childhood education market, however, makes it difficult for parents to determine the quality of both public and private options.
A proposed solution:
In Unequal Access: Hidden Barriers to Achieving Both Quality and Profit in Early Care, a new American Enterprise Institute (AEI) working paper, Harvard's Todd Grindal finds that policymakers should provide parents with a clearer picture of program quality and give equitable oversight and support to all caregivers of infants and toddlers.
Among Grindal's key action points for policymakers:
- Establish a quality ratings system to provide parents with clear information about the programs, hold providers accountable, and financially reward providers based on their performance.
- Regulate all providers--regardless of tax status--uniformly.
- Allow a diverse set of providers to compete in order to give parents solutions that are currently unavailable through public sector programs.
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