In an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail professor Christina Weiland calls for passage of the Build Back Better bill 

December 15, 2021

The early care and education expert says blocking the bill will only jeopardize a better future for American kids and families.

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School of Education professor Christina Weiland, who has worked with cities and states around the country on improving 0-5 systems, says she specializes in early care and education because of the overwhelming evidence that “the early years are critical for laying the foundation for a healthy future.” In an opinion piece for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, she also says that the country has failed to offer all children a fair start. Growing up in West Virginia, she saw this first-hand.

“The research could not be more clear on the ability of high-quality early learning experiences to help level the playing field. Decades of evidence show that high-quality early life experiences better prepare children for kindergarten and can yield benefits on important outcomes like health, higher educational attainment, and higher earnings. The research also shows that the early care and education providers who offer these experiences have struggled to keep their doors open and maintain quality in this historic pandemic.”

Before the pandemic, Weiland notes, more than half of Americans lived in “child care deserts.” Families with children under the age of 5 spent an average of 10% of their household income on child care, even though it was low quality. With pay for childcare workers only averaging $12 an hour, turnover rates were high, and many needed to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.

Build Back Better, writes Weiland, would be a game changer for kids, families, teachers and employers in both her home state, and the rest of the county.

“In the wake of the pandemic,” writes Weiland, “we can’t go back to ‘broken as usual’ when it comes to early care and education.”
 

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Associate Professor, School of Education