Below are resources for early childhood professionals and those serving the early childhood community.

Pre-To-3: New Center To Track State Policies On Infants And Toddlers  This latest Pre-to-3 column focuses on the announcement of a new initiative to show what states are doing to support families with infants and toddlers. Past installments of Pre-to-3 can be found here. A new early childhood research-to-policy initiative, based at the University of Texas at Austin, will focus on informing state-level decisions that affect families with infants and toddlers. And by fall 2020, the Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center will produce a “roadmap” that identifies the extent to which states have adopted policies that focus on young children’s health and well-being, similar to the way the National Institute for Early Education Research ranks state-funded pre-K programs. (Education Dive)

Northam Seeks Input On Improving Child Care, Early Education  Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration is seeking public input on how to improve early education and childcare options in the state. Northam’s office announced Thursday that the state is seeking comments through the end of the month on the administration’s proposed strategic plan to improve school readiness. A recently released needs assessment found that 40 percent of the state’s kindergarten students are not ready for school. Nearly half of all low-income kindergarten students enter school unprepared. The state’s strategic plan’s goals include increasing availability for both public and private childcare options for working parents of toddlers. The state also wants to use incentives to help ensure adequate pay for childcare workers. (Associated Press via WHSV)

Initiatives From Preschool to Third Grade: A Policymaker’s Guide  This primer is a foundational resource for policymakers working on early education issues. It covers 12 issue areas that Education Commission of the States receives the most questions about from policymakers, and it includes state examples and additional resources for each.

Expanding Early Childhood Education in Rural America  Sometimes termed an educational “forgotten frontier,” rural counties educate nearly a quarter of the nation’s PreK-12 students and are disproportionately affected by poverty; over eight out of ten of the nation’s persistently poor counties are rural. “Outside of the spotlight,” writes Boston College Professor Andy Hargreaves, “rural teachers can choose how to fill the vacuum left by federal education policymakers, and they are not sucked so readily into the vortex of much urban school reform either.” This choice is particularly complicated in the mixed-delivery early childhood education sphere. Sixty percent of rural Americans live-in child-care deserts, meaning that there are three young children for every one childcare seat—or, there are no spots at all within a reasonable distance. Isolated from resources and capacity-building tools, rural districts can struggle to implement large-scale education reforms. Still, these communities have worked to increase access to and the quality of more traditional early childhood programs. Policymakers and educators have pursued their goals through multiple approaches according to their unique needs, including instituting universal pre-K, establishing community partnerships, and creating opportunities for collaboration among educators.

Educators Trusted With Babies And Toddlers Don’t Make A Living Wage — Illinois Wants To Change This  More than three years after Illinois policymakers began wrestling with the question of how much to pay early childhood educators, the governor’s office is proposing an answer: $40,000 for new teachers with college degrees. The proposal, which members of an influential council of early education advocates reviewed on Monday, is far from changing the way educators in Illinois are paid. Still, it suggests that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration is taking advantage of the state’s relatively stable finances and national momentum around early childhood education to accelerate a conversation about raising pay for teachers working with the state’s youngest students. Across Illinois, early childhood educators are paid far less than their counterparts in K-12 schools. In 2015, a full-time early childhood teacher made about $25,000 a year, according to state data, and in Chicago, teachers often leave jobs at community centers for higher wages and benefits in district-run schools.