Posts for Julie McConnell

The women and men who choose to provide early childhood education are some of the most-caring and -dedicated professionals you will encounter. I’ve had the opportunity and privilege over the past year to work with directors and board members from nine early childhood programs in Coos County. They were brought together by the Business of Child Care Initiative, a pilot program designed to provide assessment tools, support and training that helps child care providers sharpen their business skills...
Updated : 2 weeks 6 days ago | more
We in New Hampshire are fortunate to have community leaders and advocates who totally “get” that investments in children’s earliest years are good for our state and necessary for healthy and vibrant communities. This goal has become more urgent in recent years as child poverty here has risen significantly. Dick Ober, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, framed the issue really well in The Youngest Among Us, a letter he sent last week to partners and supporters. In order for our...
Updated : 9 months 3 weeks ago | more
One would think we have reached critical mass in public support for Universal Preschool when a recently published article in Communities and Banking, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston magazine, identifies universal access to early childhood education programs as yielding important societal and economic benefits. Arthur MacEwan, professor emeritus of the Dept. of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, makes the case for publicly funded early childhood education for all, aligned...
Updated : 3 months 1 week ago | more
Children are bearing the brunt of the economic recession in New Hampshire. The Granite State has boasted the country’s lowest child-poverty rate for more than a decade, so it was shocking to learn from a recent Carsey Institute report that New Hampshire experienced the largest child-poverty rate increase of any state between 2011 and 2012. In 2012, 15.6% of New Hampshire’s children lived in poverty; the state had tumbled from first to 15th place in the nation on this crucial indicator. The...
Updated : 2 months 1 week ago | more
Noah’s Ark Child Care Center in Manchester faced a seemingly insurmountable challenge. In 1999, the nonprofit child care center had been operating for years as part of the St. Francis Church parish, a church complex that just happened to sit at the location designated as the expansion site of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. The church planned to relocate to Litchfield, but informed the child care center parents and staff that March that they were not invited along. Noah’s Ark has provided...
Updated : 6 months 2 weeks ago | more
As an early childhood advocate, I was encouraged to hear President Obama highlight the importance of early learning as a policy priority in his State of the Union Address. Early childhood education, while widely recognized as important for healthy kids, families and communities, has never attracted the political support needed to ensure true “universal access” for all families. The President’s commitment to expand access to high-quality early education is significant, and he should be commended...
Updated : 8 months 2 days ago | more
By Julie McConnell I have written on several occasions about the importance of investing in early childhood education as a community development strategy, one documented and supported by some of the nation’s leading economists. However, it also pays to state the obvious – as pointed out recently by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Friedman asked in a November 19 commentary, “How About Better Parents?” Friedman cites recent research that highlights the power of...
Updated : 1 year 4 months ago | more
By Julie McConnell This recent blog post by the Castine Advocacy Coalition for Early Education in Maine offers a solid and timely reminder of why states and local communities need to share the responsibility of investing in early care and education. We know from research about the importance of early brain development, and about what can happen when toxic stressors impede that development, that investments in proven early child development strategies nurture healthy, happy children and...
Updated : 3 years 7 months ago | more
By Julie McConnell Why would an economist care about early childhood education? Because investment in early childhood education makes economic sense and because it makes business sense. "Early childhood development programs are rarely portrayed as economic development initiatives, and we think that is a mistake. Such programs, if they appear at all, are at the bottom of the economic development lists for state and local governments. "They should be at the top." Rob Grunewald and Art Rolnick...
Updated : 3 years 9 months ago | more
By Julie McConnell Kudos to the Concord Monitor for Sunday's editorial highlighting the importance of affordable child care to an economic recovery. The Monitor editorial provides an intelligent and concise description of why access to quality, affordable child care is a crucial component of the state's economy.  The editorial also makes the business case for why the availability of child care is so important to employee productivity, and how it can contribute to the bottom line of any business...
Updated : 3 years 11 months ago | more
Early Learning NH announced today that Toni Ellsworth, executive director of Rise… for baby and family in Keene will be among the recipients of its 2010 Excellence in Child Care Awards. Congratulations to Rise and to Toni, a past Community Loan Fund borrower (and recent bus tour host), for being recognized for their excellence in serving children and families! Rise provides early intervention services to families of infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities. The nonprofit provides...
Updated : 1 year 4 months ago | more
By Julie McConnell A recent New York Times article demonstrates that the child care crisis is real and daunting for working families. Government-funded child care assistance programs across the U.S. – including here in New Hampshire – are unable to cover the increasing number of families who cannot afford child care, leading to the creation of waiting lists. The federal Child Care Development Block Grant was created as part of the welfare reform act in 1996, to help people move from welfare to...
Updated : 4 years 4 months ago | more
By Julie McConnell I recently referenced an op-ed piece in the New York Times, “Escaping From Poverty,” in which Nicholas Kristof advocated early childhood education as a major tool for fighting poverty. Kristof was influenced by the work of Professor James Heckman, a Nobel Prize-winning Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. Professor Heckman has conducted research on the economic benefits of investing in quality early care and education programs, becoming an “unlikely messenger...
Updated : 4 years 4 months ago | more
By Julie McConnell Nicholas Kristof's column in the March 24 New York Times offered "the secrets" of fighting poverty with programs and strategies that have proven effective – the two most important being education and jobs. Atop his list of interventions that truly make a difference in altering the cycle of poverty was quality early childhood education. Kristof made the case for what those in the field of early care and education have known for a long time – that solid investments in high-...
Updated : 4 years 6 months ago | more
By Julie McConnell A policy brief from the Carsey Institute at UNH finds that low-income and impoverished families pay disproportionately more for child care services than do families with more resources. In the report Low Income and Impoverished Families Pay More Disproportionately for Child Care, the authors found that “Working families with young children living in poverty pay 32 percent of their monthly family income on child care, nearly five times more than families at 200 percent of...
Updated : 2 months 1 week ago | more
By Julie McConnell New Hampshire’s working parents with young children, and the early education providers who serve them, are hurting in this economy. Federal and state funding that has boosted the affordability and quality of child care, hasn’t kept up with the growing need for such care. As a result, New Hampshire has created its first-ever waiting list for families who can’t afford child care without some financial assistance. In less than three months, about 750 children have been put on...
Updated : 4 years 6 months ago | more