Here at Educate78, we seek to ensure that every child across Oakland’s 78 square miles has genuine access to a world class public education. In pursuit of this vision, we fund school improvement for district and charter public schools, support teacher and school leader training and retention, and promote parent empowerment and engagement. As a 501c3 not-profit organization focused on grant-making and programs, we don’t usually wade into elections… but sometimes a proposed policy measure is important enough that we feel the need to speak up.
That’s why we support YES on Measure A, an important funding measure on the Alameda County ballot this June 5 Primary Election. Measure A will help support children across Alameda County, including Oakland’s 78 square miles, and therefore we strongly urge you to support it in every way you can. The passage of Measure A is key to the on-going success of the Oakland Promise, an initiative led by Mayor Libby Schaff that we have been supporting since its start. Later, this November, there will be another measure at the City ballot level, which will also help, but for now we hope you and your networks can join us in helping pass Measure A. Why?
Alameda County is facing a child care crisis:
- Close the Kindergarten Readiness Gap: According to the annual First Five assessment, only 44% of our children arrive at school Kindergarten Ready. Studies show that children need a specific set of social emotional skills, such as self-regulation, self-expression, and the ability to cooperate in a structured environment, before they are able to grasp academic standards. If they start behind, it’s even harder for our K-12 system to help close the gap.
- Need for More Early Childhood Programs: Over 7,000 children are on waiting lists to get into preschool and early education.
- We Don’t Fund Early Education Enough: Public preschool reimbursement rates are insufficient to meet the true cost of education. California’s 2016-2017 reimbursement rate is $7,817 per child, but the cost of high quality preschool is $17,069. We know this is a problem that continues throughout the K12 years, so we need to chip away at it every chance we get.
- Affordability Crisis Impacts Providers: Insufficient funding leads to inadequate pay. In Alameda County, preschool teachers earn an average of $12.40 per hour, while in-home child care providers earn just $5-8 per hour. It’s no wonder that, according to UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, 75% of child care providers and early educators worry about paying monthly bills and many of them have second or third jobs to survive.
However, this crisis can be combatted with Alameda County’s Measure A:
- More scholarships for low-income children: Measure A will provide thousands of preschool and child care scholarships for middle income, low income, and homeless families.
- Better programs: Enhance program quality through instructional coaching and grants for education materials.
- Increase pay for better retention and recruitment: Raise provider salaries to at least $15 per hour.
- Expand pipeline and services: Develop the pipeline of early educators and expand the number of high-quality child care and preschool centers.
The policy was crafted by over 1,200 parents, child care providers, educators, and child development experts at over 95 listening sessions throughout Alameda County. As the San Francisco Chronicle endorsement of Measure A reads: “This is a crisis with social and economic consequences that merits a vigorous public-policy response. Alameda County has found a way to do it right”
Let’s help all of Alameda County’s children thrive today. Vote YES on Measure A on June 5.
P.S. Measure A also still needs volunteers! Can you help Get Out The Vote (GOTV) anytime June 2-5? Sign up here or contact the Measure A Campaign Manager Casey Farmer at 510-393-0388 or firstname.lastname@example.org.