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Legislative Finance Committee questions quality of state child care

Regulation

By Kimberly James | Jan 24, 2020

Daycare

Recent investments in the quality of child care in New Mexico have not had clear, definable, positive educational outcomes, according to the Legislative Finance Committee.

The benefits of early childhood education are usually highly praised, but a report by the committee states that New Mexico child care is falling short. 

“State child-care assistance is not impacting education outcomes for kids,” the report said.

More than 10,000 people in New Mexico are employed by the child-care industry, bringing in more than $244 million in revenue each year. Since 2014, government spending on child-care assistance for families has doubled.

But a program receiving more state and federal funds in reimbursements, gaining a higher star rating, has not shown that the quality of the educational programming is better. No perceivable difference was found in whether a child was ready to start school or how they performed in kindergarten or third grade.

“In other words, the parents who send their little Johnny and little Jenny to child care with their grandmother who runs a registered home, they’re likely to have the same outcomes as children who are sent to a top-rated, five-star child-care center,” said Ryan Tolman, a program evaluator and statistician for the New Mexico Public Education Department.

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