In his education plan, Kitzhaber pledged to create "uniform standards for early care and education programs." He also wanted to make sure that there was easy access to training for childcare professionals. If they're better trained, preschoolers are more likely to be ready for kindergarten.
The governor's Early Learning Council created a set of rating guidelines that lay out best practices for child care programs. Those standards are being used in a field test to rate programs that volunteered for the project. In November, the state plans to release the ratings and roll it out further, according to Jada Rupley, the governor's early learning system director.
The rating system takes various standards into account. The first one, for example, is whether the program uses input from families. In this category, a "3 Star" program might survey families once a year — in their preferred language — and then show how that input guided planning. A "5 Star" program might have families attend meetings or sit on advisory groups, and then use their ideas in developing the program.
Rupley said the state is also working with a variety of groups to offer community-based training for the providers and that some may be able to double up by offering college credit. The next step, she said, would be to offer training programs online for providers who are working during the day.
Given that the rating system is still in its test phase, we're not quite ready to call this a Promise Kept, but we'll keep our eyes on it over the coming months.
For now, it's In The Works.