Wisconsin’s Department of Children and Families held the first of nine listening session in Milwaukee last Thursday, April 16th. These sessions are being held in an effort to collect feedback from child care providers, parents, and other early education stakeholders on future department initiatives. A WECA representative joined around 150 people at the first session and reported that many voices and opinions were heard. Some of the key points raised by parents, providers, and stakeholders included:
• Funds are needed to help providers through the accreditation process as it is too expensive for individuals and smaller sites. Funds were also requested for no cost training and technical assistance to help raise the quality of early childhood education and help providers reach higher levels on the rating scale.
• There was confusion over what the quality rating scale really means to providers.
• Speakers requested that CERTIFIED providers be included in the quality rating project. They expressed feelings of “discrimination” for not having this opportunity to improve their programs and selves.
• Providers expressed that licensing specialists should NOT be responsible for assessing programs/determining where on the quality rating scale a program will be. Objective evaluators should be used for these assessments.
• Providers from smaller programs were concerned about competing with larger programs with multiple sites and larger budgets for education, toys, and equipment. Having a larger budget allows these programs to make quality investments more easily, and therefore it is easier for larger programs to receive a higher ranking on the quality rating scale.
Future sessions will focus on a variety of topics including the creation of a Quality Rating & Improvement System, implementation of an automated attendance system, and efforts to address fraud in the Wisconsin Shares program.
The dates and locations of the remaining listening sessions are listed below. All sessions will be held from 7pm to 9pm.
• Wednesday, April 22nd: Northcentral Technical College Auditorium, Center for Health Sciences, 1000 West Campus Drive, Wausau
• Monday, April 27th: CESA 12, 618 Beaser Avenue, Ashland
• Wednesday, April 29th: Madison Area Technical College
Downtown Education Center, Conference Room D240, 211 North Carroll Street, Madison
• Monday, May 4th: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Student Center, Room SC224, Lecture Hall, 2740 West Mason Street, Green Bay
• Monday, May 11th: Waukesha County Technical College, Richard T. Anderson (RTA) Center, 800 Main Street, Pewaukee
• Wednesday, May 13th: Chippewa Valley Technical College Business Education Center, Room 103, 620 West Clairemont Avenue, Eau Claire
• Monday, May 18th: UW – Parkside, MOLN Molinaro Room 105, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha
• Thursday, May 21st: UW-La Crosse, Room 337, 1725 State Street, La Crosse
If special accommodations are needed, please contact Courtney Sullivan at 608-266-1518 or CourtneyK.Sullivan@wisconsin.gov prior to the session.