QUALITY EARLY CARE AND LEARNING IN NEW JERSEY
New Jersey is in the process of implementing a quality rating system (QRIS). However, the question remains, how will the state define quality? New Jersey has more than 90,000 children birth to age four residing in poverty, yet the average annual cost for infant child care is more than $11,000 and the average annual cost for preschool child care is more than $9,000. In addition, many day care centers are struggling to meet quality standards for children and families. Reports indicate that overall New Jersey scored 92/150 causing it to rank 22nd in quality care. Moreover, New Jersey also scored 7/50 for day care oversight causing the state to rank 51st in quality care.
The trend towards a quality rating system (QRIS) has diverted attention towards focusing on select elements in early childhood education that will not address quality early care and learning. In order to truly address quality early care and learning, one must focus attention on the child-centered approach to learning, which is the fundamental premise of developmentally appropriate practices. Not implementing a quality rating system that will divert director’s attention to meeting mass amounts of documentations that address accountability.
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