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Nebraska parents, businesses asked to weigh in on early childhood education issues

September 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A virtual conference highlighting the challenges in early childhood education issues drew nearly 700 participants.

State Sen. John Stinner of Gering, who plans an interim study on the economic impacts of the pandemic on early childhood education, wants parents and business owners to weigh in. Stinner is asking parents and business leaders to fill out an online survey, the results of which he will share with the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee as part of the interim study, which will not only look at the impact of the pandemic, but the overall cost of financing a high-quality early child care workforce.

So there are significant challenges. ”Sam Meisels, executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska, said one of the main goals of the interim study is to help the Legislature better understand the issue and the importance of creating a “fully functioning system of care over the first five years of life. ”That’s also among the goals of the third “Thriving Children, Families and Communities” conference, a virtual event that drew nearly 700 civic, business and education leaders from 99 communities in Nebraska and 16 states Monday. “The central purpose is to highlight the relationship between early care and education and community vitality — economic vitality,” Meisels said. Attendance at this year’s conference is triple what it was when it began two years ago and community leaders will discuss the economic impact of quality early childhood education and how the pandemic has widened what was already a significant gap in availability of quality care. A recent report by First Five Nebraska and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bureau of Business Research showed that gaps in child care availability cost Nebraska families up to $489 million a year in household income from missed work, reduced hours and in some cases parents forgoing higher-paying positions or quitting their jobs. The study also concluded that the lack of child care options for families reduced state tax revenues by $21 million a year. Child care workers are underpaid, exploited and extremely important, Meisels said. “I think what we are trying to do is to say that we are not going in the right direction,” he said.

Students at Wysong Elementary keep their distance from each other as they line up to move through the school on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.

University of Nebraska Board of Regents Chair James Pillen places the presidential medallion on University of Nebraska President Ted Carter during investiture at the Lied Center on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.

Hausmann Construction workers place the final beam in the frame for the Link, north of Scott Engineering Center, on the University of Nebraska - Lincoln City Campus on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.

Leah Mach serves the ball over the net during the first day of Fall practice for Lincoln Pius X volleyball on Monday, August 10, 2020.

Lincoln Public Schools teacher Ellen James (center) as Grim Reaper holds a sign in front of Nebraska State Capitol, Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.

North Star's Rojelio Puentes runs a drill during a team practice, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.

Police officers block off traffic on O Street and N 35th Street as police agencies respond to a shooting, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.

Police officers are seen outside a house where they apprehended a suspect on the 300 block of N 34th Street, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.

Guns are drawn as police officers secure O Street and N 34th Street as they respond to a shooting, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.

Lincoln North Star's Jake Seip (50) leads the Gators onto to the field to take on Hastings on Friday, August 21, 2020, at Seacrest Field.

Lincoln North Star's Kade Seip (right) and Dallas Wright stand for the National Anthem with their masks on their faces on Friday, August 21, 2020, at Seacrest Field.

Scouting out their next week opponents, (from left to right) Lincoln High's Eli Hergott, Owen Thompson, Isaac Montgomery, Dashaun Robinson and Cooper Munoz watch from outside the northwest fence as Lincoln North Star takes on Hastings in the second quarter on Friday, August 21, 2020, at Seacrest Field.

Bellevue West's Keagan Johnson poses for a photo, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, at Bellevue West High School.

Weeping Water's Ella Cave sits at the dugout with her face covering during a high school softball game against Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, at Doris Bair Softball Complex.

Weeping Water team huddles before a high school softball game against Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, at Doris Bair Softball Complex.

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