ECE in the News

California child care system collapsing under COVID-19, Berkeley report says

Author: Edward Lempinen
Date: July 22, 2020
Publication: Berkeley News

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating economic and human impact on California child care centers, forcing hundreds of them to close while others remain open at the risk of illness to both children and staff, according to a new report from the University of California, Berkeley.

Among more than 950 preschools and in-home sites surveyed by the campus’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE), fully 25% are closed. Among those that remain open, enrollments have plunged, and many owners are going into debt to keep their centers open for families who depend on continued child care, said the report released today (Wednesday, July 22).

“As a result of the pandemic, in California and in the whole country, we can see that child care is critically important to our economy and to parents who have to work,” said Lea Austin, CSCCE executive director. “But as child care collapses, so many other parts of our economy will be at risk.”

Bay Area Hispano Institute for Advancement Inc. (BAHIA) is a bilingual child development center founded in 1975 in West Berkeley. It has been closed since March, and executive director Beatriz Leyva-Cutler knows how such a loss can hurt her community.

If these closures multiply, Leyva-Cutler said, “low-income families will be the hardest hit. If the parents have to work outside the home, and without child care, they risk losing their jobs, which means more risk of hunger and homelessness.

“It also means that child care workers themselves face rising insecurity,” she added. “Our centers and our child care workers are essential to the economy, but the state and federal government have only scratched the surface to meet their needs. It feels like we’re invisible.”

SF Mayor Breed, supervisors agree on business tax overhaul — would free money for homeless

Author: Dominic Fracassa
Date: July 21, 2020
Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors have reached an agreement to bring a unified business-tax reform measure to voters on the November ballot.

If the measure passes — it needs only a simple majority vote — San Francisco would be able to unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that’s been collected, but remains off-limits and unspent because of ongoing legal disputes. They announced the deal on Tuesday.

The announcement puts a formal end to weeks of closed-door negotiations between Breed’s administration and the board that centered on how quickly to raise tax rates and and for what industries.

It was a conversation shaded in large part by the nearly $2 billion hole in the city budget caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that officials must confront. Breed sought to go easier on certain sectors that have been among the hardest hit by the shattered economy…

Read more here.

Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications,

Date: June 5, 2020

Publication: PRESS RELEASE

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee,
and Supervisor Ahsha Safaí today announced the creation of a new program to support Family
Child Care (FCC) educators. FCCs provide child care for children ages 0 to 12 and are a vital
resource for families, particularly in communities with a high need for early care and education
but with limited child care resources. Like most small businesses in San Francisco, many child
care providers are struggling financially due to COVID-19.
The Office of Early Care and Education (OECE) will use $1 million in funding from the
Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to create a Family Child Care Emergency
Operating Grant program. The program will provide up to 150 FCCs with funding they can use
to cover operating expenses such as staff retention, rent or mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities,
and any other expenses related to typical program operations. The grant program will focus on
supporting child care operators who are not eligible or do not have access to many of the funding
resources available to other business sectors.

“As we move forward on our gradual reopening of the economy, we know that we need
affordable, high-quality childcare options so people can get back to work and know that their
kids are safe,” said Mayor Breed. “Unfortunately, many child care operators are struggling right
now and are at a risk of closing. This grant program will help these small businesses remain open
and provide much-needed early care and education for our city’s families, especially families
who live in parts of the City where there aren’t as many child care options.”

“Family Child Care is the backbone support system for our city’s youngest learners.
San Francisco and our families cannot afford to have Family Child Care programs close,” said
Supervisor Norman Yee. “These providers are predominantly women and women of color and
COVID has devastated this industry. Give2SF funding is critical to help support these small
businesses and the families and children they serve.”

Read the full press release here.

Supervisors Safai and Yee Urge State and Federal investments to prevent closure of early care centers and Family Child Care small businesses

Author: Monica Chinchilla, Erica Maybaum
Date: May 12, 2020
Publication: PRESS RELEASE

SAN FRANCISCO, CA –Supervisor Safai and Supervisor Yee will jointly introduce resolutions urging State and local investments in early care and ECE Issues Luncheon 5/13/16education. Supervisor Safai’s resolution urges Governor Gavin Newsom to immediately release the $350 million dollars already received from the CARES Act to provide urgent support

to family child care providers to prevent permanent closure and to support for families negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Supervisor Yee’s resolution supports the House of Representatives call for $100 Billion in relief funding for child care in the next COVID-19 relief package

The San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education and SF Children’s Council estimate a  $73,698,200 loss of revenue from March 16 – June 30 due to the shelter in place. In addition, a recent survey of 2000 providers conducted by UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Childcare Employment found that 63% of programs that are open would not survive another month of sheltering-in-place, absent financial assistance from the government. Advocates estimate that this recession will have an even more dramatic impact than the 2009 recession where the San Francisco Bay Area permanently lost 10%- 40% of home-based child care businesses.

The Federal investment would be $50 billion for a short-term stabilization fund, and another $50 billion for long-term recovery funding to aid students, families, and providers. “Our early care educators have always been essential and we should treat them that way.  The State and Federal Government need to do more. We cannot afford to lose our family child care providers – these are small businesses run primarily by women and women of color,” said Supervisor Norman Yee, “They were already hurting before the health crisis and we need to support them now more than ever. Child care is the backbone of a thriving economy.”  “Early care and education is critical in preparing our children for a life of successful learning,” said Supervisor Safai,“If we lose this valuable workforce as a result of this crisis, our City will be dramatically impacted. Families cannot return to work if there are no early care centers open to serve them.”

“This crisis has demonstrated the critical value of early care and education in meeting both the immediate and future needs of our country,” said Director of Early Care and Education Ingrid Mezquita,“Policymakers must commit to maintaining and strengthening our early care and education infrastructure for the essential-worker families who need it now during this public health emergency, and for every parent needing to return safely to work in the near future.”

“The $350 million is essential to maintaining child care in San Francisco through the pandemic,” said Gina Fromer, CEO of Children’s Council of San Francisco, “San Francisco’s economic recovery depends on the workforce’s access to childcare.”

Early care advocates are concerned this vital support will not be released until July, and many fear that may be too late.


Read the direct proposal from Yee here.


Walters: California’s two-thirds vote requirement issue gets cloudier

Authors: Dan Walters
Date: September 12th, 2019
Publication: The Mercury News

Last year, the theory was put to the test in San Francisco when members of the city’s governing body, its Board of Supervisors, personally sponsored two tax increase initiatives, one for the June election and another in November, both listed on the ballot as “Proposition C.”

The June measure, a tax on commercial rents to finance early childhood education and child care services, received 51 percent voter support. The November proposal, a tax on businesses to finance services and housing for the homeless, garnered 61 percent voter support.

With both votes below two-thirds, opponents of the measures sued, contending that they were invalid, but in July, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman, citing the Upland decision, validated both taxes.

Last week, however, a Superior Court judge in Fresno had a different take. Judge Kimberly Gaab ruled that a 2018 initiative measure raising sales taxes to improve Fresno’s city parks failed because it needed a two-thirds voter supermajority but received just 52.2 percent.

Read the full article here.

Judge upholds legality of SF tax measures funding childcare, homelessness services

Authors: Laura Waxmann
Date: July 5, 2019
Publication: SF Examiner

A San Francisco judge has rejected a legal challenge against tax measures passed by voters last year that will raise millions for childcare and early education and for homelessness services.

Business and anti-tax groups sued to block a tax on commercial rents, approved by 51 percent of San Francisco voters in June of 2018, that is expected to raise upwards of $145 million annually for childcare and early education services and salary increases for educators in the field.

Read the full article here.

Judge says SF correct in passing two tax measures on simple majority vote

Authors: Dominic Fracassa
Date: July 5, 2019
Publication: SF Chronicle

A San Francisco judge ruled Friday that city officials did not break the law when they allowed two ballot measures that raised business taxes to pass last year with a simple-majority vote.

The rulings mark a major development in what’s likely to be an ongoing legal fight to unlock as much as $500 million in annual tax revenue for San Francisco. It’s a dispute that could reshape the ways local governments pass new taxes in California….

Read the full article.

Read court documents and judgements

Want to see for yourself what papers have been filed, or ruling made in the case against Prop C for ECE?


Here is a link to the SF Superior Court online site where the briefs and rulings can be found. Prove you’re not a robot and then enter the name of the case as it it shown here:  “Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. v. City and County of San Francisco” or the case number, “CGC-18-568657.”

Judge could rule soon on SF’s taxes for homeless services and childcare

Authors: Dominic Fracassa
Date: July 3, 2019
Publication: SF Chronicle

“Did San Francisco break the law when voters passed a series of tax measures last year to fund early childhood education, homelessness services and teacher pay raises?

That was the $500 million question up for debate Wednesday in a San Francisco Superior courtroom.”

Read the full article here.

Anti-tax groups fight homelessness, childcare ballot measures in court hearing

Authors: Laura Waxmann
Date: July 3, 2019
Publication: SF Examiner

“A San Francisco judge is expected to rule this week on the legality of two tax measures passed in the last year that together stand to generate more than $500 million annually for housing, homelessness and early education services.

A commercial rent tax funding early childcare and education services received 51 percent voter approval in the June 2018 election, while a gross receipts tax initiative funding homeless and housing services passed with 61 percent approval in November.”

Read the full article here.

Newly Elected Governor Supports Expanding Early Childhood Programs

Authors: Katie Hamm, Cristina Novoa, and Steven Jessen-Howard
Date: November 7, 2018
Publication: The Center for American Progress

“While many states are still finalizing the vote counts, it is clear that Americans elected 20 new governors and re-elected 16 incumbent governors last night. Many of these elected leaders ran on a platform of expanding child care and early education programs. This should not come as a surprise: A recent poll of likely voters found that majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents all support additional funding for early childhood policies.”

Read the full article here.

Child care, preschool remain hard to find, and stark gaps exist in California

Author: Bruce Fuller and Karen Manship
Date: July 25, 2018
Publication: UC Berkeley News

Berkeley Early Childhood Think Tank and American Institute of Research logos“The new analysis ­— Achieving Fair Access to Early Education ­— takes an unprecedented look at pre-k enrollment rates statewide, along with disparities in supply across regions and among local communities (zip codes). It was conducted by researchers at American Institutes of Research (AIR) and UC Berkeley.

“California has shown discernible progress in widening access to preschool for 4-year-olds,” said Karen Manship, principal researcher at AIR and lead author of the study. Over two-thirds attended preschool in 2016, the most recent year with complete data. Almost 70 percent of children from low-income families gained access to local centers.

“But pre-k remains painfully scarce for families with 3-year-olds across California,” Manship said. Just over one-third (34 percent) of the state’s 3-year-olds attend preschool statewide, far below other states nationwide. “And only one in eight infants and toddlers are in licensed care arrangements.””

Read the full article here.

San Francisco needs more infant and toddler care and higher wages for early educators

Author: Monica Walters, CPAC
Date: July 13, 2018
Publication: San Francisco Bay View

Stand for Children Day - Child care stops the cycle of poverty Sacramento 05-08-15“The San Francisco Child Care Planning and Advisory Council (CPAC), a state-mandated body charged with identifying local priorities for quality, affordable and accessible early care and education services in the city, has released its much anticipated 2017 Community Needs Assessment. San Francisco has made great progress in recent years in offering financial subsidies to preschool-aged children and increasing the overall capacity for licensed early childhood education options.

However, there are significant unmet needs for licensed centers and family child care homes that serve infants and toddlers, and critical workforce investments are also required to attract and retain qualified early education teachers.”

Read the full article here.

Measures to fund child care reach the ballot in two California counties

Author: Carolyn Jones
Date: March 25, 2018
Publication: EdSource

“Voters in Alameda and San Francisco counties will have a chance on June 5 to approve tax measures funding ambitious childcare programs that organizers say would provide enough subsidies for all low- and middle-income families who need them.

The two measures would each raise more than $140 million annually to expand existing childcare programs, boost the educational quality of those programs and increase the pay of childcare workers. The goal is to help parents go back to work after the birth of a child and improve children’s readiness for kindergarten.”

Read the full article here.

Why child care costs more than college tuition – and how to make it more affordable

Author: Taryn Morrissey
Date: March 9, 2018
Publication: The Conversation

A teaching assistant helps a child with glue at Redwood Early Learning Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Photo by Danny Johnston/AP

“Amid the continually rising cost of tuition, the idea of free college has received growing attention over the past few years. For instance, from 2014 to 2017, 35 states took up 80 bills related to free college.

Early care and education has also received attention, but it could be given more, especially when you consider how child care for infants costs more than tuition at four-year public colleges in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Similarly, child care for 4-year-olds costs more than public college tuition in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

The reality is that child care in America is expensive and out of reach for many families. Whether center-based or family child care, the average cost of child care nationally exceeds US$8,600 per year.”

Read the full article here.

SF City Hall rivals seek leverage in dueling ballot measures

Author: Rachel Swan
Date: March 1, 2018
Publication: SF Chronicle

“One group wants to build housing. The other wants to provide child care for all families in San Francisco. Both want to shake money out of the pockets of the city’s biggest landlords.

But the duel between two tax measures — one from the city’s moderates, one from its progressives — is really about two factions of City Hall trying to knock each other down.”

Read the full article here.

Where Does Your Child Care Dollar Go?

Author: Simon Workman
Date: February 14, 2018
Publication: Center for American Progress

preview of "Where does your childcare dollar go?" interactive calculator

“Understanding the true cost of high-quality child care is an important step in building support for a public investment in early childhood education.

Across the United States, it is not unusual for child care tuition to be the first- or second-largest household expense for families, costing more than mortgage or rent. Many parents feel justifiably overwhelmed as they begin their child care search. Not only are parents faced with limited options, long waitlists, and a lack of information about programs, but they also are hit with a steep price tag, which in many cases is more than the cost of in-state tuition at a public college.

Meanwhile, early childhood teachers are some of the lowest-paid professionals; nearly 40 percent of child care teachers rely on public assistance at some point in their careers. Early childhood programs themselves also operate on tight budgets. Most are small, independent businesses that are left to rely on in-kind support or philanthropic contributions to stay afloat.

If child care teachers are paid so little and early childhood programs are struggling to make ends meet, many parents are justifiably left asking the question: Why does child care cost so much?”

Read the full report here, and build your own child care with their corresponding interactive here.

Trump’s Attack on Immigrants Is Breaking the Backbone of America’s Child Care System

Author: Leila Schochet
Date: February 5, 2018
Publication: Center for American Progress

“If Congress pulls the Dream Act, I would lose seven staff members. It’s huge.”

Nancy is the director of a rural Midwestern Head Start center. Like many people across the country, she is concerned about the fate of nearly 800,000 young immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. Nancy’s Head Start program employs seven teachers who are protected by DACA. She worries about how her program will continue to operate if she loses those teachers.”

Read the full article here.

Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?

Kejo Kelly in the playground of Springfield Arbors, now called Bright Futures.
Photo by Natalie Keyssar for The New York Times

Author: Jeneen InterlandiDate: January 9, 2018
Publication: The New York Times

“To an outsider, it was tough to say which of the children’s behaviors were normal for 3- and 4-year-olds and which were signs of bigger issues. Increasingly, classrooms like the one over which Kelly presides are being eyed by social scientists and policymakers as both the place where problems emerge and the safety net that stands the best chance of addressing them. Preschool is often thought of as mere babysitting. But a growing body of research suggests that when done right, it can be much more than that. An effective early-education program can level the playing field for low-income black and Hispanic students relative to their white or wealthier counterparts, so much so that gaps in language comprehension and numeracy can often disappear by the start of kindergarten. And according to at least two longitudinal studies, the very best programs can produce effects that reach far beyond those early years, increasing the rates of high-school completion and college attendance among participants and reducing the incidence of teenage parenthood, welfare dependence and arrests.”

Read the full article here.

San Francisco Ballot Measure Aims To Increase Childcare Subsidies

Date: January 8, 2018
Publication: CBS SF Bay Area

“Supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee Monday announced a ballot measure that would finance the expansion of childcare subsidies with an increase in the city’s gross receipts tax. The measure, which is expected to appear on the same June 5 ballot as a hotly contested mayoral election and the District 8 supervisorial race, would raise the city’s commercial gross receipts tax by 3.5 percent, according to Kim.

That increase would provide more than $100 million in annual revenue, an amount that would allow the city to eliminate a waiting list of around 2,400 families for subsidized childcare, expand the number of available spaces for working and middle class families and increase the pay for the lowest wage childcare workers. The measure is intended to help keep working and middle class families in the city.”

Read the full article here.

Childcare subsidies measure announced to make it on SF's June ballot

Date: January 8, 2018
Publication: Fox KTVU

“Supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee today announced a ballot
measure that would finance the expansion of childcare subsidies with an increase in the city’s gross receipts tax.

The measure, which is expected to appear on the same June 5 ballot as a hotly contested mayoral election and the District 8 supervisorial race, would raise the city’s commercial gross receipts tax by 3.5 percent, according to Kim.”

Read the full article here.