Providers may have two opportunities to help improve early education and care settings in Michigan, including child care and preschool programs.
Michigan is committed to increasing access to high quality early learning and development programs. This commitment includes ensuring that Great Start to Quality, the system used to rate the quality of early learning programs and providers, is accurately reflecting program quality, and ensuring that workforce data is readily available for making decisions about how to support the early education and care workforce. That is why the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Office of Great Start is conducting two studies to learn more about the early education and care system in Michigan.
The first study, which first began in 2016, is a validation study of Great Start to Quality. With this study, Michigan hopes to gain insight into the questions:
- How effectively do the GSQ rating levels differentiate the quality level of programs, and
- What are the specific local, regional, and state conditions that promote the implementation of GSQ and the increase of higher quality early childhood programs throughout the state and ensure children with high needs receive high-quality care?
The first wave of data collection in 2016 provided information that prompted a revised proposal for a validation study. Michigan is now ready to continue the validation study and has awarded a contract to HighScope Educational Research Foundation to complete the work. The next wave of data collection will begin this August and wrap up in November. The Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope, also known as CEERE, will contact a random selection of programs and providers to participate. Programs and providers that do participate will receive a gift card for their time.
The second study is an early education and care Workforce Study. Currently, Michigan has no mechanism to collect data on the early education and care workforce. This study will allow the state to learn information about the early education and care workforce including, the number of people employed, their qualifications, and longevity in the field. The study will also help Michigan determine how to best support the early education and care field.
The MDE has awarded a contract to The Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver to complete the workforce study. Starting in June, The Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver will invite providers to complete an online or paper survey. The first 175 providers to complete the survey will receive a gift card. Data collection will start in July and run through December 2018.
The MDE needs your help to improve the early childcare system by providing your knowledge and experiences in one or both of these studies. If you are contacted, please consider taking part in the studies. Your participation can make a real difference for young children in Michigan.
These research studies are funded by a grant from the Michigan Department of Education and U.S. Department of Education.