After two days of touting tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other efforts to create jobs, Delaware Governor Jack Markell unveilled the final part of his proposal to improve the state’s employment outlook in the long term: investing in education.
Joined by a group of kids from Kingswood Child Development Center, Markell announced plans to spend $20 million to improve early childhood education. Markell says, “[Education] cannot and must not start the day a child arrives for kindergarten. Together we’re going to keep fighting to build Delaware’s future in a way that creates jobs for these children’s parents right now, and creates real economic opportunity for them when they graduate.”
He’s proposing spending $9 million of that money to increase the amount paid to child care providers through the purchase of care reimbursement. To improve the quality of early childhood programs, Markell wants to spend $10 million to reward providers that earn ratings of 3, 4, or 5 stars. He also wants to offer $3 million in merit awards for centers and teachers that move up to the next rating level.
Wilmington Mayor James Baker has often spoken out about the need for addressing societal ills like crime and violence through a holistic approach that includes more than just arresting criminals. “Education is no longer a debatable issue. It really is a matter of right. We should make sure that we produce the best, intelligent students that we can.”
Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn has been an advocate for children’s issues throughout his political career. Denn got big cheers from those at the Kingswood Center when he told the crowd, “We expect that this investment in our early childhood centers will largely find its way into the paychecks of the people who do the work.” Denn says the state will be monitoring to make sure that happens if the General Assembly approves the plan.