Childcare & Early Childhood Education
Here’s the Problem
My public education left me unprepared for college and the real world. No student should ever feel like that. Every child deserves a chance to learn and to thrive in the classroom. Research shows that early learning can make the difference when it comes to success in school and in life.
Early childhood education yields both immediate and long-term benefits for students, including increased preparedness for kindergarten, early development of social and emotional skills, and a better likelihood of graduating high school. In addition to reduced crime rates and a stronger workforce, the savings incurred by the state would outweigh costs in under a decade. And yet, access and affordability continue to shutter student participation across the Commonwealth.
This lack of access is compounded by the high costs of childcare. In fact, in some parts of the state, childcare costs almost as much as a year at a community college — that’s a problem. The lack of affordability prevents children from accessing safe and nurturing educational environments, working families from receiving the help they need, and state and local economies from realizing their full productivity and efficiency goals.
My Plans as Governor
The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the systemic inequities in our education system as well as the inadequacy of childcare infrastructure in our state. As a working mother of twin three- year- old boys, I understand the importance of ensuring affordable, high quality childcare and improving access to early childhood education — it’s about ensuring our children the best.
As Governor, I will:
- Implement full-day preschool for at-risk three- and four-year-olds by expanding VPI eligibility criteria to include three year olds and investing more VPI funding per pupil.
- Ensure dedicated funding streams to support early childhood education.
- Make necessary reforms to the Local Composite Index (LCI).
- Promote mixed delivery strategies to allow community-based and private programs to access state funding.
- Increase teacher pay for early childhood educators.
- Develop and execute a statewide assessment to ensure high-quality instruction.
- Through my Virginia Childcare Access Now (VA CAN) Initiative, establish a task force to develop a plan to improve access to and the affordability of childcare, establish public-private partnerships with companies to construct new child care facilities, research how child care subsidies, improve compensation to the child care workforce, and study state and federally funded child care and early learning programs.
- Expand the Working Families Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Promote strategies to strengthen and support the childcare industry through background check portability and the use of subsidy contracts.
- Increase the value and reach of child care subsidies.
- Enact a Quality Rating Improvement System.
My Record & Experience
I first ran for office while pregnant with my twin boys, and as I raise my sons here in our state, I understand that too many Virginia families are struggling with the high cost of childcare. And while this issue affects many in our state, it disparately impacts working mothers and families of color. Our child care infrastructure is not a sustainable reality, and that is why I have made a clear commitment to ensuring affordable, high-quality child care throughout the Commonwealth.
More Issues & Priorities
- Access to Broadband
- Affordable Housing
- Clean Government & Ethics
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Gender Equality
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Health Care
- Jobs & the Economy
- Labor & Working Families
- Protecting LGBTQIA+ Rights
- Racial Justice
- Supporting Immigrant Communities
- Supporting Virginians with Disabilities