Child Care and Early Education Crisis Goes on for Thousands of Alameda County Children
Despite Majority of Voters Approving Measure A & Broad Community Support, Child Care Waiting List for Children Grows, Early Educator Turnover to Increase
The broad community coalition working to pass Measure A and help give thousands of Alameda County children ages 0-12 access to quality child care and early education are disappointed that despite the will of a vast majority of voters, the measure narrowly missed reaching the required two-thirds mark for approval.
Without Measure A, children, working parents and employers in need of a stable workforce will continue to battle a growing child care crisis and high turnover among child care educators who are the backbone of a quality early childhood education system.
“We are crushed that the educational gap grows wider for thousands of Alameda County children who need quality child care and early education to be ready for kindergarten. It’s unfortunate that although a majority of voters clearly want and see the need to invest in quality childcare, work continues to convince a small minority of voters that our community has a shared responsibility to help the youngest among us grow up healthy and prepared to learn in K-12 and beyond,” said Morgan Pringle, an early educator and member of Raising Alameda.
“We are disappointed that the majority did not prevail, but we’re not defeated and will continue to heed voters’ demand to look toward solutions to our child care crisis, building a robust child care system that will benefit the entire community,” said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan.
More than 7,000 children in the county are waiting for a spot in an early education program, and only 44% of children are ready for kindergarten, according to First 5.
“We have no choice but to address this child care and early education crisis in Alameda County, or we risk setting up a generation of children for failure – and we know that no parent, educator or voter wants that for any child,” said Clarissa Doutherd, Executive Director of Parent Voices Oakland. “We must find a way to give every child a chance to succeed from the moment they take their first steps, walk into kindergarten classrooms and throughout life.”
Measure A received strong support from a majority of Alameda County voters but did not meet the required a two-thirds majority for this type of measure to pass. The measure was supported by a broad coalition of parents, early child care and K-12 educators, elected leaders, medical professionals, and more, including: Alameda County Council of League of Women Voters, Oakland Chamber of Commerce, East Bay Community Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Alameda Central Labor Council, SEIU Locals 521 and 1021, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Alameda County Board of Education and United Way of the East Bay.
Measure A would have helped eased the early education and child care crisis in Alameda County and helped children get the best start early in life to help them be successful throughout their K-12 years. Measure A was expected to generate $140 million per year through a modest one-half cent sales tax to address the challenges Alameda County’s early childhood education system faces, including lack of access to child care and preschool for low-income and middle-income children and families, as well as support for homeless and at-risk children in need of child care. The measure sought to boost child care educators’ pay to at least $15 an hour, stemming turnover among professionals, many of whom struggle to make ends meet even as they help other families be able to work, and increase training and professional development opportunities for child care providers.