Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Evidence: Policy that Focuses on Results Gets Results

In 1999, Maryland established eight Child Well-being Results to capture and quantify the quality of life for children and families in the state. These eight results for child well-being reflect the priorities of the Children‘s Cabinet and the Governor:
  • Babies Born Healthy;
  • Healthy Children;
  • Children Enter School Ready to Learn;
  • Children Successful in School;
  • Children Completing School;
  • Children Safe in their Families and Communities;
  • Stable and Economically Independent Families; and
  • Communities that Support Family Life.
In 2000 the Children's Cabinet identified Children Enter School as a priority result, at that time only 49 percent of children were ready for school on day one. Then the Children's Cabinet established six specific goals with 25 strategies to improve the rate and created an immediate action plan to build public support. Steps included adding a school readiness committee of the Children’s Cabinet, focusing on parental involvement, expanding early care and education services, and addressing credentialing and compensation of child care staff.

This week Maryland issued its annual report on the progress towards Children Enter School Ready to Learn, announcing that remarkable progress has been made:

  • 81% of all children entered school ready to learn in 2010, up 32 points since 2000
  • 76% of African-American children are fully school-ready, up from 37% in 2001-2002  
  • The percentage of kindergarteners from low-income households who are fully school-ready rose from 34% in 2001-2002  to 73% in 2010-2011.
    For an issue brief or policies to support early academic success and guidance on establishing results-based policy in your state.

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