(Neb)-Panhandle Early Childhood Study Released
SCOTTSBLUFF - A partnership of ESU 13, the Panhandle Partnership and the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska has released the results of a multi-year study on early childhood in the Panhandle.
ESU 13 Administrator Jeff West says the study found early childhood care and education was the biggest point of both pride and concern among the more than 200 Panhandle residents surveyed, especially when it comes to programs such as Sixpence and Early Head Start.
West says that communities "overwhelming" felt early childhood care and education were something that was important to them in a positive way, but that they also worried about the cost...both the cost to send children to high-quality programs and the ability to provide such programs in some communities.
West says the next steps are developing strategic plans to address areas of concern or lack of resources, and then finding the funding to address those areas of need.
State Education Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt praises the study and the first-of-its-kind in Nebraska partnership behind it. He calls it "an opportunity for us to see a model for how partnerships would come together to build this type of report, and puts us in a position to really learn from this across the state."
The report was unveiled Wednesday to education and business leaders at the Gering Civic Center. The results are available online at buffettinstitute.nebraska.edu under "The Nebraska Panhandle: An Assessment of Birth to Grade 3 Care and Education."
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