Supporting Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Early Childhood Programs Through QRIS

Maki Park
Julie Sugarman
Jennifer Jennings-Shaffer
Zam Zam Mohamed
Wed, 08/30/2017 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Children of immigrants now make up one-quarter of the U.S. population under age 6, and an even larger share of young children (31 percent) lives in homes where a language other than English is spoken. Additionally, immigrants make up a significant proportion (18 percent) of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce, with an even greater share of workers (23 percent) speaking a language other than English. In this context, QRIS have the potential to improve outcomes for children and families by aligning policy and practice to a unified vision of high-quality services. Researchers have begun to identify components of high quality ECEC programs for Dual Language Learners, but these are largely invisible in many state QRIS. Additionally, culturally and linguistically diverse ECEC workers may be disadvantaged under QRIS if they have difficulty achieving higher ratings due to cultural or other barriers unrelated to program quality or face barriers to accessing and participating in QRIS at all, potentially pushing them out of the field or segregating them into an unregulated sector. This Let's Talk examines how state QRIS can emphasize the strengths of ECEC program elements that are valuable to immigrant and refugee families, and how states and their partners in implementing QRIS can support linguistically and culturally diverse workers through more inclusive practices in outreach to and enrollment of practitioners, technical assistance and professional development, and ongoing stakeholder engagement.

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