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每日英語跟讀 Ep.1009: Oregon Preschool Policy Could Be National Model 幼兒班免費讀 美國俄勒岡州帶頭

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每日英語跟讀 Ep.1009: Oregon Preschool Policy Could Be National Model

On Election Day, Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Oregon, passed one of the most progressive universal preschool policies in the nation.

美國總統大選投票當天,俄勒岡州最大城市波特蘭所屬的摩特諾瑪郡,同時通過了全郡適用的學齡前教育政策創制案,進步程度在全美名列前茅。

The measure, to be paid for by a large tax on high earners, will provide free preschool for all children ages 3 and 4, in public schools and in existing and new private preschools and home-based child care centers. It will also significantly raise teachers’ wages so they are equivalent to those of kindergarten teachers.

政策內容是讓所有3到4歲兒童免費在公立幼兒園、現有和新設的私立幼兒園及設於民宅的托育中心就讀,資金來自向高收入者所課重稅,並將幼兒園教師薪資大幅提高到與學前班(幼稚園)教師等同。

It seeks to overcome the central problem in early childhood care and education: It is unaffordable for many families, yet teachers are underpaid. The solution, Multnomah County voters decided, is to finance preschool with public funding instead of private tuition and to pay teachers much more.

這項政策旨在解決幼兒照顧與教育核心問題:許多家庭負擔不起,且教師薪水太低。郡選民決定,解決方式不是靠個人所交學費支撐幼兒園營運,而是由公家出錢,同時大幅調高教師薪水。

It also seeks to overcome some of the pitfalls of universal preschool policies in places like New York and Washington, D.C. In doing so, early childhood researchers say the policy could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the country.

政策還意在克服紐約與華府等地全體適用學齡前教育政策的缺點。幼教學者說,這政策可作為全美的藍本。

“This was focused on access to quality preschool, so when children enter kindergarten, they are able to succeed,” said Jessica Vega Pederson, a county commissioner and a chairwoman of the measure’s steering committee.

郡政委員兼這項政策的指導委員會主席潔西卡.彼得森說:「政策意在讓孩子得以就讀優質幼兒園,讓他們進入學前班後適應良好。」

Caregiving has become a much more politically salient issue. The closings of schools and child care centers because of the coronavirus made clear the extent to which the sector underpins the economy. Joe Biden has made caregiving a central part of his economic plan.

幼兒照顧議題政治性已遠甚於既往。新冠肺炎疫情導致學校和托育中心關閉,凸顯這個區塊支撐經濟的程度。宣布當選美國總統的拜登,一直把幼兒照顧視為經濟政策的重點。

Child care is the largest expense for many families, and yet educators — who are disproportionately Black and Latino women — earn an average of $12 an hour, according to the center for the study of child care employment at the University of California, Berkeley. Half rely on public assistance. Even when they have the same education, preschool teachers earn half of what kindergarten teachers do, the center found.

托育費用是許多家庭最大開銷,但柏克萊加州大學兒童托育就業研究中心的資料,非裔和西語裔女性占比超高的托育人員,平均時薪僅12美元(約台幣360元),半數依賴社會福利過活。該中心還發現,就算教育程度相同,幼兒園老師的薪水卻只有學前班老師的一半。

Research has shown that high-quality preschool is beneficial for children, particularly those from low-income families. It helps them prepare for kindergarten — academically, socially and behaviorally — and shrinks achievement gaps. Research has shown that for poor children, it results in increased earnings and better health later in life.

研究顯示,優質幼兒園可嘉惠兒童,尤其低收入家庭兒童。優質幼兒園讓兒童在學業、社交和行為上做好進入學前班的準備,並縮小成就差距。研究顯示,貧困兒童進入優質幼兒園,長大會有更高的收入,也更健康。

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/359776/web/

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