Gov. Walker touts pre-schools in Hudson stopArea News
-- Gov. Scott Walker stopped in Hudson Thursday morning and read to a group of pre-kindgarten students at KinderCare, 2600 Center Dr.
By: Doug Stohlberg, Pierce County Herald
HUDSON - Gov. Scott Walker stopped in Hudson Thursday morning and read to a group of pre-kindgarten students at KinderCare, 2600 Center Dr. His purpose was to highlight his YoungStar and Early Literacy initiatives; KinderCare is considered a five-star – top of the list in the state’s reimbursement program.
Under the program, top schools are rewarded with higher aid and scholarship levels, while lower ranked pre-schools receive less state aid. The visit was in conjunction with National Week of the Young Child. Wisconsin’s YoungStar child care rating program, administered by the Department of Children and Families, was created to improve the quality of child care for Wisconsin children.
“We want incentives for pre-schools because it will pay dividends in the future,” Walker said. “It also gives lower performing school an incentive to increase their rankings. We know, of course, that pre-school students exposed to literature training will do better when they enter elementary and even idle and high school.”
The Department of Children and Families is currently conducting statewide pre-literacy and literacy based training sessions for child care providers to help them strengthen and improve the quality of early childhood development they provide.
In addition, $6.35 million was included in Governor Walker’s budget for a statewide scholarship program (T.E.A.C.H.) designed to help child care providers improve their skills through continuing education while allowing them to continue working. YoungStar micro-grants are also available to provide resources such as the purchase of books, educational toys and curriculum materials, leading to a richer pre-literacy environment.
YoungStar rates child care providers based on education, learning environment, business practices and the health and well-being of children. Providers are evaluated annually and given a rating from 1 to 5 stars – with 5 give stars being the highest rating.
On the YoungStar website, www.youngstar.wi.gov, parents can view star ratings, any health and safety issues, and accreditations for providers in their area.
While at KinderCare, Walker read the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” to a group of 20 pre-kindergarten students.
After the session with students, Walker answered a few questions from reporters. When asked about his repeal of Senate Bill 202 (to repeal the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act) Walker defended the action by saying there are already three laws on the books protecting women’s pay.
“It is already illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace – that will always be the case.,” Walker said.
Walker’s opponents claim the repeal is part of “his war on women” because Senate Bill 202 made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to allegedly have their day in court.
About the upcoming recall elections, Walker said voters will have the opportunity to “move the state forward” or “go backward.”
He also touted the bi-partisan cooperation between Minnesota and Wisconsin regarding the new St. Croix River crossing, and is hopeful that tax reciprocity between the two states will be next to become law.
Doug Stohlberg is editor of the Hudson Star Observer.