White House cites research of ASU professor on federal child care subsidies

By

Paul Atkinson

The research of Arizona State University public affairs professor Christ Herbst was featured by the White House during its summit on early childhood education Dec. 10.

Herbst has written extensively about the federal child care subsidy program, called the Child Care and Development Block Grant. His articles were among those included by the Executive Office of the President publication, titled “The Economics of Early Childhood Investments.” The document provided background information for those who attended the event.

At the summit, President Obama announced that $250 million in new funding will be awarded to 18 states for child care, including Arizona.

“Today fewer than three in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in high-quality preschool,” President Obama told those attending the summit. “It's not that working parents don't want their kids to be in safe, high-quality learning environments every day. It's that they can't afford the costs of private preschool. And for poor children who need it most, the lack of access to a great preschool can affect their entire lives.”

Herbst and research colleague Erdal Tekin, a professor of public administration and policy at American University, found that the federal government’s child care subsidy program failed to meet the health and developmental needs of preschoolers, leaving them ill-prepared to start school.

The early education summit was attended by business leaders, mayors and philanthropists involved in early childhood education. In addition to the speech by the president, the daylong event featured guest speakers and panel discussions looking at best practices in early childhood education employed throughout the nation.