The Washington State Department of Early Learning (DEL) announces revisions to the data collection protocol for the Environment Rating Scale (ERS), a tool used in the Early Achievers ratings process. The ERS originated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Beginning March 16, 2017, DEL will exclude the item related to Books and Pictures in each ERS tool used in the Early Achievers onsite evaluation.
“We believe that it is the role of parents, in partnership with their early learning providers, to decide which books in the early learning environment best meets the needs of their children,” said DEL Director, Ross Hunter.
Hunter recently updated his personal blog about the topic, you can find it here: Censorship for Preschoolers. Access to a wide variety of reading materials that reflect the experiences and cultures of children and their families outweighs any benefits that may stem from the use of these indicators in the rating process.
Access to books is a crucial role in early learning and development. To help families and early learning professionals provide a rich assortment of books, DEL now partners with libraries across the state.
How does this new policy work?
Early Achievers data collectors will mark the item as “not applicable” and they will not collect any data on this item related to Early Achievers.
What does this mean for Early Achievers participants?
Early Achievers participants will no longer receive a score on Books and Pictures. This change in practice will not affect overall ERS scores for participants.
“Our goal is to provide expert tips on selecting books for an early learning environment as well as additional resources and events for children, families and early learning providers. Together, we work to ensure that every child in Washington has the opportunity to develop a love of language, reading and learning,” said Hunter.