Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!
|Innovation Name||Innovation Type||Innovation Subtype||Features at a Glance||Strategy Summary|
|Pre-K Base Salary Increase||Workforce||Pay Increases||
Salary increase of $2,000 per year for lead and assistant teachers (FY23 and FY24)
Georgia's FY2023 and FY2024 budget bills both included an increase in the base salary of state pre-K assistant and lead teachers. These increases were particularly notable for their inclusion of assistant teachers, who have not typically benefitted from pay increases in the past. Prior to the passage of the FY23 legislation, assistant teachers made $16,190 annually (regardless of experience or education). These pay increases were primarily paid for using Georgia State Lottery funds.Learn More: Georgia FY2023 Budget
Georgia House Budget and Research Office. (2023). FY2024 Budget Tracker.
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. (2022). Overview: 2023 Fiscal Year Budget for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
|Pre-K Pay Parity||Workforce||Pay Scales and Parity||
K-3 pay parity for community-based and public-school pre-K teachers
Georgia's pay parity policy, first enacted during the 2015–16 school year, was introduced primarily in response to a high rate of turnover among pre-K educators, who frequently left for better-paying K-3 positions in the public schools. All settings participating in Georgia's pre-K Program, including community-based and public-school settings, are require to pay a base salary that is equivalent to the salary paid to public-school K-3 educators with a similar level of education and experience. All pre-K educators are compensated for an 8-hour work day, which includes 6.5 hours for instruction and 1.5 hours for planning. Pre-K teachers are also paid for an additional 10 days of planning and professional development time. Georgia's pre-K Program, including salaries for pre-K educators, is funded through the Georgia Lottery.Learn More: Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley & The National Institute for Early Education Research. (2017). Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: Lessons from Seven States and Cities | Georgia's Pre-K.
|Georgia's Cross Agency Child Data System (CACDS)||Infrastructure Systems||Data Systems||
Early Childhood Integrated Data System
Launched in 2012, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning’s Cross Agency Child Data System (CACDS) is an early childhood integrated data systemthat functions as a warehouse. The system stores longitudinal, demographic, program, workforce, and individual data on early childhood educational enrollment and services across multiple Georgia programs (e.g., Babies Can’t Wait, Preschool Special Education, Georgia’s Pre-K Program, Early Head Start, Head Start, subsidized child care, and home visiting) and agencies (e.g., Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, Department of Education, Department of Public Health, Division of Family and Children Services, and Georgia Head Start Association). The private individual-level data is matched and deidentified using an internal matching system. CACDS provides data for internal use across participating agencies to guide research, policy, and development. CACDS also offers a “Community Data Explorer” to provide aggregate level program and demographic data for public use.
In 2010, the State Advisory Council provided a grant to build the system. It was expanded in 2014 using funds from the 2013 federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant. In 2017, CACDS won a grant (funded by the Kellogg Foundation) from ECDataWorks at the University of Pennsylvania. CACDS is also supported through a Georgia 2020 PDG B-5 three year renewal grant. CACDS provides information to the Georgia P-20 Statewide Longitudinal Data System and Georgia's Academic and Workforce Analysis and Research Data System (GA-AWARDS).Learn More: Georgia's CACDS
|Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning||Infrastructure Systems||Administrative + Governance Models||
Created a new department of early childhood
In 2004, Governor Sonny Perdue and the Georgia Assembly created . Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) by merging the office of school readiness units in the department of human resources, the department of education and the Georgia Child Care Council. DECAL administers the state’s pre-K program, licensed child care, federal nutrition programs, and the community-powered child care rating system. It also houses the state’s Head Start collaboration office. The department reports to a board, which consists of representation from each congressional district. At the same time, the Georgia State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care merged with the Georgia Children’s Cabinet to help guide policies and leadership on early childhood initiatives by having several agencies and entities collaborate on coordinated goals.
The creation of a new department will not automatically create better outcomes for children, but it can help provide the structure and coordination needed to improve early education quality and accessibility across a state or city (Kagan & Gomez, 2015).Learn more: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
Education Commission of the States (2021). Early Care and Education Governance.
|Georgia Lottery for Education||Dedicated Funding Streams||Lottery Revenue||
In fiscal year 2022, the lottery contributed $379 million to Georgia’s Pre-K Program
In 1992, Governor Zell Miller proposed the creation of the Georgia Lottery for Education, committing to use all lottery funds to supplement existing educational programs. The Pre-K Program began as a pilot serving 750 at-risk 4-year-olds and their families, and expanded to serve all eligible 4-year-olds, using private sector partnerships to avoid capital outlay on new facilities. In 2004, the Department of Early Care and Learning was created, and the Pre-K Program became universal. Today, it serves over 1 million children. In FY 2022, the lottery contributed $379 million to preschool education.Learn More/Source: History of Georgia's Pre-K Program
|Georgia’s Pre-K Program||Expansion||Universal Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)||
Percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 55%
Georgia's state-funded pre-K program for 4-year-old children operates on a first-come, first-served basis. The program enrolls children in classrooms in public schools and community-based private child care centers. Because participation in the program is voluntary for both children and schools, program availability cannot be guaranteed for all 4-year-olds in a given community. In 2011, the state’s Department of Early Care and Learning began a series of studies to measure the impact of the pre-K program across the state.Learn More: Georgia's Pre-K Program
National Institute for Early Education Research. (2022). Georgia.
Demographics Link copied!
10,912,876 Source U.S. Census, 2022
25.9% Source U.S. Census, 2020
74.1% Source U.S. Census, 2020
Number of children age 0-4
633,315 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty
43% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Median family income among households with children
$76,400.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
3% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022
Unemployment rate of parents
3% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force
65% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children living in households with a high housing cost burden
29% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Race and Ethnicity
- American Indian and Alaska Native (0.49%)
- Asian (4%)
- Black or African American (3%)
- Hispanic or Latino (15%)
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.49%)
- Two or More Races (4%)
- White, not Hispanic or Latino (42%)
Political Landscape Link copied!
Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!
Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023
- 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (0%)
- 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (9%)
- Other/none (91%)
Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023
- 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (55%)
- 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (3%)
- Other/none (42%)
Workforce Link copied!
2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020
- Child care workers
- Preschool teachers
- Preschool or child care center directors
Funding Sources Link copied!
Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022
- Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($243.4)
- CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($319.7)
- CCDBG State Match ($20.5)
- CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($2100.0)
- State-Funded Pre-K ($361.5)
- MIECHV ($6.7)
- IDEA Part C ($21.9)
- IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($15.7)
- TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($22.2)
- Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five ($4.8)
The COVID Funding Cliff
All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 81,000 children in Georgia.