Joint Memo from AHS and AOE Regarding Act 166
Thank you for your interest in caring for our youngest Vermonters. On behalf of the two Agencies that provide the state foundation for early care and education in Vermont, we testified together in the legislature to ask that they not move forward on changes to Act 166 this session, despite challenges discovered during implementation that need to be addressed. Instead, we asked the legislature to give the two Agencies time to work together to think through the state systems that support our early care and learning initiatives and come back next session with recommendations for a sensible policy that achieves our stated goals.
Together, we offered the following comments to the legislature during the session:
- We made very clear that we both feel urgency related to a fix to the requirements for fingerprinting in the current session. We worked for months to arrive at language that would reduce the burden on educators in both private providers and school systems.
- We both acknowledge that Act 166 has flaws that must be addressed to ensure it is effective, equitable and affordable over the long haul. This is not necessarily a function of will but of complexity: the complexity of the bill, the complexity of navigating two sets of federal and state statutes and regulations, the complexity of navigating effects-- both intended and unintended-- on the supporting agencies, and the challenges of implementing a one-size-fits-all model over diverse regions...