The Urban Affairs Committee has voted out LB 160 which includes a critical component for early childhood education.
This bill supports ongoing efforts to increase access to affordable, quality child care in Nebraska. LB 160 would expand the use of LB 840 funds to include and recognize early childhood as an important factor in economic infrastructure development.
A 2017 report by the National Institute for Early Education Research emphasizes the role of cities in developing early childhood education, finding that policies promoting high-quality early childhood education are “a key element of any city’s overall strategy to promote current and future health.”
Within Nebraska, one need look no further to see the value and vision of the early childhood proposals within LB 160 than the priority the community of Red Cloud has placed on the development of a high quality early childhood program to help ensure their economy not only survives, but thrives.
“With reliable and affordable child care, employees will miss fewer days of work, making employers more satisfied. I think Red Cloud will be an even more attractive small town to newcomers with high-quality childcare in place. It has the potential to strengthen our school district and stabilize our town’s population,” said Ashley Armstrong, of the Red Cloud Community Foundation Fund.” 
The Washington Post found in a 2015 national poll that more than three-quarters of mothers and half of fathers had passed up work opportunities, switched jobs or quit their job due to a lack of paid leave or child care. Furthermore, in 2016, NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that two-thirds of parents said they had access to “only one” or “just a few” realistic child care options.
And of greatest significance are the voices of Nebraskans.
In public opinion research conducted by our sister organization, the Holland Children’s Institute, access to affordable child care was overwhelmingly popular. Among those with children under age 18 at home, nearly all favor expanding access to affordable child care (93%), and of those without children at home the clear majority (69%) are also in favor .
LB 160 includes a proposal of great importance to building on the existing efforts to increase access to quality early childhood care and education, which in turn will strengthen communities now and long into the future. In concert, these proposals can ensure more young children enter school ready to succeed and grow into the workforce of tomorrow.
 Washington Post: The surprising number of parents scaling back at work to care for their kids https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-surprising-number-of-moms-and-dads-scaling-back-at-work-to-care-for-their-kids/2015/08/06/c7134c50-3ab7-11e5-b3ac-8a79bc44e5e2_story.html?utm_term=.6483784957df
 NPR: Child Care and Health in America https://www.npr.org/documents/2016/oct/Child-Care-and-Development-Report-2016.pdf
 Nebraska Values Project Installment IV, Holland Children’s Institute, March 20, 2018, available at https://hollandinstitute.org/fact-tank/
 “Red Cloud proves small-town success doesn’t just happen,” Nebraska Community Foundation, Omaha World Herald, June 20, 2017. http://www.omaha.com/living/the-better-half/red-cloud-proves-small-town-success-doesn-t-just-happen/article_883f165e-51e8-11e7-b357-57c80193cdeb.html