EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 2010-06
WHEREAS, the future success of South Carolina’s children correlates with early learning, which fosters optimal development;
WHEREAS, South Carolina’s qualify of life and economic prosperity depend upon the presence of a well-educated work force;
WHEREAS, positive early learning outcomes yield substantial long-term savings to taxpayers;
WHEREAS, the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness (First Steps) initiative was created in 1999 to “develop, promote, and assist efforts of agencies, private providers, and public and private organizations and entities, at the state level and the community level, to collaborate and cooperate in order to focus and intensify services, assure the most efficient use of all available resources, and eliminate duplication of efforts to serve the needs of young children and their families,” S.C. Code Ann. § 59-152-20;
WHEREAS, the South Carolina First Steps Board of Trustees was created to promote and ensure these ends by coordinating efforts among multiple state agencies;
WHEREAS, the federal Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, 42 U.S.C. § 9837b(b)(1), requires the governor of each state to designate or establish a State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care (Advisory Council) as part of a parallel federal effort to ensure coordination and collaboration within the states; and
WHEREAS, the governor is further required to designate an individual charged with coordinating the activities of the State Advisory Council;
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 9837b(b), I designate the members of the First Steps Board of Trustees to serve as South Carolina’s Advisory Council, and I designate the State Director of First Steps to coordinate the activities of the Advisory Council.
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 9837b(b)(1)(D)(i), the Advisory Council shall:
While parallel in membership, the Advisory Council shall act as a distinct entity for the purpose of fulfilling the responsibilities outlined here. Each member of the First Steps Board of Trustees (both voting and non-voting) shall be considered a voting member of the Advisory Council. First Steps Board minutes shall explicitly distinguish actions and votes of the Advisory Council, and the Advisory Council must officially adjourn prior to acting as the First Steps Board. This order shall not be interpreted as conferring voting status upon any First Steps trustee not granted this privilege under state law. Each Advisory Council member’s term shall be concurrent with his/her service to the First Steps Board of Trustees.
(I) conduct a periodic statewide needs assessment concerning the quality and availability of early childhood education and development programs and services for children from birth to school entry, including an assessment of the availability of high-quality pre-kindergarten services for low-income children in the state;
(II) identify opportunities for, and barriers to, collaboration and coordination among federally-funded and state-funded child development, child care, and early childhood education programs and services, including collaboration and coordination among state agencies responsible for administering such programs;
(III) develop recommendations for increasing the overall participation of children in existing federal, state, and local child care and early childhood education programs, including outreach to underrepresented and special populations;
(IV) develop recommendations regarding the establishment of a unified data collection system for public early childhood education and development programs and services throughout the state;
(V) develop recommendations regarding statewide professional development and career advancement plans for early childhood educators in the state;
(VI) assess the capacity and effectiveness of 2- and 4-year public and private institutions of higher education in the state toward supporting the development of early childhood educators, including the extent to which such institutions have in place articulation agreements, professional development and career advancement plans, and practice or internships for students to spend time in a Head Start or pre-kindergarten program;
(VI) make recommendations for improvements in state early learning standards and undertake efforts to develop high-quality comprehensive early learning standards, as appropriate.
(VII) develop and publish, using available demographic data, an indicators-
based measure of school readiness at the state and community level;
(VIII) incorporate, within its periodic statewide needs assessments required in 42 U.S.C. § 9837b, data related to the capacity and efforts of private sector providers, Head Start providers, and local school districts to serve children aged birth to four. This shall include fiscal, enrollment, and capacity data to the extent feasible; and
(IX) perform all other functions, as permitted under federal and state law, to improve coordination and delivery of early childhood education and development to children in South Carolina.
BE IT FURTHER ORDERED THAT, to ensure adequate communication and coordination with the state’s Head Start providers, the Director of the South Carolina Head Start Collaboration Office shall be seated as a voting member of the Advisory Council. To the extent possible, the migrant and tribal Head Start providers shall be represented in the work of the Advisory Council.
In order to facilitate the work of the Advisory Council, South Carolina’s public agencies shall, to the extent permissible under state and federal law, assist in providing all data necessary to fulfill the Advisory Council’s duties.
GIVEN UNDER MY HAND AND THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, THIS 10th DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2010.
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Friday, February 26, 2010 at 9:00 A.M.