Working as a community provider with the school district was/is not easy. The philosophical differences are huge. As a community based organization, children and families are meaningful to everything done at and by the center. It becomes clear pretty quickly that providers are exceptional in that regard.
At the beginning, research on high quality preschool was shared with a district leader who said he did not believe in research. He was not moved to hold back on his disdain for community providers; or in his words, babysitters. Having been in the community for over 100 years, doing only preschool, our center mattered little. Once the money showed up, the district became the expert in all things early childhood education. National accreditation was foreign and disregarded. When “school” entered the title, as in “preschool”, well, the district became the powerhouse. Since funding traveled from the state to the district to the provider, unfortunately, often the provider did not receive its full funding, at the discretion of the district. That’s called Home Rule.
Families consistently opt for the community provider as the setting for their preschool since our focus is exclusively young children and we are exceptionally family friendly. District central registration annihilates family choice. Priority is given to filling district classrooms. Providers remain secondary, despite the regulation directive that districts must not supplant community providers. Just this year, our high quality, nationally accredited program was selected to lose a high quality classroom in order to keep district classrooms full, even those in trailers.