Five Tips for Improving Cost Modeling for Early Childhood Education
By Sarah Eicher and Kate Ritter, Children’s Funding Project
A cost model measures the true cost of equitably implementing, maintaining, or expanding a program or service for children. Demand for cost modeling in early childhood care and education continues to grow as states and communities further invest in expanding equitable opportunities for children and youth. While the number of technicians that can develop early childhood cost model tools is limited, the importance of increasing access to and understanding of these tools galvanized cost model partners to align in establishing common standards for a broader audience. To drive this work forward, last month Children’s Funding Project, Center for Early Learning Funding Equity, and Prenatal to Five Fiscal Strategies gathered leading experts in early childhood cost modeling to share approaches and explore actionable steps to build skills, knowledge, and partnerships within and across states, territories, and tribes that connect to governance choices. During this inaugural event, partners from technical consulting organizations, early childhood advocates, and philanthropies examined how cost modeling intersects with various social systems and what thoughtful expansion of the cost modeling field looks like as demand for this work grows.