The eScholar ECIDS In Action: New Mexico ECECD

     Our world has been evolving at a rapid pace since the 2020 Global Pandemic crisis. Across the nation, inflation rates have been ever rising and affecting every industry. Since this life-changing event, we have seen unprecedented increases in childcare costs, and a major decrease in access to childcare across the United States.  Zippa conducted a study childcare study in 2021, across the US, it is reported that “27% of families have difficulty accessing child care or cannot find an open childcare slot. 57% of working families spent more than $10,000 on childcare in 2020, with the average rising to $17,680 per year in 2022. 58% of working parents state they rely on childcare, meaning that 58% of these parents are directly affected by these intensely high childcare costs.

      With 58% of parents struggling with childcare, this is a topic of concern in many States. New Mexico is giving these families and young children the attention this increasingly important topic deserves. New Mexico is making groundbreaking strides to give the families of New Mexico access to free childcare.  

          In their 2022 Outcomes Report, New Mexico goes into detail about how they have analyzed and processed their Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) data by putting eScholar Uniq-ID, eScholar CDW for Early Childhood, and eScholar Analytics to full use. These solutions provided a comprehensive Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) solution to New Mexico. Using the eScholar ECIDS Solution for reporting and data analysis, New Mexico was able to publish its inaugural Annual Outcomes Report with clear insights across multiple program areas and make program enhancements based on their insights. With ECIDS, New Mexico has utilized this program to evaluate several of their early childhood programs from 2019-2021. In 2019 they began feeding 5 different service’s data (Shown in the graph below) into the ECIDS program. 

*figure taken from page 6 from New Mexico Annual Outcomes report       

  With the collaboration of the five ECECD feeding into ECIDS, New Mexico has used this collaborative data to combine and process all the following demographic and readiness milestones, “This includes demographic filters: county, primary language, ethnicity, and race. The readiness domains are literacy, mathematics, approaches to learning, physical development, health, and well-being, scientific conceptual understanding, and self, family, and community.” The ECIDS program is evaluating three years of integrated data, truly utilizing the longitudinal data system.  Without the ECIDS Program, each program would be evaluated on its own, and would not be evaluated in a combined manner. This comparative manner allows New Mexico to evaluate the totality of the longitudinal data and make connections that would be significantly more difficult without the data pulled together.

New Mexico’s Evaluations: 

          The first thing that New Mexico evaluated, is the overall readiness of children, by program.

*figure taken from page 7 from New Mexico Annual Outcomes report

       New Mexico’s evaluation of the decrease in readiness is based on the following, The physical health and wellbeing domain focuses on two specific components: 1) the child uses gross motor control independently, including balance, spatial awareness, and stability; and 2) the child independently uses fine motor skills. In this category, there was an overall decline in improvement in readiness this is likely reflective of the public health emergency and resulting attendance.

     This information establishes the need to encourage preschool program enrollment and participation. New Mexico goes on to evaluate 7 more phases of childhood development and compare them by the program. Overall, they found that most of the literacy and developmental goals decreased from 2019 to 2020 over the course of the pandemic, and then again saw rises in 2021. New Mexico attributed that dip due to fewer children going to in-person PreK, where they would have been able to get more regular practice with their motor skills.  

          Next, New Mexico broke down which counties the families are enrolling in programs, by which county, and why they need childcare help. They found that 87% of the families needing help with childcare identified they needed help due to employment reasons. 87% of New Mexico families needing childcare help is 29% higher than the national average. Thus, increasing the need for affordable and accessible childcare in New Mexico. Breaking down each system, participation, and what counties they are from, New Mexico found the conclusion, “Childcare providers often see children every day, are well-positioned to screen for developmental delays and disabilities, and to refer families to services that support their child’s health and well-being.” Which aids and increases the child’s chance of success when implemented into the school system. Children’s performance is significantly dampened when they are removed from these preschool programs.

          The longitudinal study that New Mexico performed from their ECIDS provides insights that can help inform policy decisions. New Mexico is taking a strategic approach to early childhood education and care. New Mexico’s “PreK programs are offered during the school year and are always free of charge to participating families. ECECD’s efforts now focus on expanding access to extended day programming for more four-year-olds and increasing access for three-year-olds.” In 2022, New Mexico has access to integrated and accurate data to make informed decisions on expanding its programs strategically and effectively.

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