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what can really be expected from them. Another issue is whether the process should be voluntary or mandatory and which approach will have the greater impact on improving child care. She concluded by noting that the process is evolutionary. There are now good measures in the health and safety area and accountability for programs, through licensing, for example. As a whole, the early childhood community needs to start collecting new data as appropriate so that lack of data does not undermine development of important measures. For example, child care officials in Missouri decided that the percentage of family income going to out-of-pocket child care expenditures is an important measure, and they have begun efforts to acquire data on this. Regarding the goal of school readiness—how much child care improves the ability of children to learn and flourish—a number of states are doing a variety of assessments; as yet, Stebbins noted, consensus on appropriate measures is still elusive, but efforts to move closer to agreement are apparent.

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