Reaching for the Stars Center Validation Study, Executive Summary
This executive summary describes quality differences between child care centers from various levels of the "Reaching for the Stars" program in Oklahoma. Differences in centers by Star category are described on a variety of commonly used measures of child care quality. Data sources include: director interviews, teacher and director surveys, and classroom observations. The increased financial support provided by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to centers with higher Star ratings is a common motivator to participate in the Stars program. In addition to providing more monetary support and improving the overall quality of child care, directors report that the Stars program helps centers to: (1) provide the best care possible, and (2) increase the educational levels of teachers and directors. As intended by the creation of the "Reaching for the Stars" program, children receiving child care subsidies seem to be experiencing better quality care. The role of DHS is two-fold: monitoring compliance with licensing regulations and assisting programs in meeting higher Star criteria. Targets for improvement in Oklahoma child care include: staff education, master teacher-child ratios, and parent involvement strategies.