Doing right by kids: How to pay for quality early childhood education at a scale we need?

children playing on a playground
Students play during recess at Dena’ina Elementary School in Wasilla in September. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Today’s question came from a listener, a father who has weathered and completed his own family’s journey through expensive childcare, for which he’s grateful. But his own success don’t solve the huge challenge in our community, and he asked us to share with listeners the scope of the issue here in Anchorage.

We invited panelists who work everyday to define what quality early childhood education is, how to collaborate with community partners to achieve it, and how to pay for it.

As always, listeners questions and comments are welcome throughout the program. Have you taught in a preschool setting? How about during the COVID experience? Are you a parent who quit your own job and returned home because your wages didn’t cover childcare expenses? Consider sharing your experiences with us on the phone, or sending us an email during the show.

HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Stephanie Berglund, CEO of nonprofit thread, a quality childcare advocacy organization
  • Bill Falsey, former Anchorage municipal manager, quality childcare advocate
  • Hilary Seitz, professor of early childhood education, UAA


  • Alaska daycares, critical during the coronavirus crisis, are endangered, Anchorage Daily News, 4.20.21
  • Childcare is Essential to Rebuilding Alaska’s Economy, Anchorage Daily News Op-Ed 4.20.21 by Reps. Ivy Spohnholz and Zack Fields, co-chairs of Alaska House Commerce and Labor Committee
  • Child Care in Alaska, 2021 Policy Fact Sheet, PDF, thread website
  • Alaska’s Childcare Challenges, Solutions and Progress, thread website
  • Early Care and Education Data Dashboard, thread website
  • 2020 Economic Impact Report, Early Care and Education report (7 pg. PDF), thread website
  • Why Childcare is So Ridiculously Expensive, The Atlantic magazine, 11.26.2019
  • Why Daycare Workers are so Poor, Even Though Daycare Costs So Much, The Atlantic magazine, 11.5.2015
  • Investing in Children: Changes in Parental Spending on Children, 1972-2007, academic paper from University of Pennsylvania and University of Sydney, 2010, link to paper


  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2 to 3 p.m.)
  • Send e-mail to before, during or after the live broadcast (E-mails may be read on air).
  • Post your comment or question below (Comments may be read on air).
  • LIVE: Monday, April 26, 2021 at 10 a.m.
  • RE-AIR: Monday, April 26, 2021 at 8 p.m.
  • PODCAST: Available on this page after the program.
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