At the end of February, I had the great privilege of attending the annual National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Public Policy Forum as part of my state team, the Connecticut Association for the Education of Young Children (CTAEYC). The field was well-represented: teaching staff and administrators, as well as professional development providers and advocates from a non-profit campus-based child care center, a family child care, a non-profit hospital-based child care center, a for-profit child care center, and two training, support, and research centers for early childhood programs in Connecticut.
We spent a day in intensive public policy/advocacy training and then went onto the Hill in force, state teams from nearly every state in the country, visiting members of our congressional delegations. We met with staff from nearly all the congressional offices, focusing on three primary public policy initiatives to help improve access and quality for all children and families. We used talking points carefully drafted by NAEYC, asking for:
The evening of February 28, as we all left our nation’s capital energized and ready to head home to our states, we were heartened to hear President Trump, in his Joint Address to Congress include statements about education, and early childhood education, specifically, saying, “My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable… .”
Now, a couple of weeks later, President Trump released his budget blueprint to outline the Administration’s priorities and guide budget discussions. It includes reductions in the funding of the two federal departments housing most of the early childhood education/child care programs, the Department of Education (by about 13%) and the Department of Health and Human Services (by about 18%).
How will this affect the programs we support and, most importantly, the children and families who depend on high-quality care and education? We welcome your thoughts on the federal budget and your individual states’ efforts to preserve and even grow funding to support the clear benefits of investing in education for both individual children and their families and society as a whole.
As the former Vice President of Education and Program Operations, as well as the Head Start/Early Head Start Program Director, of a large Chicago Agency, I am often asked the question, “How did you get your CLASS scores to rise so much?” Our Pre-K Instructional Support scores rose from a 2.65 to a 3.74 the first year, and from a 3.74 to a 4.17 the second year. It wasn’t an easy process. And it was up to us to show our teachers the importance of teacher-student interactions and slowly introduce how CLASS scores could be used to improve these interactions.
Below are three steps we took to introduce the importance of CLASS and interactions to our teachers and, ultimately, raise our CLASS scores.
When my first child was born, I was 30. I was also married, had a master’s degree, and taught in a district that paid pretty well. During my pregnancy, I learned what to look for in high-quality child care and I thought I knew how to find it. What I didn’t know was that even though my husband and I both worked, we couldn’t afford quality child care.
A year ago, urged on by my insightful new colleague, Manda Klein, who was born and raised in Texas, I wrote a blog entitled, At Our Core. It praised the bipartisan efforts to discontinue the practice of separating children from their parents and caregivers at our country’s borders.