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.
I recognize and admit to having a chip on my shoulder about the field of early childhood education - and, at times, disbelief that others may not see that period of time as the power-packed years in our developmental timeline which can lay the groundwork and set the course for much of the rest of our lives.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.