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.
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From coast to coast and around the globe, there’s a common thread that unites teachers: wanting to be better for their students.
Even when things are tough in education, educators are striving to be their best. Their dedication to equitable, ongoing development is what inspires Teachstone’s work. It will take a systematic, data-driven approach to reach the day when all children are afforded excellent education and care. And, we are enthusiastic partners in getting to that goal.
By the end of every summer, the education world erupts with talk about back-to-school. This year was no different. The air was full of optimism. Vaccines had rolled out, many of us took our first vacation in a year and a half, and my inbox was full of the “best back to school” sales. Sadly, as quickly as many schools welcomed children back into the classroom with open arms, they were forced to close again due to increases in COVID-19 infections.
Admins, teachers, students, and families alike may be feeling concerned, cautiously optimistic, pessimistic, or confused. If you’re like me, you might feel all of the above all at once. But, I am taking comfort in knowing that this year, we are armed with more data.
Teachstone applauds the removal of three Confederate statues in Charlottesville, VA. Our organization is headquartered in this Southern city and we have seen first-hand the visceral reaction evoked by these tributes to figureheads of the Lost Cause movement. While the cause of the Confederacy in the Civil War has been lost, the war on racism has not yet been won.
Every state, every district, every school, every teacher faced decisions that they had never anticipated in the last academic year. As the end of the 2020-2021 school year approaches, it’s time to reflect on those decisions, learn from others, and prepare for the fall ahead.