Your state has goals for performance in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Do you know what they are? As an early childhood advocate you may well not, as all of the goals are based on standardized assessments given to children in third grade and up. But you should, because chances are those state goals are out of reach for your state unless it puts more focus on early learning.
Over the past 10 months, seven Alliance state partners embarked on a mission to increase public support for infants and toddlers by creating coalitions, identifying infant/toddler specific policy priorities, and developing advocacy strategies and communication plans. Each state approached its efforts in a slightly different way, but with the same goal in mind: to advance the well-being and school readiness of infants and toddlers in their state.
Last month, dozens of Alliance for Early Success partners convened in Denver, Colorado, for the 2018 Partner Summit, where policy experts, thought leaders and child advocates spent three days sharing best practices and connecting with counterparts from other states over their experiences, challenges, and solutions to improve state policies for children, birth through age eight. Shannon Jones, Groundwork Ohio executive director, shares her reflections from the event.
A site visit to Abbott Preschool in New Jersey provided advocates from across country the opportunity to hear the inspiring story of how they have transformed their early learning programs – from birth through 3rd grade - over the past 20 years, following the implementation of a court order requiring expansion of high quality preschool programs to address inequities in their education system and how that first step led to the development of the state’s broader early learning system.
In a year of bipartisan rancor, early childhood emerged as a rare issue of consensus. Providing confirmation to a decade of polling finding broad support for early childhood, candidates of both parties eagerly embraced agendas focused on young children. According to an analysis conduct by the First Five Years Fund, over 75 percent of governors elected in 2018 are on the record supporting early childhood education.
In 2016 and 2017, more than 30 individuals from top-level research organizations, early learning programs, and advocacy organizations came together at New America to distill years of research on what it takes to provide a quality pre-K experience for 3- and 5-year-old children. The results are in.
With the New Jersey’s election of a new governor less than a year ago, Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) saw this leadership change as an opportunity to expand and improve programs for young children and their families.