In recent years, the Alliance and its state and national partners have increasingly prioritized the advancement of the early care and education (ECE) profession in our investment, advocacy, and policy activities. In September, this culminated in the Alliance’s organizing a national conference on this topic in Milwaukee with support from the Early Educator Investment Collaborative.
The meeting was an opportunity for state leaders, advocates, national experts, and early childhood educators to share promising strategies and lessons learned thus far and to engage each other on their diverse views about what’s needed to create an ECE profession that is well-prepared, supported, and compensated and that possesses the competencies and diversity that help them serve young children and their families effectively and equitably.
The 200+ attendees included 50+ educators, which ensured that this crucial perspective was front and center in the discussion.
The conference kicked off with a panel of ECE teachers discussing the future of the profession and the importance of educators’ voice and leadership in shaping it. The event also included an informative panel of legislators and staffers, moderated by Linda Smith, Director of the Early Childhood Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center. These policymakers shared the behind-the-scenes realities of legislating and provided candid advice for advocates.
The conference included numerous breakout sessions that allowed for a deeper dive into a variety of topics including compensation, family child care, higher education innovations, diversity, and educators’ power as advocates. Attendees engaged extensively with each other, and they fueled a broader conversation with the hashtag #EarlyEdPros. Presentations and valuable resources from the conference are available on the Alliance website.
The Alliance recognizes that the well-being and effectiveness of the ECE profession is critical to states’ ECE systems. In 2020, we will continue to focus on this area to further policies and investments in states. Watch this space in the coming months for news and insights from us and our state and national partners.