March Message from Deb
March 7, 2017
Last week, I spent several days in Washington, D.C. representing the Parent-Infant Center at the Public Policy Forum sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Forty-six states were represented at the Forum and I was honored to be part of the Pennsylvania delegation.
Even with the recent change in administration, early childhood education remains in the national spotlight. It is an important time to strongly advocate for public policies that will positively impact the future of today’s children, their families, and our country.
We discussed state and national policy initiatives around early childhood education and of the increasing significance the field has on understanding the short and long-term impacts of access to high quality early childhood programs for all children.
We discussed challenges in the field, ranging from the true cost of quality, to the significance of low wages for teachers working with our youngest children. We gained detailed information about the federal budget process and how spending decisions are made. We gained insights in how to speak with legislators, communities, and families about these challenges and of feasible solutions.
The most exciting part of the experience was going to “the Hill” to meet with the legislative aides for both Senators Toomey and Casey. We received a warm reception from both and found them to be interested in the topic. They asked good questions and took many notes. Senator Casey’s legislative aide was particularly insightful and clearly invested in the topic. I was delighted that he remembered that Senator Casey had visited PIC in 2016 to introduce legislation.
It was truly an incredible learning experience. I am both re-energized and recommitted to do all I can to continue moving the field of early childhood education forward, to work hard so that more children can access early learning programs, and to spread the message near and far about the importance of keeping a strong focus on high quality.