This month's addition is a guest blog from the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance who have very kindly allowed us to share their latest
PHOTO: CT EARLY CHILDHOOD ALLIANCE entry.
The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide advocacy organization working to ensure that all children are healthy, safe and ready for lifelong success. Visit the Alliance at earlychildhoodalliance.com on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ctearlychildhoodalliance or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cteca.
First it was President Obama in his State of the Union speech saying, “Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.” Then, in his State of the State speech, Governor Malloy said, “We know that early education is one of the best ways to level the playing field for students. We know it, because we’ve seen it firsthand.” Then he challenged the legislature to “commit Connecticut to achieving universal pre-kindergarten.”
Never have we heard such buzz around early learning at the state and federal levels. Research over the last few decades shows the positive impact of high-quality early education. Sixty to seventy percent of Americans (depending on which poll you read) now support more public investment in preschool. So it’s not surprising that both the governor and the president are calling for new investment in early learning. President Obama proposed a new round of Race to the Top competitive funding to expand pre-k, and Governor Malloy called for universal pre-k by 2019, starting with 1,020 new pre-k spaces in the next fiscal year. The governor’s plan will also increase payments to childcare providers for the first time in years.
The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance applauds both bold proposals set forth by our president and governor. It is heartening to see our elected leaders taking a strong stand and committing resources to the task. The Alliance will be working hard to ensure these proposals work as they are intended to, which will require:
Quality – We can’t emphasize this enough. The programs must be high-quality. High-quality consists of a developmental- and age-appropriate setting and curriculum, low student/teacher ratios and highly-qualified teachers and staff. In order to attract and retain the best and brightest teachers to the early childhood field, these individuals must be paid wages to keep them in the classroom. Otherwise, they will have to take their skills elsewhere.
Funding for Quality – As noted, teachers need to be paid wages that keep them in the early childhood field. Early childhood teachers and aides are among the lowest paid workers in Connecticut. The sector’s low-earning potential is a serious impediment to efforts to improve the education level of the early care workforce. Rates for early childhood programs must increase to provide early childhood workers the equivalent compensation of similarly-degreed staff in public schools. If we’re serious about quality programs, the teachers in those classrooms need to make enough to support themselves and their families. It is not acceptable for them to work full-time and have to rely on SNAP, HUSKY, and Care4Kids to help make ends meet.
Infants and Toddlers – Attention must be paid to this group. The first three years of a child’s life is a time of incredible growth and development….
To read more of this blog entry and see more like it please click on the link: http://connecticuteca.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/getting-the-best-outcome-from-the-early-childhood-buzz/