Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Early Childhood Education Advocacy

There is a lot of evidence that when we provide significant early childhood education, that the benefits down the road are huge. That is the rationale behind Head Start, Early On, and lots of other early childhood education programs. In fact, some of the important early research was done in Ypsilanti, at the HighScope Educational Research Foundation.
To put it very bluntly: pay now for early childhood interventions, or pay later for for corrections, special education, and employment interventions.

Here are a couple of alerts, put out by the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children.

State Level:
Dramatic cuts to critical early childhood programs are under final discussion in the state legislature. All state funded preschool and parent education programs have been eliminated in a bill recently passed by the state Senate in Lansing.If the Michigan House concurs with the Senate and the Governor signs it into law, the future of young children and all of us involved in early childhood programs are at risk. We must act now to make sure that these proven, cost effective programs continue. Over 2,500 concerned citizens who believed that early childhood programs need continued funding signed a petition from MiAEYC to reject the Senate version of the school aid bill for FY 2010 (HB 4447). Each legislator was sent the petition. If you did not sign the MiAEYC petition, please contact your legislators directly to let them know you want to support the early childhood programs in your community.

Federal Level:
On July 21 the House Education and Labor Committee will mark up the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3221). Title IV of this Act authorizes the Early Learning Challenge Fund, a new federal funding stream to promote State early care and education systems for children birth to five.

Please encourage your representatives to support this legislation. Committee members from Michigan include Dale Kildee <> , Vernon Ehlers <> , and Peter Hoekstra <> . If you live in their districts, please take action.

Representative George Miller (D-7th CA), Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced <> the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3221). President Obama called for a new Zero-to-Five Plan on the campaign trail as well as in his Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request. This new legislation builds on that proposal by providing $1 billion a year for 10 years in mandatory funding for the Early Learning Challenge Fund, using savings obtained through streamlining the federal student loan program.

To view a summary of the legislation, click here <> .

For more details on investments in early education, click here. <>

For more details, go to

Several national organizations are supporting this bill -- they have information about the bill and connections to the Congressional delegation on their websites.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees:

Center for Law and Social Policy: <>

Early Care and Education Consortium:

First Five Years Fund:

National Association for the Education of Young Children: <>

National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies:

National Association for Family Child Care: <>

National Head Start Association:

National Women's Law Center:


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