An update on early childhood from EdNC’s Liz Bell:
“As we deal with COVID-19, we’ve realized our young children need extra help and child care needs to be more robust than ever,” said Gov. Roy Cooper on a Hunt Institute webinar with governors and education leaders across the country Monday.
As some child care facilities close permanently while others provide in-person care, what a post-COVID early care and education system looks like remains unclear. Gov. Cooper said higher compensation and education for the early educator workforce is important.
“It’s not all about money, but it’s a lot about making sure that we put the investment in to get the best people to be able to teach our young children and to be able to provide care for them,” Cooper said. “We’ve got to put an emphasis on this like we are putting an emphasis on the pipeline of teachers into our K-12 system.”
Ohio Gov. Kate Brown spoke of her plans to defend recent investments in early learning as budget cuts loom. Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton shared how dismantling oppressive systems is at the center of her state’s work to invest in children’s early years. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer talked about expanding public preschool as well as early intervention and home visiting services.
John B. King, president of The Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama, said a national strategy is necessary to rethink and refinance early education. As states navigate the pandemic recovery, he said this is also a “leadership moment” for legislatures.
“We have to keep making the case that these investments in early childhood education are worth making and that may mean we need to go get additional revenue, and that’s uncomfortable politically often, but it may be a reality. It may be the reality that we have to ask people that have the most to contribute a little more, it may be that we have to think about smart revenue enhancements… but in the long run we will all be worse off, our economy will be worse off, our democracy will be worse off, if we don’t get high quality early childhood education to all of our kids.”
The webinar was planned in anticipation of the Wednesday premiere of Starting at Zero, a film on the importance of early childhood education.
You can join our colleagues at the Hunt Institute in these conversations:
Today, on Tuesday, August 11th, join The Hunt Institute’s webinar to hear about supporting students during grade transitions from two state superintendents. What can states, districts, and institutions of higher education do to support these students so they are set up for success? Register here.
And on Thursday, August 13th, join The Hunt Institute’s webinar to hear about the digital divide. Governor Bev Perdue, North Carolina (2009-2013), and Governor Bob Wise, West Virginia (2001-2005) will discuss challenges as well as the opportunities that federal, state, and local leaders have to improve remote learning opportunities for students. Register here.
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