Why do I write about early childhood issues? Because you have to start at the beginning.
My career is dedicated to supporting children and families in their earliest stages. As an activist, for me this is a means to supporting a responsible citizenry who have the critical thinking skills and creativity to develop sustainable solutions for supporting society and humanity in a future that will undoubtedly be troubled by poor decisions that we, as societies and communities have made. Problems we have now (epidemic illnesses, global warming, lack of access to education) can only be solved by dynamic thinkers, and problem solvers, invested in positive change. These abilities begin developing early in life, and when addressed in the later years are often done as catch-up, patch-up, repair or damage control. Every level of education is important, from pre-k to post-doc. My angle: It's (relatively) easy to make significant impact on individuals and societies by being intentional about how we treat children's early years. Very young children learn more, faster, and more easily. We can't afford NOT to take advantage of that. So I'm spreading the word on it.
I was away from blogging for a while, and I have re-emerged with a focus on early childhood care/education (ECE for short). I'm mildly surprised that there isn't more on this topic in the BlogHer codex, but only mildly. Let's not pretend like this is the topic that fills up everyone's RSS readers, but the ECE field is dominated by women, as are human services that serve children and families.
Early care and education are important because, as they say, you can tell a lot about a society by they way it treats its children.
There is a lot going on in the little big world of ECE, though. On the national stage, there are the issues brought up by Obama's administration, and their wavering committment (in action, anyway) to early childhood education. We've heard a lot of great rhetoric so far, but we've also seen the Early Learning Challenge Grants pushed off of the table, and federal ECE spending projections based on current trends do not look promising. And while the media keep shoving "Mommy Wars" in our faces, fewer conversations happen about the critical infrastructure that supports working parents: legions of people who have some role in child care and education.
Local conversations on ECE are tending to be about funding within states, as reflected by the Pre-K Now daily news clips; there is a steady stream of letters to the editor and articles in small, local media outlets making the case for supporting early education.
In my own Illnois home, we're facing one of the worst budget crises in the United States, with a projected 13 billion dollar budget deficit, and a slate of politicians who won't even consider revenue increases because the November election looms large in the distance. This is a big issue because ECE funding comes from both education and human services funding streams, (as I outline in my blog post on the IL budget crisis). The places where ECE money come from are, unfortunately, the first to get the axe when it comes to the state budget.
I've been searching BlogHer for writing on early education, and I hope that I can find more as time goes on. If nothing else, you'll be hearing it from me. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in the Blogosphere!
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