Early Childhood Education for ALL is Key to Success

| June 30, 2014

Great LETTER TO THE EDITOR in this week’s Az Daily Sun!

To the editor:

The editorial dated 04/17/14, “If Massachusetts can…” discussed the presentation by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education on improving student performance. You concluded that Flagstaff can succeed by following the Massachusetts’ model of committed, long-term public-private partnerships and voter advocacy. Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth (CCC&Y) whole-heartedly agrees and would like to emphasize the importance of starting this long term commitment with investment in early childhood education.

The Flagstaff Commission on Excellence in Education’s Early Childhood Taskforce recently invited business and community leaders to discuss strategies for bringing world-class early education to the forefront of our agenda. Guest speaker Dr. Karin Ortiz, Helios Foundation, shared a powerful message, “We need to provide quality early childhood education for ALL, not just some.”

The diverse group identified the following three strategies:

Recruit and retain high quality early childhood professionals; advocate for quality learning opportunities; expand access to enriching early learning experiences, to high quality preschool, and to parenting information and resources.

Currently, Flagstaff has only 11 early care and education programs that voluntarily participate in Quality First, a quality improvement and child care scholarship initiative of First Things First. Additionally, the Coconino Community Education Report 2013 revealed that: “Less than half (47 percent) of all students county-wide were proficient and kindergarten-ready…”

It is time to create the partnerships and statewide voter initiatives necessary to expand families’ access to quality learning programs, and as Dr. Ortiz so clearly stated, start providing quality early childhood education for ALL, not just some.

Kathy Farretta

Parent and Community Outreach Coordinator

Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth

 

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Category: Education

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