One of the early childhood organizations I have chosen to follow is NIEER. There is a wide variety of information available through this organization on the latest trends and issues in early childhood. This week’s course focus has been on the connection economists, neuroscientist and politicians have on the field of early childhood. There are many critical connections each of these groups have on early childhood programs. Among them politicians may have the largest impact on early childhood policies and funding.
Through my exploration of NIEER web site, I found a press release titled, Remarks by Secretary Arne Duncan The State of Preschool. (NIEER, 2013) Throughout this press release Duncan discusses the positive and negative state preschool is in. Duncan shared, 30 governors increased funding for state preschool programs in 2012. This shows a direct connection between politicians and the state of early childhood programs. No one wants children’s welfare to come down to the topic of money. However, without the proper funding early childhood programs will not be able to meet the needs of our youngest learners.
The NIEER Yearbook reported fewer than 30% of US 4 year-olds are enrolled in state-funded preschool programs and 10 states in the still do not offer state funded programs. The US is ranked 25th of the industrialized countries who enroll 4 year-old in early learning programs. In Germany and Japan 95% of 4 year-olds are enrolled in early learning programs. (NIEER, 2013) These facts tell me we as a country need to focus on our earliest learners and provide equal opportunity for all children to begin their educational path, but to not loses site of developmentally appropriate practice in teaching.
Duncan went on to acknowledge the critical local impact of mayoral support for early childhood programs. Elected officials at every level make decisions and policies that affect early childhood programs. We as members of our community need to vote for elected officials at the local level and all the way up the chain that will support and advocate for early childhood programs. We must hold our elected officials accountable for supporting early childhood programs.