The Ready for Kindergarten Campaign, a campaign that champions the right of all children to a high quality early learning opportunities starting at birth, applauds the New York State Board of Regents for committing to provide quality early childhood education to the youngest New Yorkers. The Regents, under the leadership of Chancellor Betty Rosa and Blue Ribbon Committee co-chairs, Regent Lester Young and Luis Reyes, convened several meetings with a broad cross section of early childhood and education stakeholders. The committee created a set of recommendations to ensure children start life with the best possible foundation of health, learning and development they need to succeed in school and life. The new recommendations promote programs and comprehensive services for young children, including expanding quality pre-K, strengthening the early childhood workforce and the First 1000 Days on Medicaid and creating a system of statewide supports and infrastructure that includes a cost study on providing quality pre-K.
The recommendations reflect the importance of a comprehensive understanding of children and family needs. This attention to high standards of classroom practice, recognition of supports for multi-lingual learners and children with special needs and attention to access to the range of services that families and children need, coupled with a review of the investments needed to support high-quality services reflects a deep understanding of the multi-faceted strategies that will ensure children succeed to the maximum of their potential.
The Blue Ribbon Committee Recommendations provide a roadmap to addressing significant next steps in strengthening the state’s significant pre-K program as part of a diverse delivery system of services birth to age 8. While we applaud this roadmap and will work to ensure its implementation, we want to call upon the state to adopt a more robust investment in pre-K reaching the goal of universal in the next five years ensuring that no children in the state are left behind. The research is clear that this is no more effective investment that the state can make in launching the next generation of children on the path to educational success. To most effectively achieve this goal, the state must also increase its investment in the early childhood workforce through multiple strategies that address equity in compensation across settings and provide multiple pathways to certification.
We call on the governor to take these recommendations and provide quality early learning and pre-K to all children as he promised our children years ago. It’s time to make the promise reality.
The Ready for Kindergarten Ready for College Campaign members are the Center for Children’s Initiatives, the Schuyler Center for Advocacy and Analysis, the Alliance for Quality Education and Citizen Action of New York.
—Submitted by the Center for Children’s Initiatives