August Message from Deb
Let's advocate for all children
Advocacy in the field of early childhood education is so important, and it is a part of my job that I take very seriously.
We have moved beyond the era where parents need a safe place to leave their children while they are at work, to one where we understand the learning that takes place from birth to five. High quality early education programs play such an important role in the lives of young children.
Today as early learning advocates, we are working to:
- define and support ALL programs as they move toward the highest levels of quality.
- give children equitable access to high quality, developmentally appropriate programs.
- build a strong early education workforce through professional development and increased compensation.
I attend MANY meetings where advocacy efforts are discussed and put into place. Movement can be slow and often frustrating.
But recently, we saw a big win in Philadelphia, when the PA Supreme Court ruled in the City’s favor that the Philadelphia Beverage Tax (PBT) is legal and constitutional.
In its first year, the PBT raised $79 million. With this recent ruling, Philadelphia can now move full steam ahead with full program implementation that includes creating 5500 seats for
3 and 4-year-olds in quality PreK programs across the city at no cost to families, as well as developing Community Schools and improving parks, playgrounds, libraries and rec centers.
I fully recognize how fortunate we are at PIC to have all that we do (indoor facilities, outdoor space, a well-educated staff, and to be on stronger financial footing than other programs). We are committed to equity in education and have 64 families who send their children to PIC at no or at a very reduced cost, fostering the diversity that strengthens our community.
While the beverage tax has been a controversial strategy, it is an important one for children and families in Philadelphia. As we build our preschool partnership with Smith Playground (read more about this exciting initiative here), proceeds from the PBT will fund families in this new program, bringing nature and high quality to children in high-need neighborhoods.
There is MUCH work to do (both at PIC and for ALL children). As parents and supporters of early childhood education, there is an important role for you in this fight. I invite you to get involved, advocate for all our children, and persuade your legislators.
Young children have but one chance to get the strong foundation they need and deserve. We must give it it to every one of them!
Resources to get you started:
- First Up: “We are champions for early education.”
- Public Citizens for Children and Youth: “We help to expand the affordability, quality and accessibility of early childhood learning.”
- Pre-K for PA: “We are a campaign of supporters and organizations who all believe that investing in our children is the right choice and an urgent necessity.”
- Pennsylvania Child Care Association: “We exist to be a strong and effective advocate for high-quality early care and education programs.”