01/14/2016

Preserving the progress of early childhood education

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During his final State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted the bipartisan work that led to the enactment in December of the Every Student Succeeds Act, ending the No Child Left Behind era. He said the nation can build on this work by recruiting and supporting great teachers and by "providing pre-K for all [and] offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one."

AFT member Erma Voss"The president is very much a leader, and he definitely understands that preschool has a major role in any effort to make students successful," says Erma Voss, a National Board-certified early childhood educator in Chicago. Voss watched the speech and was delighted to see the president return to early childhood education. He is making it a real "legacy issue," she says.

Preserving that legacy will be a major goal in 2016. Hillary Clinton, the AFT's endorsed candidate in the Democratic presidential primary, has done more than any candidate in either party to campaign around a fully articulated strategy for early childhood education.

"Children deserve early education to help them continue on," Voss says. "What we can't afford is to see this pushed to the side" in the next administration.

[Mike Rose]