OLÉ Working Parents Association
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Today, members of a new partnership—the PEOPLE for the Kids—posted a proclamation on the doors of the Children, Youth and Families Department in Albuquerque to hold CYFD accountable for its continued underfunding of early childhood education in New Mexico. The PEOPLE for the Kids detailed CYFD’s failure to support commonsense policy to address the crisis in early education, and it announced a new type of partnership between preschool owners, educators and parents with a business plan containing innovative solutions that will change the early education and care industry.
“Our state is a hostile environment for young children,” says Cecilia Maldonado, a leader of the OLÉ Working Parents Association. “CYFD is turning away parents who need child care contracts. Gov. Susana Martinez and the Legislature have rejected proposals to fund high-quality early education for all our children, so we are taking steps to improve the system, ourselves.”
“This partnership is a great example of what can happen when parents, educators, small business owners and the community come together to say ‘enough is enough,’ it is time to do what’s best for kids,” says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents approximately 90,000 early childhood educators across the country. “Money spent on early childhood education and care makes good economic sense. Studies have shown that every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood programs saves us up to $8 in the future. And most importantly, early childhood education programs help level the playing field so that all kids have the same opportunities to grow and learn.”
“Even if children are not born into the best circumstances, all children deserve an equal chance to succeed,” says Carmella Salinas, an early educator in Española. “As early childhood education and care professionals, we are partnering with owners and parents to ensure that all children have access to the high-quality education and care that the state, the governor and CYFD have failed to provide.”
“This is our business plan to save New Mexico’s early childhood education system,” says Sherry Carl, owner of Smart Start Day School & Learning Center in Bosque Farms. “We are looking to take on the issues ourselves, to self-fund indicatives to improve the quality of care and the health and safety of the workplace and child environment, without raising costs for parents.”
In response to inadequate resources and poor state policy, parents, educators and preschool owners and directors have formed a formal partnership to expand access to early learning and improve quality through innovative collaboration and public policy advocacy. The partnership announced several innovations that it is developing:
The creation of a substitute educator pool;
- A paid sick leave trust fund;
- An enhanced, scientifically based and relevant professional development program;
- Joint advocacy to secure additional resources for equitable access to high-quality early education; and
- Continued collaboration among preschool owners, educators and parents to ensure all kids, regardless of parent income status, have the opportunity to prepare properly for kindergarten.
# # # #
The Parents, Educators and Owners Partnering for Learning in Early-education for the Kids (PEOPLE for the Kids) includes New Mexico Early Educators United, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers; the Quality Early Learning Association, which represents preschool owners; and the OLÉ Working Parents Association, which represents more than 4,000 parents of young children throughout New Mexico.