Early Experiences Matter!
Policy Makers can make a difference for Connecticut's Young Children.
1) Complete the establishment of the Office of Early Childhood (OEC). It is crucual that the Legislature enact a bill to formally establish the Office of Early Childhood. At present, the OEC exists only by Executive Order and its fund reallocations in the state budget.
2) Address issues facing the early childhood workforce. Early childhood teachers play a critical role in a child's early years and in his future success. Recognizing the importance of highly qualified teachers, Connecticut has mandated that all early childhood teachers in state funded programs must have a B.A. degree by 2020. However, not enough teachers are graduating with degrees to meet the demand and there is little incentive to attract and retain teachers because the wages are so low.
3) Increase state and federal funding for early childhood. Budget cuts and rescissions have taken a toll on programs for young children. Adjusted for inflation total state funding for early care and education in 2013 decreased by $4.2 million since 2012, and remains more than 10% below 2002 levels. If we are to succeed in efforts to improve outcomes for young children, funding across a wide range of activities must rise.