By Leila Sammander
Research shows a child’s first years form the foundation for future learning and development. States have a critical role in providing children with access to high-quality early learning opportunities during the early years that can increase educational equity and have long-term benefits for children.
During her year as CCSSO’s Board President and Mississippi Superintendent of Education, Carey Wright, is focusing on early learning – Commitment No. 6 in the Leading for Equity report -- and how state chiefs can increase early learning opportunities for all children and ensure quality in PreK programs. As part of this work, CCSSO recently launched the Promoting High-Quality Prekindergarten Network, a network of nine states working together over 18 months to use their role as state K-12 leaders to improve the funding, access, and policies that support state-funded preschool programs for all students. The following states have joined the network: Mississippi, New York, Minnesota, Tennessee, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Maine, Colorado, and Delaware.
In January, we kicked off the 18-month initiative during the Chiefs’ Summit on High-Quality PreK in Washington D.C. The event brought together over 65 participants from eight state teams. Chiefs from three network states were in attendance and shared what they hope to accomplish in their state through this initiative. Superintendent Wright, Commissioner Brenda Cassellius from Minnesota and Commissioner MaryEllen Elia from New York discussed their vision of early education and how they are ensuring access to high-quality PreK in their states during a panel discussion. Attendees also heard from national experts Dr. Ellen Frede from National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and Dr. Jason Sachs from the Boston Public Schools, who presented on strategies that state education agencies can take to address the emerging achievement gaps by third grade.
Learn more about CCSSO’s work on Early Childhood Education and download this edition of our States Leading newsletter to find out how states are working to ensure high-quality PreK for each and every child.
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