Yesterday, in the first of a series of hearings devoted to early childhood education, the United States House Education and Labor Committee met to discuss the importance of development in early childhood. Legislators heard testimony from several invited experts in the field from across the country. Speakers included Harriet Meyer of the Illinois Early Learning Council, Jessie Rasmussen of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, James Redmon of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, Holly Robinson of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, Don Soifer of the Lexington Institute, and Helene Stebbins of the National Center on Children in Poverty. Some key topics that were discussed include the importance of collaboration across early childhood domains (Head Start, private preschools, pre-k, etc.), accessibility and accountability of services, the critical need for quality child care for children in poverty, and the importance of competition in regards to raising standards. You can access copies of the testimony presented here.
A second hearing will take place tomorrow, March 19th, at 10am eastern time. The Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee will address the topic of “Improving Early Childhood Development Policies and Practices.” You can watch the hearing live online by clicking here. Invited speakers for this hearing will include Harriet Dichter from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Sue Russell from the Child Care Services Association in North Carolina, Gina Adams from the Urban Institute’s Center on Labor, Human Services and Population, and Dr. Lillian Lowery from the Delaware Department of Education.