Speak Up, Call In

The Wisconsin Early Learning Coalition, of which WECA is a founding member, is asking the Wisconsin Legislature to invest an additional $3 million (at a minimum) to help child care programs improve and meet the standards that will be established in a quality rating system. The Coalition believes that $2 million of that amount is available from federal stimulus funds already set aside for quality improvement in the Child Care and Development Block Grant. This additional funding should go for enhanced technical assistance, scholarships and wage supplements through the T.E.A.C.H. and R.E.W.A.R.D. programs, and grants or higher payments to programs meeting quality standards.

WECA needs you to help us inform legislators about the specific need to increase funding for the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN scholarship program and the R.E.W.A.R.D.™ WISCONSIN stipend program at levels that will sustain them both. These programs are important as they produce a well educated and fairly compensated child care workforce- an integral part of high-quality care. Currently, there are already close to 1,000 R.E.W.A.R.D. recipients on a waiting list to receive their stipends and the demand for T.E.A.C.H. scholarships is anticipated to surpass program funding as we near the fall 2009 semester.

WECA is organizing a CALL-IN DAY on TUESDAY, MARCH 31 from 9 AM – 3 PM. Please call your legislators! Visit www.legis.wisconsin.gov/waml and enter your home mailing address to find the phone numbers for your state senator and representative. Also, call the chairs of the Joint Finance Committee. They’re in charge of the budget process and need to hear from you too: Representative Mark Pocan (608) 266-8570 and Senator Mark Miller (608) 266-9170.

Here is an example of what you can say: “My name is (your name) and I live in (city), Wisconsin. I am a child care provider / teacher / director at (name of program). I am (or will be) on the waiting list for the R.E.W.A.R.D. Stipend Program. Or, I am a T.E.A.C.H. recipient/sponsor. Quality child care depends on retaining a well educated, fairly compensated workforce. R.E.W.A.R.D./T.E.A.C.H. is crucial to making that a reality. Increase funding to this/these program(s)!”

And that’s it! If your legislator or their staff person asks questions, tell them to call the R.E.W.A.R.D.™ WISCONSIN Stipend Program at 608-240-9880, extension 7239 or the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN scholarship program at 608-240-9880, extension 7229 for more information. We’ll be happy to give them all the details!

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