This week, as we mourn with the nation and say goodbye to Senator Ted Kennedy, we remember his work as an advocate and champion for young children and early educators. Early in his career, Senator Kennedy was instrumental in implementing legislation that provided access to health, education, and nutrition services for low-income women, infants, and children. Through the years, he continued to work on expanding services to disadvantaged families and children with disabilities. He helped establish a child care program for the Department of Defense, was instrumental in creating and expanding the Head Start and Even Start programs, sponsored the Family and Medical Leave Act, and helped to enact the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Senator Kennedy continuously made efforts to inform other policy makers (and citizens) about the importance of high quality early care and education by placing an emphasis on access, workforce development, curriculum, resources, and standards. His commitment to this discussion is demonstrated in his own words: “The next great frontier of our commitment to reform should be early childhood education. The politics are complicated but the goal is simple. Every child should start school ready to learn (remarks made at the National Press Club, January 16, 2002).”
You can read more about Senator Ted Kennedy and his legislative history here.