notes from Amy
On July 2 at the State House, legislators on the Joint Committee of Education heard passionate testimony in support of several early education bills, covering preschool expansion, affordable child care, workforce pay equity, and more. You can read our hearing recap here .
As important as what was being said was, who was saying it - parents, educators, program directors, and community leaders.
We organized three panels of testifiers including a panel of educators who taught in a classroom funded by the federal Preschool Expansion Grant – which is set to expire in August 2019 . The panel included Jessica Merrill, Square One Teacher from Springfield, Efrain Ponce Hamlet from Little Sprouts in Lowell, Nicole Penney from GLCAC in Lawrence and Clifford Kwong from Ellis in Boston.
As I mentioned in my testimony to introduce the panel, I started as a preschool teacher over 20 years ago at Ellis in Boston. Last year I was at an event at the Boston Public Library and a young man walked up to me and said, “My name is Clifford Kwong, and you were my preschool teacher.”
Yes, Clifford was a preschool student in the very first class I taught at Ellis. And NOW, Clifford is a PreK teacher AT Ellis. It has been amazing to get to know Cliff as an adult and talented teacher and to learn more about his teaching philosophy and why he belives in the power of early education.
As we continue advocating for policy change and increased public investments in young children and families, we are committed to including the voices of those most impacted by policies: families and educators. We are confident that lasting, meaningful change will not occur without parents and educators at the table. Their stories, experiences, and insights can help inform programs and policies that work for young children, and should not be treated as an afterthought.