FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nancy Parello, (973) 643-3876
Oct. 4, 2010
ACNJ Voters Guide Makes Early Learning A Focus in Congressional Elections
Advocates for Children of New Jersey today released a voter guide about early learning issues for the Congressional elections to be held Nov. 2.
The guide outlines key issues and initiatives being considered on the federal level. These initiatives could strengthen early learning systems throughout the country and in New Jersey, advancing efforts to give all children a strong start in school.
“As education takes the forefront in national debates, it is critical that we focus on a child’s first years in school,” said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New jersey, a non-profit child research and action organization.
“We know that if children are not reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade, their chances of school success are slim,” Zalkind explained. “High-quality preschool gives children a solid start. That must be followed by strong kindergarten programs and early elementary grades that build on a child’s progress from year to year.”
The guide is being released in connection with the national Step Up For Kids campaign, The sponsored by the Every Child Matters Education Fund. The campaign seeks to make children’s issues a national priority.
“Voters need to step up for kids and ask candidates where they stand on issues critical to helping every child succeed in school,” Zalkind said.
The guide outlines three key issues:
Early Learning Challenge Fund. The Obama Administration's Early Learning Challenge Fund would challenge states to improve early learning settings, such as preschool and kindergarten. States would compete to establish model systems that promote child development and school readiness.
Revising “No Child Left Behind.” The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), more commonly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), has to be re-approved by Congress. President Obama has proposed a host of changes. Once “reauthorized,” this new law will replace No Child Left Behind. This will likely bring sweeping changes to classrooms throughout the nation, including New Jersey.
The current proposal outlines steps to support quality early learning but fails to address the real need to provide funds for these programs.
Stronger School Leaders for Young Children. S.3658 would provide professional development for elementary school principals in early childhood education and development. The goal of this bill is to improve the knowledge of elementary school principals in areas related to early childhood education.
Advocates for Children of New Jersey is a statewide, non-profit child research and action organization. For copies of the guide and more information, visit www.acnj.org.
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