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Connecticut Receives Resources to Expand Pre-K Resources

Click here for the Malloy-Wyman Administration’s statement on the new grant.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten participated in a panel at the forum, which was convened by President Barack Obama and brought together policymakers, educators and advocates, as well as business and community leaders to talk about the importance of quality early childhood education. 
Click here to learn more about the “Invest in Us” campaign launched at the summit.
“The most important determinant of a high-quality early learning program is the educator who nurtures, guides and educates our children,” Weingarten said. “Right now, many early educators aren’t getting a living wage. Nearly half rely on public assistance, costing taxpayers $2.4 billion annually. That’s why it’s vital that we give the early child care workforce the resources, working conditions and wages they need to help put our nation’s early learners on a path to success.”
In their application submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for the grant, the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood specifically committed to use the resources to offer compensation for pre-K teachers “equal to K-12 teachers.” This is key to assuring that families served will have access to high quality pre-school programs taught by certified educators.
Click here for press coverage of the early education grant awarded to Connecticut.
Speakers at the summit addressed numerous paths for achieving a goal that our union, both at the state and national levels, has long advocated for; universal access to high quality preschool for all children. President Obama urged action from the new congress, saying, “it will not just grow the economy for everybody — it will change young lives forever.”
Click here to watch the president’s opening remarks at the summit.
“We are proud to work with the White House on this important effort, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that all children have access to high-quality early childhood education” added Weingarten. “As these public and private partners commit to invest in early childhood education today, we hope that they will invest in the educators who are giving our nation’s early learners a strong start on life.”
Click here for a fact sheet on the investments and grants announced at the summit.
AFT Connecticut earlier this year participated in precisely this type of public-private partnership, which successfully created the Connecticut Smart Start pre-K initiative. The competitive grant program was the product of collaboration among legislative leaders, the Malloy-Wyman Administration, community-based private, non-profit providers, and both our union and the Connecticut Education Association. 
Smart Start no doubt factored into the federal education department’s choice to reward Connecticut’s efforts to expand the reach of high-quality preschool services to more of our state’s families in need. Congratulations to all our partners who have advocated so passionately and effectively for universal pre-K.

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