YOUR OPINION: Letters to the Editor March 13, 2013

By NEMS Daily Journal

Early education needs to start in fall of 2013
Representing 11 licensed early care and education programs in Monroe County and 743 children, we want to express our thanks to the leadership in both the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate for their acknowledgment of the importance of early childhood education. The passage of HB 781 and 2395 provide additional opportunities to increase high quality learning experiences for 4-year-olds in our state. The model of community collaboration outlined in the bills is one that is recognized nationally and has a record of proven success.
We have worked for many years to improve the quality of the programs we provide in our communities and continue to “grow” the quality aspect that is present in everything we do for our children and their families. It is for that reason we feel compelled to write and express our thanks, but to also outline what we feel should be present in the final version of the bill that is signed by the governor.
We feel:
• The program should start in school year 2014 with the 2013-2014 year spent in developing the guidance and assessments needed to support a successful program.
• A uniform standard of quality that all participating members of any pre-kindergarten collaborative should meet be included in legislation.
• Funding for the programs should be at the highest level as defined in SB 2396.
Many of us have committed our lives to educating young children and are pleased to join in community collaborations that will expand our work and improve the lives of all citizens in the years to come.
Cathy Grace, Ed.D.
Director, Early Childhood Education
Gilmore Early Learning Initiative
Amory, MS,, and
Directors, Horizon Early Care and Educaton Centers, Monroe County , MS