NAEYC celebrated another successful, empowering policy forum in our nation's capital! From February 28 through March 1, more than 200 advocates from 42 states and the District of Columbia gathered in Washington, DC, for an electoral advocacy bootcamp, phone-banking, sessions with experts, meetings with Congress, and much more. For more information, read some highlights below; check out #earlyedin16 on Twitter; see this newsletter; and find more pictures here!
SUNDAY: Early Ed for President!
It’s an election year – and to celebrate, we kicked off the 2016 Public Policy Forum with an electoral advocacy bootcamp! After setting the stage for how to engage this election cycle as a 501(c)3, participants spent the rest of the day learning more about NAEYC’s exciting new Early Ed for President campaign and acquiring skills they can use for media relations, grassroots organizing, voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities. The highlight of the day was a lively panel presentation, moderated by NAEYC’s Executive Director Rhian Evans Allvin and featuring a bipartisan group of high-level political professionals – Jenny Backus, Amy O’Leary and Matt Rhoades – giving us a behind-the-scenes look at campaigns, strategies and candidates.
MONDAY: Policy to Advance the Profession
Grounding the day in the Institute of Medicine’s new, seminal report Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8, we launched into a full day of sessions and conversations about advancing the early childhood profession. We heard uplifting remarks from Roberto Rodriguez, from the White House Domestic Policy Council, who called our critical work “nation-building.” From learning about NAEYC’s market research data to participating in breakout sessions on financing, race and equity, and evaluating their advocacy efforts, participants dug deep into the issues. They also had time to prepare for their Hill visits, in an “Advocacy 101” session and with presentations on the federal budget, CCDBG and the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We ended the day out in phone-banking force, with members calling members in Super Tuesday states to remind them to get out and vote the next day!
TUESDAY: NAEYC’s Day on the Hill!
With over 200 visits to the offices of their own Senators and Representatives, early childhood education advocates flooded the Hill on Tuesday ready to, as one team said, “share our passion for early childhood education”! Here’s what some participants had to say about their visits – and the work that is already underway back in their own states:
- “Our Senate meeting was excellent. I went in with expectations that they would listen, say thanks and be done. Instead what we got was a full sit down conversation collaborating with our senator and staffer… [who] listened to everything we said and were very receptive to it all. I left really happy and confident that together we would make a difference.”
- “[I got to]…watch the very nervous, scared, NAEYC-Accredited center director on our team blossom during the Forum, and see her become a confident advocate, who shared just the right information at just the right time, to add context to our Hill conversations. That is a skill she will be able to share with her staff, and use in her local and state community.”
- “After meeting with a [staffer] for two years now, we have made substantial progress and are setting up meetings [in our state] for joint campaigns and other efforts!”
Friends and Partner Organizations:
NAEYC thanks our many friends and partner organizations who shared their time, resources and expertise to make this year’s Public Policy Forum a success: Advocacy and Communications Strategies; Alliance for Justice; American Federation of Teachers; Center for American Progress; Center for Evaluation Innovation; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Children's Village; Integrated Web Strategy; J. Marion Sims Foundation; League of Women Voters; National Association for Family Child Care; National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund; National Women's Law Center; New America Foundation; Save the Children Action Network; Early Education for All / Strategies for Children; White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.