Early Learning Issue Getting Traction in Chicago, Illinois and Nationally: POWER-PAC Gaining Recognition

In light of President Obama’s call last night for increased investment in preschool, we are excited that our early learning work is making an impact in Chicago and Illinois.

The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development applauded the work of parent leaders in Englewood in a letter: “The progress your community has made in collaboration building and serving hard to reach populations is impressive.” (View the full letter here.)

In the letter, the Governor’s office refers to the work parents are doing to build the Southside Early Learning Network. This fall, they recruited 130 families for infant and toddler home-visiting programs by going door-to-door, and they helped bring together families, agencies, and local officials to coordinate early learning efforts in the area.

And, just last week on February 8th, the City of Chicago Deputy Commissioner and Director of Head Start, Vanessa Rich, told POWER-PAC that its work on early learning has been key to the creation of the Mayor’s citywide initiative – Ready to Learn. The initiative aims to get all early education systems working together seamlessly – one of the POWER-PAC parents’ recommendations.

She congratulated parents on bringing this issue to the City years ago and being persistent in demanding City action. She also thanked them for their hard work and success in recruiting children for Head Start. This year they reached 8,500 families and made 1,070 referrals.

POWER-PAC’s Early Learning Campaign is clearly making a difference locally to increase access for low-income families to quality early learning programs. And, now, we are excited taht the efforts of POWER-PAC, our early learning partnesr and many other advocates across the country have gained the President’s support to put this issue on the national agenda. In his State of the Union address, the President proposed…. “working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.”

We wholeheartedly support the President’s proposal and will continue to push so that all children can have access to quality early education programs!