On September 25, 2017, The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading hosted a panel to discuss current opportunities within early childhood. Aaliyah Samuel (National Governors Association) moderated the panel, which included Sue Renner (David and Laura Merage Foundation), Katharine Stevens (American Enterprise Institute), Yasmina Vinci (National Head Start Association, and commentator, Samantha Aigner-Treworgy (City of Chicago, Mayor’s Office).
The panel outlined progress and needed changes into four categories: What’s Working; What’s Needed; What’s Challenging; and Key Takeaways, Insights, & Next Steps. The panel recognized a local nonprofit, Early Learning Ventures, and their successful partnership with Early Head Start; providing high-quality early childhood education to Colorado’s low-income children and families. The panelists agreed that alignment across all early childhood programs serving children from birth to kindergarten is definitely needed to increase the quality of care. One key aspect that panelists found challenging was navigating the various political changes that impact the policies attached with providing care and the amount of funding allocated to these programs, ultimately impacting the lives of the families and children served.