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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Partnership to Strengthen Early Childhood Education

– Courtesy photo / Kate Lundy (CC-BY 2.0)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that California will receive a grant and support to strengthen the quality of early childhood care and education. California will join a partnership with the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) titled Improving the Early Childhood Education Workforce.

The California Department of Education aims to develop a statewide system of certification, preparation, and support for early childhood professionals. CCSSO and NGA will provide ongoing technical assistance, and up to $12,500 to support the development of a policy agenda.

“We want to ensure a high-quality workforce across the continuum of early learning and care settings that can effectively meet the needs of children from birth through age eight,” said Torlakson. “Working together, we can set students up for success, so they come to school ready to learn, ready to discover their inner strengths, and ready to dream big and go far.”

Research shows that high-quality care and education in the earliest years of life has a positive effect on children. In addition, there is growing understanding of the need for a knowledgeable and skilled workforce to provide quality early childhood education.

Ten states will participate in the Improving the Early Childhood Education Workforce partnership. The NGA Center for Best Practices Education Division’s project will provide technical assistance and grants for the development of a policy agenda to Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, and North Carolina. CCSSO will provide technical assistance and grants for Michigan, Maryland, California, and Pennsylvania. Together, these states will receive support to develop and carry out action plans focused on one or more specific state policy priorities.

“CCSSO is proud to partner with the National Governors Association to support states as they strengthen the quality of early childhood education and increase access to these important opportunities for all families,” said Carissa Moffat Miller, executive director of CCSSO.

Support for this project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Alliance for Early Success, the Foundation for Child Development, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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