WHEELING, IL — April 21, 2015 — With constant threats to state funding for early childhood education, there has never been a more important time for leaders in the field to exchange ideas and advocate for a strong education for our youngest children.
The past several months have brought a whirlwind of emotions for early childhood education (ECE) professionals in Illinois.
First there was the exhilaration surrounding the December 10 announcement of $1 billion in public/private ECE funding and the acknowledgement by President Obama that the early years are indeed critical learning years.
Then, just weeks later, came the Illinois budget crisis. Some child care programs were forced to shut their doors as they awaited payment from a backlogged state comptroller’s office. Others sat on pins and needles, wondering whether they would have to follow suit.
While Governor Rauner has stated he would like to see an increase in early childhood education funding, no service is safe while tough decisions are being made in the state Capitol.
The time is now for ECE professionals to advocate and get involved. On May 13-16, 2015, the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University will provide early childhood leaders an opportunity to do just that.
The Leadership Connections™ national conference supports early childhood administrators and other leaders in the field by inviting them to join the conversation with a full-day advocacy session sponsored by The Ounce; a 2-hour public policy forum led by Joan Lombardi, a visionary leader and author of the seminal book on advocacy, Speaking Out; a policy session track with 7 forums; messages of inspiration during the Paula Jorde Bloom Leadership Colloquium; and several opportunities to be inspired by peers. As of the morning of April 21, 2015, more than 430 ECE leaders from 26 states, Washington D.C., and Canada are registered to attend the conference.
Leadership Connections offers an exceptional professional development experience where early childhood professionals can learn, network, and reenergize with internationally and nationally recognized ECE presenters. The conference is designed specifically around leaders in the early childhood field and is held annually in Wheeling, IL. This year marks the conference’s 15th anniversary.