How Should the Field of Early Childhood Education Shape the Message of What It Wants From Politicians? | Policy [M]atters, Episode 2

by Teri Talan and Susan Ochshorn

This video chat was recorded on September 29, 2015, by the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University. This is episode two of Policy [M]atters, an early childhood education policy video chat series featuring Susan Ochshorn of ECE PolicyWorks and Teri Talan of the McCormick Center.

In this episode, Susan and Teri discuss how the field of early childhood education should shape the message of what it wants from politicians. Susan advocates for the need for ECE leaders and practitioners to be present at the policy tables and to be vocal about the value of the field. Teri questions whether being at the policy table is enough when too often policy and politics collide. Teri calls for ECE professionals to engage in the political process— to probe politicians on their commitment to support each of the core components of an integrated early childhood system and to  enact budgets that support early learning and development services for vulnerable children birth through age eight. Susan and Teri vocalize the importance of elections at all levels—not just the presidential race. Susan also calls for ECE professionals to believe in themselves and in the power and value of the field—which is based on research and evidence. Teri urges all of us to take the next step of meeting with our elected officials and candidates for public office. She stresses the importance of not settling for the typical sound bite answers but to educate and advocate for what our most vulnerable young children need to thrive.

Below are some questions Susan and Teri have provided to encourage all ECE professionals to be proactive rather than reactive:

How do you know which politician to contact? Use this link to find out!

Dr. Teri Talan is Director of Policy Initiatives at the McCormick Center and Professor of Early Childhood Education at National Louis University. She promotes action by state and national policymakers on early childhood workforce and program administration issues.

Susan Ochshorn is the founder ECE PolicyWorks and author of Squandering America’s Future: Why ECE Policy Matters for Equality, Our Economy, and Our Children. She works in a broad range of settings to bridge research, policy, and practice, to integrate ECE into the larger education reform conversation, and to catalyze social change.