As a mom of four, I’ve been privileged to watch my children develop from infancy to adulthood, exploring their own interests and achieving their own goals through the enrichment of education. For a child, education opens the doors to curiosity, confidence, and skill. It’s never too early to nurture these qualities and it never gets old to see talent blossom into excellence.
Curiosity, confidence, and skill are born in each and every child. They are fundamental to the success of individual development and to the success of our communities. They are the building blocks of both personal fulfillment and productivity. The unfortunate reality, though, is that for too long we have had uneven access to the resources essential for early childhood learning. The resources that promote school readiness, lifelong learning, and maturing healthfully into society and careers are not uniform across our state. This uneven access leaves behind too many children and also has a real impact on our communities, workforce, and economy. It’s time to improve our system and the outcomes that depend on it.
This year, I have worked with Senator Janet Howell on a major strategic advancement for our system of early childhood education. It’s a significant measure designed to create better learning opportunities for all children and greater accountability for publicly-funded programs. I’m proud to join hands in this effort with colleagues who are superlative ambassadors on behalf of Virginia’s children. Together, we are advancing a plan (SB 1313) to elevate education and developmental resources for our youngest generations.
The idea that we have proposed unifies the standards for early childhood education and kindergarten readiness through a dynamic public-private system that adheres to state-level accountability while also allowing regions the flexibility to address their unique population needs. This proposal protects private provider programs and creates incentives and rewards for effective innovation and exceptional performance. The proposed organization will be more efficient in administering education and informing parents of the availability and quality of resources, and with greater transparency it will ensure a more accountable investment of public funds.
I look forward to sharing updates with you as this proposal moves forward. Its success means that the quality of early childhood education and Virginia children’s opportunity to excel will no longer vary by zip code or income. It means that each Virginia child will be presented with open doors to curiosity, confidence, and skill. That’s good for our families and our children and it’s good for Virginia’s future.