As of ysterday, June 24th, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed an executive order to establish an Office of Early Childhood. This decision is in response to the failing of the General Assembly bill that would have established an Early Childhood Cabinet. This cabinet would transfer authority from various state agencies to one office that would be responsible for delivering early childhood services.
Malloy explains that the bill was going to pass if not for some political differences as evident by the allocation of $127 million in the first year and $232 million in the second year of the already passed state budget to the office. The order used these funds to create a “coordinated system of early child care and education” by July 1, the first day of the fiscal year, which will allow services to go on interrupted.
The OEC (Office of Early Childhood) builds on the work done in 2012 when Connecticut “invested $9.8 million in early childhood initiatives, created 1,000 new spots for early learners, invested $3 million for a tiered quality rating and improvement system, and sought collaborative partnerships for the Office of Early Childhood Planning.”
Despite continued disagreements between the parties and further criticism, Malloy stated that this order is simply a temporary solution until the bill can be reintroduced and passed in the next legislative session. He explained that “the key to improving education in our state is better access to quality early learning opportunities for every single child. The Office of Early Childhood represents an important step toward reaching that ultimate goal.”
Today, June 25th, Malloy has appointed Dr. Jones-Taylor to serve as Executive Director of the OEC. Dr. Jones-Taylor currently serves as Director of the state Office of Early Childhood Planning, a position she was appointed to by Governor Malloy in 2012.
Governor Malloy also believes that the establishment of this office is the first step to creating a universal pre-K system which he successfully implemented in Stamford when he served as Mayor.