This afternoon the legislature's Education Committee placed Senate Bill 25, An Act Establishing the Office of Early Childhood (OEC), on its consent calendar -- a move which allows the bill to leave the committee and go to the Senate for a possible vote.
This development is an important first step for the OEC. The OEC currently exists only by Executive Order, with funding that was provided last year by the legislature. As those following this office may remember, last year the General Assembly failed to pass a bill that would create the OEC, but at the same time passed a budget that included reference to it and resources for its creation. (Read more about this here.)
It is critical that the legislature complete the work necessary to codify the Office of Early Childhood. The OEC represents an opportunity for real reform in the early care community. If fully implemented, this office will bring together early childhood and education programs from across five state agencies, and puts these programs under a team that is dedicated to creating a true system that works for children, parents, and providers. The failure to put the OEC securely in statute threatens the success of this effort.
We will continue to track SB 25, as well as other important early childhood bills including:
- SB 26, An Act Expanding Opportunities for Early Childhood Education -- contains parts of the Governor's initiative to expand access to preK;
- HB 5522, An Act Concerning School Readiness Funding -- increase the per child reimbursement for full-day school readiness programs; and
- Senate Resolution 9 and House Resolution 5 -- these resolutions approve the collective bargaining agreement between the Office of Early Childhood and the new child care worker union, includes raises in Care4Kids funding.
Keep checking the blog for future updates throughout the session.