Citizen Action Matters

Advocating for Quality Education for All

One thread of our efforts in the Union Church Early Childhood Initiative, a.k.a. Before We Get to Mars, is advocacy for quality early childhood education for all. Research demonstrates that the early years are the paramount time to positively influence the trajectory of children’s lives. There is a positive domino effect for society, including financial benefits.

Over the last several months, as we continue to move closer to the goal of opening a preschool in Summit, we’ve also been following proposed national legislation that would greatly expand access to early childhood education nationwide. Although things have been on-again/off-again in Congress, as of today, 1/5/22, conversation on the early childhood component of the larger Build Back Better legislation is still active. This part of the legislation could potentially provide $400 billion to help states build universal prekindergarten and affordable child care programs over six years. Its goal is to ensure that families would spend no more than 7% of their total income on child care. This
was exciting news for the UCECI team whose stated goal is to increase access to high-quality, affordable early childhood education for all.

We encourage you to call the offices of Senator Joe Manchin at 202.224.3954, and encourage him “to support the inclusion of early childhood education funding in any final version of the Build Back Better Act, or other legislation.”  That quote is the key phrase to use. Beyond that, just speak from the heart! You can also send him a message at this link.

You can also contact our Illinois’ senators encouraging them to do whatever is possible to advance the early childhood education components of any proposed legislation. Here is Dick Durbin’s contact page, and here it is for Tammy Duckworth.  Phone calls to their Washington offices are best (you might need to scroll down to find those numbers). Emails / the official contact form are second best.

For now, we all need to keep an eye on this and continue to advocate for badly-needed expansion of early childhood services, not just here in Illinois, but all across the country, whatever legislative form that takes. The UCECI Advocacy team will keep you updated. We’re proud to be part of a congregation with such a strong commitment to early-childhood education!

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