Another Huge Endorsement: Bernie Sanders
Sen Bernie Sanders has joined the growing list of Vermont leaders who endorse our work to secure respect, quality and a seat at the table where policy decisions are made. Here's what he had to say:
Dear Vermont Early Educators:
I would like to congratulate all of the child care providers who have come together to form your union, Vermont Early Educators. I know you have been working hard bringing child care providers from all parts of the state together to speak with a unified voice—and I support you in your efforts.
I don’t have to tell any of you that we have a crisis in early childhood education in this country. With a huge number of households where both parents work, with an increasing number of households with single working parents, with an increasing number of children growing up in poverty, too many American children do not receive the high quality early care they need.
Research and science have shown that the experiences children have and the relationships they form in the first five years of their lives have a very significant impact on their future learning and growth. One way we can truly improve our childcare in America and in Vermont is to treat child care providers as the true professionals you are. Too often, child care providers are paid extremely low salaries and with poor benefits, factors that encourage talented professionals NOT to enter the profession. We must pay our childcare workers like any teacher, give you good benefits, and assist you with paying off student loan debt and provide you with the professional development and support you need.
In Washington I am working very hard to stop proposed budget cuts by the Republicans that would slash Head Start and other sources of funding for early child care education. In 2009, we were able to include an additional $2.1 billion in the economic stimulus package that went to the Head Start program. In addition, I worked with Congress also included an additional $2 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant, an important subsidy that allows many families to be able to afford childcare. But those gains are new threatened by the new majority in the House of Representatives. As you know, both Head Start and CCDBG are under assault by the Republican House in the legislation they recently passed. Rest assured I will help lead the effort in the Senate to fight those cuts.
Finally, I want to mention that just last month I introduced a far reaching bill, “The Foundations for Success Act”, which would provide universal access to high-quality early care and education for all children from 6 weeks old to kindergarten. This bill would be the most significant gain in early education in our nation’s history, and I hope to talk with you more about it in the near future.
I look forward to continuing to working with Vermont Early Educators as we address the crisis facing early childhood education. And I wish you the best as you build your union to give child care providers a seat at the table as decisions are made at the state level on child care resources and policy.
UNITED STATES SENATOR