Early Childhood Office Announced – Get Ready For Change

A new office in state government was established today when Governor Dan Malloy filed an executive order with the Secretary of The State.  The new office will be within the Office of Policy and Management and will be known as the Early Childhood Office.

According to the Governor Malloy, “Connecticut has one of the widest and most persistent achievement gaps in the nation”.  The Governor also said, “Connecticut has spent billions of dollars over the years on early childhood programs, with limited success, because we lack a comprehensive early childhood system”.

The Governor, pointed out, “one in four Connecticut children enters Kindergarten without the knowledge and social skills needed to succeed”.  The role of the new office will be to address this problem by planning for and developing a coordinated, comprehensive and aligned system of early care, education and child development.

Excuse me for asking but isn’t it the responsibility and role of a parent to care for their child?  Do we really want the State to take over that responsibility?  Well it is coming rather you want it or not.  Under Public Act 11-181 the creation of a coordinated system of early care and education and child development must be completed by July 1, 2013.

It is safe to say, that many expect preschool programs and all day kindergarten to be on the table as a mandated requirement in the near future.  This seems to be the direction the State is headed.  Local municipalities should be aware that any programs they start or have in place could be impacted when the system report is completed in 2013.

It’s disturbing to hear the Governor now admit the billions we spent in the past had limited success.  It is particularly troubling when we have been told over the years how wonderful these programs were and why they needed to renew funding.  Sometimes you have to wonder if it really is all about the children or more about funding for jobs and maintaining positions.

Let’s hope this time things work out a bit better.  It is worth another attempt, but the State should not take on the responsibility of parents in early child care.  Perhaps it would be better to include parenting as part of the health curriculum we teach in our schools.  Maybe that could close the “achievement gap” if young people understood caring for children as well as they understand the sexuality of having them.


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