The White House is a busy place – there is always a steady stream of people flowing in and out, meeting with officials to make a case for their cause. Yesterday, Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, had a meeting about the PreK for All plan with some very important advocates ages 5 months to 5-years-old.
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Member organizations of the Strong Start for Children campaign collected over 30,000 notes and pieces of artwork thanking President Obama for his deep commitment to early learning, which the children delivered to Ms. Muñoz.
A few weeks ago, President Obama announced an ambitious agenda for early care and education. This plan would expand access to the high-quality early learning opportunities we know help put children on a path to success!
You know who is excited about this plan? KIDS (and their parents who understand just how important early learning experiences are to their future success)!
Next week, members of the Strong Start for Children – Building America’s Future campaign will be delivering notes to President Obama thanking him for prioritizing the needs of America’s youngest and most vulnerable children. Thank You notes have been pouring into our office and the offices of our campaign partners across the country, and we are getting very excited about getting them to the President. Read more »
On Wednesday night, the President’s new Early Learning Initiative got a moment in the spotlight on the Daily Show. Host Jon Stewart, in that way only he knows how, highlighted the importance of investing in children’s early years. My trying to recap the clip will certainly erase all the humor, so I’ll let you watch it for yourself.
Think of life like a marathon (just go with me on this metaphor). Many of America’s most vulnerable children are starting five miles behind everyone else - yet we expect them to finish on par with their peers. Expanding the access these children have to high quality early learning opportunities will be revolutionary. Read more »
Yesterday, as President Obama visited an early learning center in Decatur, Georgia, the White House released a fact sheet with more details about the early education proposal the President announced in his State of the Union address. Under the President’s comprehensive plan, the federal government and states would work together to increase access high-quality early learning opportunities for children from birth to age five through expansion of voluntary home visiting programs, prekindergarten, Early Head Start, child care, and full-day kindergarten.
The President proposes to provide funding to states to help them make prekindergarten available to all four-year-olds in families with incomes below 200 percent of poverty ($39,060 a year for a family of three). The federal government would offer incentives for states to provide prekindergarten to middle-income families as well. Prekindergarten programs would have to meet a set of quality standards, including having qualified teachers paid comparably to K-12 teachers, small class sizes and low child-teacher ratios, and comprehensive health and other support services. The programs could be provided in a range of settings, from schools to child care centers to other community-based programs, as is currently the case for many state-funded prekindergarten programs. Read more »
On Tuesday, President Obama laid out an important economic agenda for women and families in his State of the Union address — expanding early education opportunities, advancing fair tax and budget policies, increasing the federal minimum wage, and passing both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
This is a full and impressive agenda for President Obama's second term. But we're up for the challenge and we hope you are, too!
Expanding Early Education Opportunities — President Obama's early childhood initiative would expand access to critical early learning opportunities for millions of preschool age and young children across the country. This would help many low- and middle-income women and their families who are struggling to afford the early learning opportunities that put their children on a path to success.
Advancing Fair Tax and Budget Policies — President Obama called on Congress to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. This is especially important to women, because millions of hard-working women are struggling to lift their families out of poverty and cuts in funding for public services have cost women hundreds of thousands of jobs. We also need a tax system that fairly raises the revenue required to make these wise investments and stave off deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other programs women and their families count on.
“So tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.”
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, the President called for making prekindergarten available to all children through a federal-state partnership. He made a compelling case for this investment in early education, noting the benefits for children, parents, and our nation’s economy. He explained how early education could help children succeed in school and in life. He talked about the importance of helping parents struggling with the high costs of preschool. And he discussed his proposal as a key part of building the strong workforce we need for our future economic prosperity.
The President demonstrated his commitment to early education not only by mentioning it in his State of the Union address, but also by inviting Susan Bumgarner, an early childhood educator from Oklahoma—a state that makes prekindergarten available to all four-year-olds—to be a guest of the First Lady during the address. Susan Bumgarner is one of the many early education teachers (most of whom are women) across our country who are helping our children grow and learn so they are ready for school.
We are excited about this proposal and about working to make it a reality for children and families. We look forward to hearing more details, as there are many questions about exactly what form it will take and how it will work. For example: What role will states play in making prekindergarten available? Read more »
Ah, August. Congress is out, traffic is a (relative) breeze, and I’m feeling refreshed after a relaxing family vacation that involved lots of lazy beach time and zero talk of what was happening back at the office.
…Well, maybe not zero. One thing I’ve found about devoting your career to really interesting women’s issues is that it’s not unusual for conversations with friends and family to wind up delving into those very same issues. Especially if, say, I’m in a house with 20 or so family members from across the country who want to know more about what’s going on in Washington.
My family is full of bright, interesting people who are pretty on top of current events and have a range of perspectives on the issues. Previous gatherings have involved talk of taxes, health care policy, climate change, and the need to reform agricultural practices. This year, the subject of welfare came up – and so did some misinformation about a recent proposal from the Obama administration to allow states to waive certain work participation requirements under the federal welfare program (known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF). Read more »
We had the privilege of going to the White House this week to hear President Obama deliver remarks on the economy and taxes. There were lots of pretty cool parts (including a peek at the portraits of the First Ladies!), but the real highlight was the President’s speech exhorting Congress to end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest two percent. Here’s why we think that is such a great idea:
Yesterday, I got to meet President Obama. It was insane.
I attended a lobby day a few weeks ago to encourage Congress to find a solution to prevent the doubling of federal student loan interest rates, set to kick in July 1.
I showed up to the event, organized by Campus Progress, not knowing much about the debate except that the interest increase from 3.4% to 6.8% would mean $2,400 added on to my loan bill. Since then, I have kept working on this issue and tried to stay on top of it in the media. Then, three days ago, as the result of continued involvement with Campus Progress, I received a message in my inbox I never expected: I was invited to attend an event at the White House on student loans with President Obama.
I came to DC this summer to intern for NWLC and learn more about policies that impact women and families. Yesterday, while staring at the back of the Presidents head as he gave his speech about the importance of keeping student loan interest rates down, in a semi-existential moment, everything connected—and I realized that I was learning about a women’s issue at that very moment. Read more »
Ask President Obama to take action on Equal Pay Day.
Never discuss your salary with anyone.
That's what they told Lilly Ledbetter on her first day on the job in 1979. It wasn't until she found an anonymous note in her locker that Lilly realized that she was being paid as much as 40% less than her male colleagues in the same position.
This sort of pay secrecy policy that punishes employees helps to hide discriminatory pay practices. And here's the kicker: Lilly worked all those years for Goodyear Tire & Rubber, which had the privilege of being a federal contractor.
It took Lilly 20 years to find out that she was being paid less than her male co-workers. But we know that Lilly is not alone: nearly fifty years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women working full time are paid just 77 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. And the wage gap is far worse for women of color. Read more »