Press Room

Stephanie Carl: Prop 204 means child care help for families

By Stephanie Carl Special to the Arizona Daily Star, SEP 22, 2017

I believe in the American dream and in education as the route to success. I believe in hard work, charting a path and making it happen. I served in the U.S. Navy, went to college and became a teacher. The day my first child was born, motherhood became my most important job.

Unfortunately, I abruptly became a single mother. Having stayed home with two young children, I hadn’t been in the workforce for a few years. To secure a stable future for my kids, I needed to return to work. I began searching for child care for my children, who were under age 5...

Preschool Enrollment: U.S. (and Arizona) vs. the World

POSTED BY  ON WED, SEP 13, 2017 AT 9:08 AM

Concern and complaints abound over U.S. students' low scores on international tests compared to other industrialized countries. The favorite culprits accused of causing the disparity are, in no special order: (1) Failing schools; (2) Failing teachers; (3) Failing parents (4) Low expectations; (5) Lack of common curriculum; (6) Too much common curriculum; (7) Inadequate funding; (8) Socioeconomic inequality. I'm sure I missed a few.

But one possible culprit that doesn't come up as often as it should is lack of opportunities for quality early childhood education. The U.S. sits near the bottom of the list when it comes to the percentage of 3 and 4 year olds enrolled in educational programs. Is that one reason for our low scores on the international tests? Maybe so, maybe no, but it should be a larger part of our national discussion, even among the privatization/"education reform" crowd, who are all about charter schools and vouchers for private schools. If they care more about education than privatization, maybe those folks should be more into promoting early childhood education...

How Julián Castro Bet on 4-Year-Olds to Transform San Antonio

The former mayor created an elite pre-K program to make his city’s economy stronger.
By ERICK TRICKEY Politico Magazine August 17, 2017

Jennifer Martinez Young’s 8-year-old daughter, Addison, blitzes through books: Lisa Yee’s DC Super Hero Girls novels, the Rainbow Fairies and Mariella Mystery series. Just starting third grade, she’s reading at almost a sixth-grade level. This year, at Addison’s former elementary school, fifth-graders will read a story she wrote last year, as a model.

Addison’s mother credits her pre-school, San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA North Education Center, for inspiring her love of reading. Addison is still pen pals with Mrs. Ashworth, her preschool teacher. “She says she taught her so much,” Martinez Young, 37, says...

Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

By David Safier Tucson Weekly August 04, 2017

Tucsonans will be voting on an initiative, Strong Start Tucson, which, if it passes, will provide money to make preschool more available and affordable for the city's children. It will be funded by a half cent sales tax. That sounds like a wonderful idea to me, but some people have voiced strong objections to the details of the initiative, including people I generally agree with. So which side should I be on? Is the upside of the initiative greater than the downside, or is it the other way around?...

AAP: All Kids Need Access to Quality Early Education (Pediatrics

by MedPage Today Staff July 31, 2017

Given their role in helping to improve cognitive and physical outcomes, pediatricians should work to promote high-quality early education for all children, said the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In a policy statement published in Pediatrics, the authors stressed that quality early childhood education also enhances children's readiness for school. They acknowledged that certain barriers exist for children receiving this type of quality education, such as inadequate funding and staff education. To that end, they emphasized the importance of "multidisciplinary, evidence-based child care practice standards," such as quality rating and improvement systems at the state and federal levels.
Pediatricians are encouraged to make use of AAP resources to educate their patients and themselves about early childhood education, the authors said, and they should also help collaborate with families and early childhood educators, which is particularly critical in helping children with special needs.

Strong Start Tucson: Is one penny on a $2 ice cream cone too much?

Guest Opinion, Penelope Jacks, Tucson Sentinel Jul 27, 2017

Before I went to law school and became a policy advocate for children I was a kindergarten teacher. It was clear from the first day of school—and every day after—which children had been to high quality preschool and which had not. The kids who had had the good fortune to attend a good preschool demonstrated cognitive skills and character skills such as attentiveness, impulse control, persistence and teamwork. They were ready to learn. And no surprise: research tells us that 90 percent of a child’s brain develops before age 5...

25,000 signatures gathered to get preschool scholarships on the November ballot

By Angela Pittenger Arizona Daily Star July 6, 2017

Small children hauled four red wagons full of signed petitions into the City of Tucson Election Services office Thursday morning.

The 25,000 signatures were gathered during the past several months by volunteers and parents for Strong Start Tucson, an organization campaigning to create preschool scholarships through a half-cent city sales tax increase...

Strong Start Tucson fills kids’ red wagons with signatures to place preschool education scholarships on City of Tucson November ballot

TUCSON, Ariz. July 6, 2017

Strong Start Tucson turned in more than 25,000 signatures to the City of Tucson Election Services office today. The signatures arrived in style, filling four red Radio Flyer wagons and accompanied by kids, parents and volunteers supporting the campaign to create preschool education scholarships in the City of Tucson. The ballot initiative will be part of the city-wide general election vote set for Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

“We want Tucson to join other visionary cities, counties and states who invest in high-quality preschool as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce poverty, improve the economic climate of their communities and create a path for each child to be successful,” said Penelope Jacks, chair of the Strong Start Campaign Committee.

Jamie Ratner said he is a living example of what early childhood education offers, giving him a lifelong love of learning and the tools to complete college, a master’s degree and law school.

“Everyone deserves that start. I was lucky, my mom was the director of a preschool, and my education and curiosity to want to know more began at the age of three,” said Ratner, Strong Start Tucson treasurer and a professor at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. “It’s served me well and I want others to have this opportunity to reach their full potential.” ...

Victoria Steele: Tucson's children deserve a high-quality early education

By Victoria Steele Special to the Arizona Daily Star  Jun 23, 2017 

We have a wonderful opportunity to show who we are as a community — a chance to demonstrate that we truly care about giving our children a strong start for their future.

Everyone knows that a high-quality early childhood education is the most important factor in giving children the power to be successful.

Children who go to high-quality preschool perform better in school, complete more years of education and become productive members of a more educated workforce. There are 14,000 3- and 4-year-olds in Tucson. Currently, only 16 percent of them attend high-quality early education...

Arizona ranks 46th in US in child education, health and family

By Devin Conley Cronkite News  Jun 17, 2017

PHOENIX — Arizona ranks among the five worst states for children’s well-being in education, health, economics and family and community matters, according to the Kids Count annual report.

Arizona was ranked 46th in the country, the Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says.

Nearly 400,000 Arizona children live in “high-poverty” areas. And six out of ten of Arizona’s three- to four-year-olds are not in preschool, with a child psychologist saying that means their learning is delayed.

Letter: High Quality Preschool


Bill Berk, June 5, 2017
AZ Daily Star Letter to Editor

Congratulations to our local ECE community for ensuring more children attended high quality preschool this year than in years past... 

We will have an even stronger community when we increase enrollment in high quality preschool by 50 percentage points, not just 4...

Pre-K: Decades Worth Of Studies, One Strong Message

KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Some of the nation's top researchers who've spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal ...

Why affordable child care is good for all of us

ANGELA NELSON, Mother Nature Network
May 2, 2017

A new long-term study finds that high-quality child care can help poor mothers and their children lead more successful lives.

Tempe could spend $3 million annually on free preschool for children living in poverty

, The Republic | azcentral.comPublished 9:54 a.m. MT March 28, 2017 | Updated 7:41 a.m. MT March 29, 2017
The Tempe City Council will vote this spring to spend $3 million annually to provide free preschool to 3- and 4-year-old children living in poverty...

A Path Out Of Poverty: Career Training + Quality Pre K

People Laughed When Bill De Blasio First Proposed Free Pre-K. Now He's Expanding It.

Huffington Post Article April 26, 2017

When Bill de Blasio ran for New York City mayor in 2013, his plan to enact a universal preschool program for 4-year-olds was treated more like a lofty...

New York City Will Offer Free Preschool for All 3-Year-Olds

NY Times Article April, 24 2017

The plan would expand Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature prekindergarten program slowly, starting in two districts, in the Bronx and Brooklyn, next year.


Tucson, AZ January 2017 - The Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona releases report. What Arizona Leaders Need to Know.


Strong Start Tucson Announces Broad List of Early Supporters

Tucson, AZ, December 16, 2016– The Strong Start Tucson Citizen’s Ballot Initiative Campaign has picked up early support.  Momentum has already begun to build only one month after the official kickoff event.

“The YWCA of Tucson and Southern Arizona proudly endorses this local effort to provide access to high-quality preschool for Tucson’s families as a means to empowering women who are reentering the workforce, particularly small business entrepreneurs.  High-quality preschool is more expensive than sending your child to college and many families simply cannot afford it. Strong Start Tucson is one more way we can help level the playing field for women in business,” said YWCA CEO, Kelly Fryer.

Local Leaders Launch Campaign to Improve the Lives of Children in our Community.

Tucson, AZ, November 15, 2016– The Strong Start Tucson campaign kickoff event will be held this Thursday November 17th, 5:30-7:00 PM at Make Way for Books, 700 N Stone Ave. The event is open to the public. 

Letter to the Editor

I adopted my grandchildren when they were very young. While researching preschools, I was disheartened to learn that high quality child care had become unaffordable for many families with preschool-age children....

Bonnie Stevens | AZ Daily Star November 7, 2016

$50 million for scholarships

Half-cent sales tax sought to improve access to Tucson preschools

...“We’re confident the support is there and past votes by Tucsonans show they’re willing to spend for education and to give every child an opportunity,” she said. “Many have asked us why we are not doing this as a statewide initiative, and it’s because we know Tucson voters are more committed to children than the rest of the state has shown itself to be.”...

By  October 31, 2016


Preschool is $$$$$$$. This proposed sales-tax increase could help Tucson families

 Alexis Huicochea, Oct 19, 2016

A group of early childhood education advocates are looking to make high-quality preschool programs accessible and affordable for Tucson families...

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  • commented 2016-12-14 13:31:50 -0700
    Hi there! My name is Morgan Kyrklund. I’m a reporter at Tucson News Now. Would like to chat with someone about a story working on. 520-405-4762 or

  • commented 2016-10-21 08:05:24 -0700
    Great Article! Thank you Alexis Huicochea.
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