Strong Start Tucson is alive and well. There is a role for everyone who wants to help.
It is not unusual for a game-changing, visionary, citizens' initiative like Strong Start Tucson—Prop 204 not to pass the first time around. Other communities have had to repeat their efforts as often as three times; they persisted and they and their children eventually won. We are persisting, too!
The defeat of Prop 204 at the polls in November was not the end of the road, but just a bend in the road. The road to change continues. Strong Start Tucson volunteers have been meeting with community leaders, education leaders, business leaders and public opinion leaders. Our listening tour began right after the November election and is continuing throughout the spring. The good news is that there is broad agreement that access to high quality early childhood education is vital for the future of our children, public education and our community.
The challenge is to design and identify funding for an early childhood education program that will garner support across all sectors of our community-- business and political leaders, early education experts, K-12 advocates, and citizens of all persuasions. There are lots of variables, and lots of ways a program could be designed, administered and funded, What is not up for debate is that whatever it looks like, the plan must a) include a sufficient number of children that the future of our community can measurably and substantively be enhanced; b) must support only high quality early education, because we know that only high quality early guarantees a meaningful return on investment; c) we must proceed quickly.
Here is something important you can do right away—MONDAY March 26.
Join a community forum on the future of public education in Tucson & Pima County, hosted by Tucson City Council Member Steve Kozachik and the Tucson Metropolitan Education Commission. Sarah Gassen, of the Arizona Daily Star, will moderate a panel discussion preceding the community conversation. In November, Sarah Gassen wrote in the Arizona Daily Star, “We must get to work. We must find a way to expand early childhood education opportunities so all families who want to send their young kids to a high-quality preschool can afford to do so.”
Penelope Jacks, chair of Strong Start Tucson, will be on the panel along with other education experts. Catherine Tornbom of the Center for Community Dialogue, a program of Our Family Services, will lead all participants in a facilitated community conversation. She will prepare a report on expressed community priorities, that will be shared with the media, citizens, and leaders. The forum is an ideal opportunity and venue for YOU to participate and elevate the issue of access to high quality early childhood education.
Here are the event details:
Randolph Golf Course, Copper Room
600 S Alvernon Way (Plenty of free parking)
See you Monday!
Want to come to the forum prepared with the facts about high quality early childhood education? Review the "Early Education Fundamentals—What we all agree on" fact sheet on our SST Home Page