Last night, First Five Years Fund (FFYF), Sesame Workshop, and PBS KIDS hosted a congressional reception in conjunction with the Bipartisan Pre-K and Child Care Caucus and its Co-Chairs Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). They were joined by Paula A. Kerger, the president and Chief Executive Officer of PBS, Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, the Senior Vice President for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, as well as Elmo, Daniel Tiger, Grover, and 27 Members of Congress.
The Congressional Pre-K and Child Care Caucus, initially launched in April 2016, seeks to foster bipartisan and comprehensive conversations on early education to ensure our nation’s children are afforded high-quality, accessible education and child care.
“We are so fortunate to have the tremendous leadership of this incredible group of policy makers and early learning champions to relaunch the Bipartisan Pre-K and Child Care Caucus,” said FFYF Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “Co-Chairs Castro, Hinson, Bonamici, and Fitzpatrick are an outstanding team to lead a caucus of their peers in elevating the importance of high-quality, affordable early learning and child care for children, families, and our economy. We are looking forward to the work ahead and to bringing more Members into the fold.”
“Education is fundamental, foundational, and at the heart of everything public media does,” said Paula Kerger, PBS CEO. “Starting with our nation’s youngest learners, our content empowers individuals to achieve their potential by opening up new worlds and possibilities. We are proud to partner with groups like the Bipartisan Pre-K and Child Care Caucus to ensure that access to learning is never determined by a zip code or life circumstances, while fostering a lifelong love for it.”
“There is no time more critical than the early years to support their emotional well-being and to experience joy, awe, and hope for the future while also supporting them to cope with the challenges that may come their way,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop. “At Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit with a legacy of over five decades, we know that accomplishing this goal takes a coalition. It takes partners committed for the long term and we are proud to collaborate with the Bipartisan Pre-K and Child Care Caucus here today to continue advocating for our youngest.”
Other Members of Congress in attendance included:
Andy Kim (D-NJ), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Jason Smith (R-MO), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Tony Gonzales (R-TX), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jim Costa (D-CA), Alma Adams (D-NC), John James (R-MI), Delia Ramirez (D-IL), Jill Tokuda (D-HI), Mike Carey (R-OH), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Kevin Mullin (D-CA), Norma Torres (D-CA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Shri Thanedar (D-MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS)