Remember FFYF’s friend Chuck Mills? The former Marine One pilot featured in FFYF’s “Our Head Start” campaign? The one who runs two businesses, chairs the finance committee of the board of George Mason University and led Virginia’s small business administration for three years? The Head Start grad who was born to a high school diploma-less young mother of six children? Chuck’s headed to the Hill tomorrow to share his story with members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (or “HELP” for short—also known as the folks who have authorizing jurisdiction over pretty much every single early learning program). Chuck will help make the case that investing in critical early childhood programs like Head Start and child care is investing in America’s potential.
So grab a donut, refill your coffee and take a few moments on June 9 at 10 a.m. EDT to watch Chuck testify as part of an expert panel of witnesses at the HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families hearing “Getting the Most Bang for the Buck: Quality Early Education and Care.” Others on that panel include Eva Tansky Blum, Senior Vice President and Director of Community Affairs, PNC Bank; Dennis Hillian, Family Service Coordinator, The Charles County Judy Center; Arthur J. Rolnick, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the University of Minnesota; and Linda K. Smith, Executive Director, National Association of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies. The morning will begin with testimony from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development Joan Lombardi, Ph.D.
Chuck’s Senate appearance comes at a critical moment for early childhood: Now that we have $500 million to incentivize state-level systems-building through the one-time Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge competition, that work must be supported by core funding streams, particularly Head Start and child care, in the upcoming FY12 appropriations debate.
Chuck is not only a walking, talking example of the high return on investment from quality early childhood education programs, he’s also an engaging, thoughtful, and inspiring guy. Don’t take our word for it, check out his two-minute “Our Head Start” video here. And if you know any Head Start alumni who today are professionals doing interesting things in various fields, urge them to share their story too. We can all lend our voices to reminding policymakers that early learning delivers successful adults and better education, social, and life outcomes—that it is Our Head Start.