Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! As you contemplate letting the good times roll, keep in mind today’s other big event: at 9:00 Eastern, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address.
Even the civics class all-stars among us have been known to think of the State of the Union as a time to reminisce about favorite West Wing episodes, see the latest in bright-red power-suit fashion, and mark a bingo card square for every eye-roll and buzzword. But not this year! This year, the early learning community will be listening with bated breath. Though the text of the speech is still on lock-down, the press is abuzz with conjecture that the speech will address early learning—and that the White House is planning to propose a major early learning initiative.
This is exciting stuff. It’s not every day, or even every year, that early childhood education gets elevated onto a national stage this big. Let’s make sure we make the most of this window of opportunity and leverage the moment in the spotlight to maximum advantage. Get ready to pounce on this social media, press outreach, and stakeholder education opportunity. Journalists and other chatterers unfamiliar with early learning will be looking for information, data points, and reactions, so this is your chance to set the tone, express your support, and tell them all the reasons that investing in high-quality birth-to-five opportunities for at-risk children is one of the smartest possible ways to drive better education, health, social, and economic outcomes (and, while you’re at it, maybe add in that it’s an issue with widespread bipartisan support and state-led momentum too). This is a great time to dust off your favorite FFYF tools, videos, and infographicsand share them on Facebook, Twitter, and in your other outreach efforts.
It’s unlikely the president will reveal much, if any, detail about any potential proposal. Those details may emerge later this week, when President Obama visits an early learning center in Georgia. We will of course be tracking those developments closely, but tonight, before we turn to the political maneuvering and budget negotiations that will unfold throughout the spring and summer, we can focus on the big picture: how thrilling it is hear a long-time champion for children in the highest public office highlight the importance of investing in early childhood education.