A few days ago, we had the privilege of attending Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2019 State of the City Address. Earlier this year, our newly elected Governor, Gavin Newsom, drew attention and made large commitments to the advancement of early education – better support for teachers, families, and our children. The Mayor’s address felt like a validating extension of Newsom’s commitments and we couldn’t be more pleased, as an organization dedicated to young children and the adults in these children’s lives, with Garcetti’s proposed solutions that place our children front-of-mind.
According to a study from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only about a third of U.S. high school seniors are prepared for college-level math and reading. If you rewind back to the moment these children entered their first classrooms, data shows that fewer than half of children—of lower socio economic backgrounds—are ready for school at age five. As Mayor Garcetti pointed out, too many of our children are entering school unprepared.
For too long, quality early childhood education has been perceived as a privilege, not a right, and in the words of Mayor Garcetti, “The stakes are too high.” Early learning is critical to the health and wellbeing of our children, with dividends that pay well into adulthood. Our children deserve bright futures, and so do we.
Professionalizing the early learning workforce is key to expunging this glaring student readiness gap, and it was great to hear the Mayor’s commitment to recruit, train, and certify 2,500 new early childhood educators by 2025. Early care and education professionals teach young children at a time when their brains are growing at their most rapid rates, and yet early childhood teachers express they do not have the training and support they need to nurture and teach children during this critical time. These educators are laying the building blocks for our future artists, doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, engineers and preschool teachers; as urged by the Mayor, “Los Angeles is ready for this investment”, and Child360 is ready to be a steward of this work.
Thank you, Mayor Garcetti, for nodding those who are already working together to wipe out the school readiness gap for the most vulnerable children in Los Angeles – our partners: Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and First 5 LA. We are ready to take further strides towards our greater vision for our children, their futures, and the future of our city. Thank you for your commitment to training more teachers—to ensure every child is ready to learn on day one, and investing in the human capital of Los Angeles.