On February 13th four leading non-profit organizations will unite 1000 children and families for the One Thousand Kid March on the New Mexico Capitol to rally in support of landmark changes in how our state funds early childhood education. Scientific research tells us that the first few years in a child’s life are when the most rapid brain development occurs. Data shows that New Mexico is not providing for the overall well-being of our children; we have the second lowest per-capita income in the US, among the highest teen birth rate, lowest graduation rate and we are near last in reading scores. Many believe sustained change lies in providing kids the resources they need early, before kindergarten even begins. A rally in support of early childhood education will culminate on the East Concourse at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe at 10:30 AM, Friday February 13th.
NM Early Educators United, Partnership for Community Action (PCA), OLÉ, and QELA are rallying with families and community members from all over the state to ask Legislators to consider our future and boldly channel permanent resources to early childhood education to provide New Mexico’s children and future generations with opportunities to succeed and build healthier families.
“With permanent funding and a comprehensive plan, we can transform the cycle of poverty in New Mexico,” Early Educators United Member Peggy Otero Lopez said. “I have worked in early childhood education in many capacities for 20 years. In that time I have experienced the frustration of a system that overlooks the benefits of providing funding to educate 0-5 year olds.”
Studies have shown that investment in early childhood education has a return of seven dollars or more on each dollar invested (whitehouse.gov) due to the reduced need for spending on other services, such as grade repetition and remedial education. Not only will strategic and permanent increases in funding for early education lead to valuable investments in the short-term, childhood preparedness also increases productivity and earning for these children as adults, helping them to become assets to the nation in the future.
“Kids are our priority and our future,” says Adrian Pedroza, Executive Director of the Partnership for Community Action and President Obama appointee to the national Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, “We need bold and permanent investment in our children. Every child deserves the resources and opportunities to succeed in school and throughout life. It is critical that supports for parents and children are fully funded.”
According to a Legislative Finance Committee budget report, this year 2,800 children will be served by home visiting while the total need for services is 10,800 children, leaving 8,000 without service. With prekindergarten, about 7,100 will be served in half-day programs, while 12,760 are in need of service, leaving 5,660 without service. The needs numbers are based on primarily serving low-income families, not all families.
“Legislators promised $30 million in new funds for early education programs,” says Reina Acosta, a parent with the OLÉ Working Parents Association, “but that money disappeared with the drop in oil prices across the state. This is hurting our families and shutting down our early education providers. That is precisely why our state needs a permanent, dedicated funding stream for early education.”
The power of early learning sparks children’s creativity and imagination and gives them the skills they need to be ready to learn when they go to school.
There will be parents and educators on hand for comments to the press, Spanish and English language.
WHAT: 1000 Kid March
WHEN: February, 13, 2015, 10:30AM to 12:00PM
WHERE: New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe Roundhouse, East Concourse
About the Partnership for Community Action The Partnership for Community Action works to build strong, healthy communities throughout New Mexico by investing in people and families, helping people to become strong leaders in our neighborhoods and in our state.
About Early Educators United
Early Educators United consists of directors, teachers, and parents from early childhood education centers around New Mexico. EEU has members in every legislative district in the state. Members have a citizen lobby plan for the 2015 Legislative Session to advocate for passage of the Senate Joint Resolution for Early Childhood Education.
OLÉ is a non-profit that uses grassroots organizing within the local community of working families in New Mexico. Our members and staff work together to strengthen our communities through social advocacy and economic reform, using issue-based campaigns and electoral engagement to ensure that working families are playing a critical OLÉ in shaping New Mexico’s future with a united voice.
QELA, the Quality Early Learning Association, seeks to increase the quality and availability of early childhood education for all children in New Mexico. QELA is comprised of early education center owners and directors from around New Mexico, striving to provide a high quality early education for NM children.