Once Upon a Time
Yesterday evening we held our sixth annual Sandra J. Skolnik Lecture on Early Childhood Education & Advocacy. In a departure from previous formats, we showed a video – Once Upon a Time: When Childcare for All Wasn’t Just a Fairy Tale – and asked a panel of experts to respond:
- Walter Gilliam, PhD, Director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University
- Renee Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine
- Al Zachik, MD, Director of the Office of Child and Adolescent Services, Mental Hygiene Administration, Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
A member of the audience asked the question that was on mind: in the face of all the research and widespread understanding of the importance of early care and education, why don’t we do more for the very young and their families? Dr. Gilliam highlighted two reasons:
- We lack a shared will to invest in early childhood; and
- At all levels of government, divided turf and decision-making authority creates different power structures that in times of scarce resources (now) causes allies to compete rather than to collaborate.
Another member of the audience asked what is the message we need to build the public will. There wasn’t a good answer to that.