Dear colleagues and friends,
Happy New Year! The New Year provides us with a renewed opportunity to reflect on the past and look to the future. I want to first express my appreciation and honor to serve as President of the Illinois Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. Thanks to the strong and dedicated past leadership, our organization is strong, our voices are heard, and collectively we make a difference in the lives of children and families across our state. The past year has presented us with many challenges ranging from no state budget to threats of massive cuts to childcare funding. Many of us also have many accomplishments to celebrate including revision of licensure programs, participation in in partnership grants with two-year programs, and the development of a faculty resource website.
Our work, focusing on the development and support of the early childhood workforce, continues to have national attention. The recent report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation, released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NCR) offers a national and historical perspective on the early childhood workforce, as well as key recommendations for advancing the early childhood workforce. Many view this seminal report as the blueprint for advancing the early childhood workforce. In Illinois, with funding from the McCormick Foundation, a task force to consider these recommendations is being formed. I am part of a team that will be staffing the taskforce and am committed to including the voice, the expertise, and recommendations from ILAECTE. I will be convening opportunities for us to engage in the work throughout the coming year and welcome your input. Another critical report, Advancing the Early Childhood Profession: Next Steps, was just released by NAEYC at in December 2015. This report includes research showing strong bi-partisan support for investing in the Early Childhood Profession. It may be helpful to you as you continue to build support for early childhood education at your institutions.
Our ILAECTE website has been updated and includes a BLOG space. We hope to use this space to keep connected and informed. Please continue to check out this space and we welcome your contributions to the BLOG. Connect our Webmaster, Dr. Debbie Lee (DM-Lee3@wiu.edu), to post on our BLOG page.
All my best,